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Interviewing for an AmeriCorps VISTA position is a lot like interviewing for any other job, so doing some general interview prep beforehand makes sense, but there are also some additional things it’s a good idea to think through before interviewing for—or committing to—a service year. Our Outreach Associate Willie Heineke and VISTA Leaders Tanya Burgess and Brandon Grigsby suggest that you…


  • Think about why you want to do a VISTA year, instead of a different kind of service (or a regular job). What draws you to capacity building instead of direct service? How does a year of VISTA service fit into your plans for the future?
  • What are you hoping to learn from a VISTA year? Are there specific professional skills you’re hoping to develop?
  • Be prepared to talk about your past experiences with volunteering.
  • Think about your motivations for wanting to serve. Be ready to explain what draws you to fighting poverty and why you’re interested in the nonprofit world, affordable housing, or other aspects of the VISTA position for which you’re interviewing.
  • Learn about the specific host organization you’d be working with. What is their mission? How do they work toward it? Have some questions ready about their philosophy and approach.
  • Think seriously about what it means to live on a stipend, which will come to around $1,000 per month. Are you confident that you can make ends meet on that amount of money? Are there financial questions you’d like to ask when talking with the VISTA Leaders?