Preparing for the Interview

When preparing for an interview, the following are questions that you may want to consider preparing an answer for:

The Basics

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Have you ever had an issue with your boss?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Do you have any questions to ask me?
  • If you could have dinner with any famous dead person, who would it be?

See for more information on these questions.

Identifying Top Performers With These Seven Interview Questions

  • Can you describe an instance where you were able to maintain interest in and passion for a project over a long period of time? How were you able to do this?
  • Would you describe yourself as ‘independent’?
  • If you were struggling with a project, would you soldier on or approach a manager for feedback and assistance?
  • What skills and strengths are you hoping to improve over the next five years?
  • How do you prioritize your tasks?
  • How do you focus in an active, busy office environment?
  • How do you manage a good work/life balance?

See for more information on these questions.

Interview Questions

  • What books are you currently reading?
  • What is a day or week in the life of this position you like?
  • What is the history of this position? Is it newly created? If not, why did the previous person leave it? How has this position evolved since it was created?
  • How does this role contribute to larger company goals?
  • Is there room for advancement or career training in this position?
  • Is there the opportunity for mentorship with this position?
  • What are some of the challenges or roadblocks one might come up against in this role?
  • What are the most important objectives or top priorities for this position in the first few months?
  • What are the 5- and 10-year goals of the company? How do you plan to meet that challenge?
  • What do you think the successful candidate’s first project will be?
  • What is the greatest challenge that the successful candidate will face?
  • What one thing on my CV made you think I’d be an interesting candidate to interview?
  • What skills do you think I would need to build up if I were hired?
  • What is the hiring plan look like for the next 3 years? What’s the retirement forecast? Have you done succession planning for that?
  • What are some of the less tangible traits of successful people at this company?
  • What’s the most innovate thing you’ve done in the last year?
  • Do you have any concerns about my qualifications?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • What role will I fill?
  • Why does this role matter to the growth of the company?
  • What would I be doing that makes your job easier?
  • What are additional important skills I will need to do this job well?
  • What would you expect from me this month, three months, in a year?
  • What is your mission?
  • Tell me about a time you set difficult goals. What did you do to achieve these goals? Walk me through the process and purpose.
  • Tell me about the relationships you’ve had with the people you’ve worked with. How would you describe the best ones? The worst?
  • What single project or task would you consider your most significant career accomplishment to date? Walk me through the plan, how you managed it, how you measured its success, and what the biggest mistakes you made were.
  • Is it better to be perfect or late, or good and on time?
  • In five minutes, could you explain something to me that is complicated but you know well?
  • What’s your definition of hard work?
  • If I were to poll everyone you’ve worked with, what percent would not be a fan of yours? Then, if I were to interview these people, what words would they most frequently use to describe you?
  • Tell me about a time you screwed up?
  • Who is the smartest person you know personally? Why?


  • How will you define success for this position? What have past employees done to succeed in this position?
  • What metrics would you use to measure success in this role?
  • How does the company measure success?

Company Culture

  • Who would my colleagues be?
  • How would you describe the management culture? If I were the successful candidate, who would be my supervisor? How is that relationship managed and organized?
  • If I came up with a new idea that had never been implemented here, what is your method for getting that underway?
  • How is the budget created? What’s that process like?
  • What’s your approach to supporting professional development?
  • What’s the company culture like? Do co-workers east lunch together? Why did you decide to work here and what have you enjoyed most about working here?
  • What are the qualities of successful managers in this company?

Questions Specific To Fundraising Opportunities

  • How large is your donor database
  • What is your marketing budget to acquire new donors?
  • What kind of staff support is available?
  • What do you consider a “major gift” and how many are you getting?
  • How much is your board donating?
  • How are board members involved in fundraising?
  • If talking to the executive director: What percentage of your time is spent on fundraising?
  • Do you have a written fundraising plan?
  • How much did the person in this job raise last year?
  • What would be the goal of my first year?
  • What are your top three sources of income?
  • Do you believe any of them are threatened in the next few years?


  • managers