February 24, 2020
Tips for a successful AmeriCorps interview
Interested in national service, and making a meaningful difference in your own life and in the lives of others? You’re already off to a great start!
The following tips are meant to inform and inspire you ahead of your upcoming interview for an AmeriCorps position.
Tip 1: Research, research, research
This may seem obvious, but it’s a critical and often-overlooked step ahead of your first and successive AmeriCorps interviews. While you’re certainly not expected to know each and every facet about the organization or AmeriCorps, it’s highly recommended you spend time researching the mission and values of the organization you’d like to serve with, and the skills they’re looking for in a new hire. The more informed you are at the time of the interview, the more prepared for the role you appear!
Tip 2: Come with questions
Because it’s not expected that you know everything about the organization after browsing their website and their career pages, it’s not only okay to bring questions- it’s highly encouraged! Whether they’re questions about the day-to-day life in the role, the staffing structure in the company, the benefits and pay, or about professional development opportunities, every question shows a willingness to learn and an interest in the position itself.
Tip 3: Be authentic, be honest
If you search online for interview tips, you’ll inevitably find countless articles about the importance of professionalism. Just as important in mission-centered environments, though, are the qualities of authenticity and honesty. Be who you are, and don’t feel the need to exaggerate or fib.
Tell your story, and be honest both about your strengths and about what challenges you. That authenticity helps the interviewer accurately assess your fit for the role. It also helps maintain confidence, knowing that you don’t have to be anyone but yourself. And, if you’re offered the role, you know it was because of who you truly are.
Tip 4: Focus on service
While interviews can sometimes feel similar regardless of the type of role you’re applying to, it’s important to keep in mind and to demonstrate that you understand that you’re interviewing for a national service position. Prepare as if it’s a job interview, but also be sure to emphasize your passion for service and community.
Remember to bring your passion and your values to your AmeriCorps interview.
Tip 5: Assess your needs if you were to serve
Speaking of service, there are loads of benefits while serving! However, there is also the reality of the modest living allowance, which is the extent of the pay you’d receive during your service term. Be realistic about what the living allowance would mean to your budget, and to your living situation while you’d serve.
Assess what kinds of changes you would need to make in order to live on that living allowance. This process can also inform questions to ask during your interview, especially in regards to learning how other AmeriCorps members in the organization may have served successfully on the living allowance.
Tip 6: Consider how serving in AmeriCorps relates to your career goals
The interview is one step, and a potential year of service is another. But where do you see yourself in a year? Five years? Ten?
Whether it comes up in an interview or not, it’s still an important question to reflect on. Reflect on the mission of AmeriCorps, and the mission of the organization, as well as the skills you’d use and develop as an AmeriCorps member with that organization.
Consider how a service term might help you get you to where you want to be next, and feel empowered to share those goals in your AmeriCorps interview!