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affiché le 28 oct 2019

By Maria Lahiffe

Screening is the process of confirming that a candidate is suitable for a volunteer post. An essential part of serving your clients and managing organizational risk, it starts before you recruit a single volunteer and never stops until that volunteer finishes working for you.

Volunteer Canada identifies 10 steps of a high-quality screening process, many of which overlap with other stages in the volunteer management cycle. [1].

Risk Assessment

The amount of screening you do for a position will depend on the risk associated with that position. For example, you should screen prospective board members more thoroughly than people who will pick up trash at your event.

Risk should be considered through three lenses:

  1. Risk to an individual – risk of harm to the person doing the job, or to a client
  2. Risk to property – risk of harm to property owned by the organization, the volunteer, a client, or a member of the public
  3. Reputational risk – risk to the organizational reputation

Some things to consider in assessing the risk inherent in a given position are as follows:

  1. Level of autonomy in the role
  2. Extent to which the person in the role interacts with the public
  3. Physical risks inherent to the role
  4. Extent to which the person in the role interacts with vulnerable populations, e.g. young people, elderly, people with disabilities
  5. Level of responsibility associated with the role

You can read more about risk assessment in our previous post.

Screening Never Stops

The most important thing about screening is that screening policies and procedures should be well-communicated and consistently applied.

The Ten Steps of Screening are as follows:

1.      Assessment

2.      Position description

Steps one and two align with planning for volunteer involvement. They are applicable to screening because you cannot assess a candidate’s suitability for a post unless the post itself is well-defined.

3.      Recruitment

Recruitment aligns with screening because your recruitment message will be dictated by the type of candidate you are looking for. For example, if you need someone who is very detail-oriented, and you make that clear when recruiting, then people who are not good with details can self-screen, and apply for something else.

4.      Application Forms

5.      Interview

6.      References

7.      Police Checks

Steps 4-7 are exclusively involved with assessing the suitability of an individual for a specific role.

8.      Orientation and training

9.      Support and supervision

10.  Follow-up and feedback

Steps 8-10 will help a candidate develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful on the job, i.e. to become an excellent match to the needs of the post. In addition, many volunteers will self-screen once they fully understand what the job entails, if they realize they are not suitable.

Volunteer screening is an essential part of volunteer management. To learn more, come to our upcoming course.

Click here to register Tuesday, November, 19, 2019. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to volunteer management. Click here for more information, and to register. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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Related blog posts:

[1] Volunteer Canada, "10 Steps of Screening Pamplhet," 2012. [Online]. Available:
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