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Behavior-Based Interviewing: An Effective Screening Tool for Highly-Skilled Volunteers

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In this feature article, Elisa Kosarin introduces behavior-based interviewing as an extremely effective screening method for assessing highly-skilled volunteer applicants. 

Kosarin’s article is based on the author’s extensive experience working for Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Virginia, where highly specialized volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children living under the court’s protection. Using behavior-based interviewing techniques, a  reassessment of volunteer screening and interviewing processes produced dramatic and positive results for the program, including: a significant decrease in the number of volunteers dropping or not taking cases (from 25 percent to 2 percent in just two years); and a dramatic increase in volunteer retention (from 29 percent to 48 percent over five years). As Kosarin explains, the implementation of behavior-based interviewing played a major role in this turnaround.

In addition to providing a short narrative on Fairfax CASA’s shift to behavior-based interviewing, the article includes:

  • A step-by-step guide for implementing the method in a volunteer program;
  • Practical guidelines for conducting the interview;
  • Examples of how the method is applied in various other programs.