A standard charity interview process in the UK is often conducted over two stages. The first of these will often involve an introduction into the role, and an opportunity for a candidate to demonstrate the breadth of their skills and experience relevant to the job. The second interview is a deeper dive into key themes, alongside understanding more about a candidate’s values, outlook and ambitions.

The more senior the role, the more likely a recruitment process will involve a ‘meet the team’ element. Simon shares his advice for how candidates and hiring managers can best prepare for this stage and add the most value to decision-making.

How can a candidate prepare for a staff panel?

Request the names and job titles of all the people on the staff panel. This will give you the opportunity to understand the background of these people and help with predicting the type of question they may ask, pertaining to their specialism. It will also help you tailor your own questions directly to the relevant person. Panel members will appreciate noticing you’ve done your research by looking them up on LinkedIn.

Enquire about the structure of the meeting. Will one of the staff panel be chairing the meeting, or will you as candidate be expected to? Knowing this will avoid any awkwardness for both sides.

Have questions ready. These could include: What challenges do you face in your role, and how can the [insert title] help overcome these? How would you describe the team culture? What areas of fundraising do you feel present the greatest opportunity for growth over the coming year?

Ensure you engage with everyone on the panel. Potential colleagues will want to know that you are someone who listens to different perspectives and can bring people into discussions, particularly if they are introverted characters.

How can a hiring manager get the most out of a staff panel?

Set expectations on what is required from the panel. If possible, choose a staff member to chair the discussion, or inform them that the candidate will chair.

Inform the staff panel on the areas you would like them to feedback on. This could include track record, values, culture add, understanding of the cause, level of engagement with the panel, etc.

Do not treat the staff panel as the final decision. It should only contribute to a decision-making process. Remember that the staff panel have not had the benefit of two-panel interviews with the candidates.

Make sure you’ve briefed the candidate or recruiter on what to expect on the day. Share names, job titles and remit.

Arrange a session after the interview so that the views of the staff panel can be fed into the panel’s wrap-up discussions.


Simon Callaghan is the Director of Peridot Partners’ fundraising and marcomms team. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s Major Donor Special Interest Group, a group of volunteers who support major donor fundraisers in a range of different ways, including providing training bursaries for external courses, running events and connecting fundraisers with mentors from outside of their organization who can help support their professional development. Simon has been recruiting into the charity sector for 15 years. You can connect with Simon on LinkedIn, or send him an email.