I had an interview last month with a national charity that is based locally for a position I’m experienced in and had done before.
I had previously worked for a non-profit plus for the past year I’ve been helping a relative with their fundraiser; social media management, collection tin organisation, liaising with donors, community outreach etc, so I figured why the hell not apply?
To my surprise I didn’t get the job. Maybe I was too hopeful but when I added it all up, it actually didn’t make sense to me and especially as it was only for a contract position!
I had a simple test before the face-to-face interview which consisted of typing a basic letter in 30 minutes, all the info was given what to write about, nothing difficult. The interview was held by 2 managers of the company, it lasted about 1 hour, I was asked about my volunteering and that is when it became rather odd.
I’ve always maintained that the reason why I have volunteered while doing my job search is so that I can help others by using my skills for free, it helps me stay mentally productive and active and I also gain a bit of knowledge on areas I may not have done before, I get to use this stop gap on my CV, I gain more references and it shows I’m willing to work hard – even if not getting paid. I mention that the fundraiser is only for a further 4 months as that is when this particular one ends, I don’t see anything negative at all in what I have done.
“So, if you get this job how will you continue to manage all the social media and charity work?” She asks.
“I will hand in my notice of course but at the same time, if someone were to continue for the short months left, it would be the same way people who go to the gym after work or check their own social media pages like facebook or instagram – which by the way I don’t have, in their free time or on their days off. There is absolutely no way of it interfering with the working day” I reply.
Wow, I mean seriously, if I am looking for a paid job isn’t it common sense that the volunteering will end? Shouldn’t a charity head office know that? Considering this was only for a temporary position – and from what I overheard there was no intention of extending the contracts, it was all really nit-picky I felt. There were a few more focused questions on the charity and volunteering work but the question above was the one that really stuck out, and after that I just knew, I could sense it that I wasn’t going to ever get this job.
I did a ton of research on the company as soon as I found out I would be interviewing with them, so I was speechless when I received an email the day after stating that I had been unsuccessful because I didn’t have enough experience for the position (I have 5 years experience – which they knew I had) and that I didn’t know enough about the company, that in future I should research companies better.
Even though I feel you can never research enough, there is only so much you can learn yourself, I felt this was just absolute bull-shit to be honest. But what surprised me the most was that it was from a charity, I just never would have thought a charity would look at volunteering on a CV as negative. It has really made me consider not applying again to this sector in the future and it actually is quite sad that this is what they focused on rather than the years of experience I had to benefit their organisation, even for a short time.
I am completely over it now, but I am really curious if anyone else has experienced this? Or know anyone that has? Do you guys think I should remove this charity/volunteering gig and leave a massive gap on my CV instead? I don’t think this would ‘sell’ me well at all but my goodness, is that what they wanted to see?
I actually really enjoy being interviewed (yes I’m weird), so let’s hope I get another soon! I won’t give up!