Recruitment, selection and induction

Volunteers come into organisations with different motives and expectations, and with a diverse range of backgrounds, interests, skills and experiences. Having a clear outline of how you find, appoint and induct your volunteers will help you to get the best match for your organisation. It also helps to make your volunteers feel valued.

To attract volunteers who fit in well with your organisation and contribute to your programs you need to know what sort of volunteer roles you need and, importantly, the kind of people that you would like to have in those roles. Before you start writing your policy, you might like to read our section on Attracting and recruiting.

This links to National Standards for Involving Volunteers No.3 – Recruitment.

Select a topic to find out more: Recruitment | Selection | Induction

Recruitment

A recruitment policy helps to ensure that you are clear about:

  • What volunteer-based services you are providing
  • How you will bring volunteers into your organisation
  • What kinds of volunteers you plan to recruit
  • How they will be involved.

It also outlines your approach to finding volunteers. For example, the purpose of your policy might be to ensure that:

  • Volunteer positions are filled with the best possible candidate/s 
  • Ensure all selections are fair and equitable/based on merit
  • Recruitment and selection processes adhere to the Equal Opportunity Policy
  • A standard approach is adopted for the recruitment of all volunteer positions.

Procedures will vary between organisations, but should outline the how your policy will be put into action.

Describe the processes with reference to any documents, forms or checklists that are needed.

You might also need to include: 

  • Do you need permission to advertise or create a volunteer opportunity? If you do, who can approve this and what is the process?
  • Who is responsible for writing job descriptions?
  • Who is responsible for contacting unsuccessful applicants?

Selection

The selection process involves choosing the individual who best meets the requirements of a position.

It’s important to have clear processes in place for how you choose the most suitable volunteer for any vacant position. This makes sure the process is fair and transparent.

It can also protect you if you have someone apply who is interested in the role but not suited to it.

For many volunteer roles, selection is an informal process where a chat about the position and its requirements may be all that’s needed. Other organisations follow a more formal selection process. Either way, your policy should state whether or not you require the following as part of your process:

  • Application form
  • Selection criteria addressed
  • Attendance at a workshop or information session
  • Interview
  • Checks
  • Following up personal references
  • Timelines.

Checks

The checks required for volunteer appointments will depend on the organisation’s volunteer policy. They may include:

  • A police check
  • A working with children check
  • Proof of identity
  • Qualifications or certifications
  • Work history
  • Relevant medical history.

Induction

Orientation is the final step in the recruitment process. New members are welcomed to the organisation and given details about their position. Introduce daily operations and key people in the workplace.

Having a well planned induction and orientation process can help make new volunteers feel more welcome and less stressed when they start their role.

Include time where you can go through the details of their role and provide a copy of their job description – including responsibilities, hours and expectations.

Other things to include are:

  • Familiarise volunteers with facilities, equipment and resources
  • Go through open and close times
  • Explain emergency and evacuation procedures 
  • Provide copies of current newsletters, annual reports or marketing material
  • Provide a copy of your Volunteer rights and responsibilities
  • Give an introduction to the organisation
  • Introduce key volunteers and staff 
  • Familiarise volunteers with daily operations like using the telephone, photocopier, keys, filing system, kitchens, alarm systems etc
  • Familiarise them with the organisation's policies and procedures, including complaints and dispute resolution, sexual harassment and equal opportunity, and health and safety
  • Provide any specific training as necessary.

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Tools and resources

Our Community - Screening volunteers
This information sheet offers an explanation about why screening volunteers is important and then practical tips for including screening procedures into the recruitment process.

Our Community - Staff Recruitment Policy (DOC 126KB)
Sample policy for the recruitment of staff and volunteers, including procedures for advertising, screening, interviews, paperwork and records management.

Victorian Council of Social Service - Policy and Procedure Manual
This 136 page guide can be purchased from VCOSS for $30. It identifies broad policy areas, recommends key policies for community organisations and includes sample policies with tips on how to adapt and implement them.

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A 'Help Wanted' headline in a newspaper