Bring your for-purpose passion to that big interview: 5 tips from Do Good Jobs

Posted by | March 8, 2022 | Career changers, For your career, How I got my dream job, How to change jobs, How to make your job a 'do good' job, Job hunters, Job interviews, Work tips

for purpose interview blog header

By Carolyn Brown

Wahoo, congratulations on scoring a job interview with a for-purpose organisation. You have been given an awesome opportunity to join a select community of New Zealanders (approximately 5.5% of the Kiwi working population in 2018). A sector that makes a difference to the lives of others every day. Your new role, should you be chosen from the others who also apply, is a chance to do good every day and know that what you did today mattered.

Has that lofty description of the work for-purpose organisations do made you nervous about saying something wrong at the interview? Don’t be. Some of the most enjoyable and stress-free interviews I have ever experienced have been in the for-purpose sector. As long as you have the skills they need (or at least just some of them in this current job climate), have done your homework, and understand that making a difference doesn’t happen overnight, you will be fine. However, to help with the preparation, I have created a top-five list of dos and don’ts to see you right.

How to do well in a for-purpose job interview.

1. Know thy organisation

Be sure to take some time to find out as much as you can about your potential employer. You will likely already have done some research when completing the application, but now is the time to dig a little deeper and find out more about what they do and how they do it.

If they are a registered Charity, the Charities Services’ website is a good place to find copies of annual reports if they haven’t published them on their website. Take a look at the last couple of years’ reporting and think about how your role would have contributed to the outcome. Remember, you will most likely be asked how your skills will benefit them in the interview, and you will score bonus points if your answer is relevant to a project they have done/will do. E.g., your project on xyz is similar to the work I did for/study I completed.

2. Know the sector

If you have come from a background in the corporate sector, know that the language/jargon used will be different. For example, you will be working for an organisation, not a company. While you might still hear business terms like FTPE (full-time equivalent) and strategic focus, you will most likely be working in partnership with someone rather than have a customer/client. There will be stakeholders, not shareholders, and the emphasis will be on outcomes for the people and/or environment, not the economy or profit margin. The Treaty of Waitangi increasingly underpins for-purpose organisation structures, and having some knowledge of Te Reo Māori and tikanga will be beneficial.

3. Be yourself

The for-purpose sector was conducting job interviews based on values long before big business cottoned on to the idea that the team who works well together, does good together. Your skills and experience will already be known to them from your CV. So along with showing them how your CV has played out in real life, this is your chance to show them how passionate you are about their work and how well you will fit in with the organisation. Numerous websites tell you how to answer interview questions, but the best replies come from the heart in a for-purpose interview, not a standard CAR response. I am not saying throw CAR out the window; just give them an answer that will connect with your interviewer and stand out from the other applicants. Heartfelt responses do this in spades.

4. Ask the right questions

Most interviews will end with an opportunity for you to ask questions. You will be surprised how many applicants have no questions for the interviewer. This stage is the perfect time to check whether the organisation’s culture is a good fit for you. This is your chance to interview them!

Asking thoughtful questions that relate to the role and organisation shows that you have done your homework and are genuinely interested in working for them.

It’s also your last chance to remind them why you are the best person for the role. You can do this by beginning your question with a positive fact about yourself and then asking how the position will take advantage of that. For example, I love learning new things, will there be an opportunity to learn about other parts of the organisation/from other people?  In this brave new pandemic world, it is okay to ask questions about working from home, flexi-time, etc too.

5. Be patient

Be prepared for your interview to begin late or be shorter or longer than you expect. Small organisations, in particular, may not have a dedicated HR person/department whose only task is to hire you. The interview panel is often cobbled together using volunteer board members and trustees, and staff who work in the area of the role advertised. Delays may be due to unexpected events that take priority or even involve finding a substitute interviewer at the last minute (this has happened to me). There may also be a delay in letting you know if you have got the role or not. Please do not take it as a sign of disorganisation, just know that some things take longer to happen in the for-purpose sector, you will get used to it.

Finally, do not be disappointed if you do not get the role, even after a great interview. These tips do not come with a guarantee. Even with a global shortage of workers and the Great Resignation, vacancies in the for-purpose sector often attract a large number of suitably qualified applicants, and sometimes it can be the most minor of things that separates you from the other candidate (trust me, I know this first-hand). If you get the job, though, thanks in part to the advice given here, let us know! If you don’t, hang in there and keep up-to-date with new opportunities here.



About Carolyn Brown

Carolyn enjoys writing stuff that engages readers, makes them feel like they are in a conversation with the screen, and doesn’t require a dictionary on standby to make sense of what she has written.

When she is not creating content, she likes to keep busy volunteering for various not for profits; throwing sticks to her step-dog as they walk along North Beach in Christchurch, and enjoying the company of friends. If you would like to know more, head on over to her website or email her at [email protected]


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.