5 Things NOT to Do in a Spark Hire Interview

spark hire interview man sitting at laptopWith all the time we spend in front of the camera as online teachers, I thought I’d have no trouble recording a one-way video interview online with Spark Hire.

I was wrong.

See, I’ve developed a level of comfort in my online classroom that just isn’t fitting for an interview. But this particular interview was one step in the application process of an intense apprenticeship program I’ve had my head and heart set on since I came across it a short while ago. It’s not a traditional position, so standing rigidly in a starched shirt and pressed tie didn’t feel right, either.

So how do you ace this thing?!

To start, don’t ask yourself this question. There isn’t a magic word or phrase you can say to ‘get the position’ automatically. This is the time to share more about yourself, and the interviewing program is excited to get to know you!

Read on to see the 5 things I learned not to do in a Spark Hire interview!

But first…

What is a Spark Hire Online Virtual Interview?

I want to help out any readers who find themselves interviewing online, whether in a one-way or traditional interview face to face.

The format of interviews with Spark Hire will differ, as the company allows the interviewing group to select the type of interview (live or one-way) and then further customize the experience based on this choice.

I completed a one-way interview, and it’s the one most people have questions about, so I’ll cover it here.

One-Way Video Interview

A one-way interview is what it sounds like:

You record answers to interview questions and submit them to be reviewed later by the employer.one-way interview blue webcam

It goes like this:

  1. Accept the invitation email and verify your identity with Sparkhire
    • Quick note: The interview does not automatically start when you press the button in the email to interview. There are many prompts to go through and even a practice question before the actual interview starts, and you can even pause it and return at a later time. Accept it as soon as possible to let the interviewer know you’re interested!
  2. You’ll be asked to check your camera and microphone before proceeding. Spark Hire has a helpful support team available throughout to address any technical issues before and during the interview!
  3. The interviewing group will set:
    • the number of questions (I was asked 7),
    • what the questions ask,
    • the amount of time you have to think of a response, (I was given 1 minute to think of responses)
    • the amount of time you have to answer the question (I was given about 1-2 minutes to answer each question) and
    • whether or not you can re-record your answers. (I was able to record it once.)
  4. When you’re ready, you can click the button to see the practice question. The timer showing how long you have left to think about your response will tick down. If you are ready to respond, you can click the button saying something like ‘Ready to Answer’ and a 3-second timer will countdown.
  5. Complete the practice question by recording your answer. You’ll be able to stop after each question during the interview.

Now, on to the good stuff!

1. Don’t Panic

There’s a reason this is the first tip:

None of the rest will work if you panic.

It won’t matter how prepared you are if you can’t get the thoughts out when the clock starts ticking.Don't panic during interview nervous girl

Take it from someone who panicked a bit during his own interview:

Breathe deeply and realize this sense of panic is artificial, it’s manufactured by the clock ticking down in front of you. You feel pressured, but 1 to 2 minutes is plenty of time to answer the questions, especially if you’ve covered #2.

To get used to the feeling, set yourself a timer for a similar length of time and practice recording responses with your laptop’s webcam to common interview questions:

  • Describe yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for _____?
  • What skills do you have that would be useful in this position?

Also, don’t panic if they ask a question you weren’t expecting. Use the thinking time to come up with a response describing one or two main points in a concise yet thorough way, and try to avoid rambling (note to self).

Finally, don’t rush through the questions. I felt myself doing this, almost like I wanted to get it over with, but you can pause after each question and return to the interview after mentally resetting if you need to. Plus, it’ll help if you just relax and show your personality!

2. Don’t Forget to Prepare

You want to prepare for a one-way interview the same way you would for a ‘normal’ interview.

Here are a few things I did to prepare:

  • I Googled past interviews with the program,
  • listened to their podcast,
  • read their blog (they even had a post on what made the perfect candidate and a few about how to improve your next interview!) and
  • watched a few YouTube videos to get a better idea of what they might ask, what their program offers, and what their program stands for. This last one is important:prepare for interview checklist in notebook

Just because you can rattle off a bunch of facts about their program or company doesn’t mean you should. It doesn’t reveal much about yourself to the employer, and anyone could pull up similar information in a quick search online.

I wanted to hear the founder speak about the program, listen to past participants, and get a better idea of why I wanted to go through this program instead of taking another path.

Remember that Spark Hire has tons of useful videos and posts, plus a Candidate Boot Camp, to help candidates prepare.  They want you to succeed just as much as you do!

Finally, don’t just say-show!

As you prepare, try to tie each of the qualities or skills you’ll mention to an instance of when you used it. Anyone can list off skills, but a real-world example gives the interviewer a much better idea of the way you’d apply them to add value to their company.

3. Don’t Look at Yourself on the Screen

This will go against some habits we’ve picked up as online teachers because we’re used to making sure our students can see us and our props or whiteboard clearly.

Looking into the camera is like making eye-contact with the interviewer and can be practiced prior to the interview. This way you’ll catch yourself looking at your own recording more often than I did and get your eyes back on the camera!

4. Don’t Forget Body Language

I’ll let the organization I was interviewing for explain this:

Interviewers look for forward tilt.

An interviewee expresses forward tilt by leaning in or across the table, manifesting their excitement at the opportunity physically, unable to contain it within themselves.

show excitement shirtless male outdoor photographer

*Actual screenshot from my practice recording.

I chose to record my responses standing.

Why?

Because I was fired up to be speaking with these people!

Sure, it also gave me a greater range to move around with nervous energy. But I’ll take that standing up (see what I did there?).

If I’m going to move, it’s better to do it on my feet than moving only my upper body while seated, no?

So, don’t forget about your body language when interviewing.

Also, speak to be heard and understood. Now isn’t the time to mumble:

Smile and speak with passion!

You want them to feel your excitement through the screen. It can go a long way in a one-way interview where there isn’t that normal back-and-forth exchange and you’ve no body language to go off of.

5. Don’t Overanalyze Afterward

You’ve recorded your answers and hit submit.

Whew.

Want to know what will happen next?

You’ll start remembering all of the little details you meant to include. There won’t be too many if you’ve followed one through four, but they’ll be there.

Don’t double-dip on the anxiety, nervousness, and negative emotions. girl thinking with laptop

The interview is over, and you can’t change your responses.

But you’re not powerless:

Run a quick recap! Ask yourself:

  • What did I do well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • How can I learn and grow from this experience to better prepare for the next one-way interview?

Growth often comes wrapped up in apparent failure, so use this opportunity to reflect and improve!

And whatever the outcome is following your interview, keep tilting forward!


Have a question about my one-way interview with Spark Hire?

Let me know in the comments below or email me at jason@teachnomadic.com!

 

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