7 common Spark Hire questions

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.

Tough Interview Questions For Video Interviewing Success
  • Tell me about yourself. …
  • Why should we hire you? …
  • What’s your greatest career accomplishment? …
  • Tell me about a big mistake, how you dealt with it, and what you learned from the experience. …
  • Why do you want this job? …
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

7 common Spark Hire questions – and how to answer them

Question 1: Tell me about yourself

This is a classic warm-up question, designed to break the ice.

However, the person viewing your video also actually wants to hear about you in your own words!

The best way to answer this is to not read off your CV! Many people make that mistake, and if you don’t, you are already ahead of quite a few applicants.

Make sure your answer is an executive summary of yourself and your career. It doesn’t have to go into details of each job or assignment you had or move in chronological order.

As long as the interviewer can place your overall career, aspirations, and style quickly, you will have accomplished your goal for this question.

Common Video Interview Questions

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter. What type of questions are you most likely to encounter during an online interview?

1. Tell me about yourself

Why interviewers ask it:

While this is technically a statement, it can also be asked in question form: “How would you describe yourself?” and the sentiment is the same. This is typically one of the first questions asked during an interview because it’s so broad and open-ended; it acts as a good icebreaker. It allows interviewers to better understand how candidates view themself and what they prioritize. What applicants choose to reveal tells potential employers more about their backgrounds, personality, and values.

How to Answer:

Aim for a mix of 80% professional and 20% personal information in your reply. After all, this is a job interview, so your focus should be on what you can bring to the role and the company as a whole. Mention your skills, work experience, education, and any extracurricular or volunteer activities, especially those that are related to the line of work for which you’re applying. You may also mention professional memberships and/or participation on boards or committees.

Since much of this information may already appear on your resume, consider this a highlight reel conversation. Briefly summarize the main professional points you want to emphasize, and then add some color by sharing one or two personal facts (like a hobby, a little about your family, or where you live).

– Jen Narayan, founder of CareerRealTalk.com

2. Why are you interested in this job?

Why interviewers ask it:

Hiring managers are looking to hire someone who genuinely wants the position—not someone who just wants to collect a paycheck. This question helps interviewers gauge applicants’ interest in the role and understand what motivated them to apply. It’s also another way of asking why an applicant left a previous employer or is considering leaving their current employer.

How to Answer:

Whatever you do, do not badmouth any of your employers or coworkers in your response. Even if you are pursuing a new job because you are unhappy at work, steer clear of the temptation to rant or gossip. Instead, explain what caught your eye in the job posting. You might mention how you could see yourself fitting into the corporate culture, or list positive things you’ve heard about working there (either from a friend or from online company review sites).

– Max Chan, founder of ChanWithAPlan.com

3. What is/are your biggest strength(s)?

Why interviewers ask it:

The reasoning behind this question is two-fold. On one hand, it helps interviewers determine what you consider to be your greatest assets. But, it also helps them feel out your confidence level in your abilities—and whether or not you try to claim undue credit.

How to Answer:

You want to come across as capable and confident, but not arrogant. To do this, don’t over exaggerate your skillset or boast about a successful project that was really more of a team effort. Instead, give an example of something no one seems to be able to do quite like you can at work. Ideally, list a transferable skill (like intimate knowledge of a useful software) and a soft skill, which can be just as valuable. About 36% of employers look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; and 21% look for creative thinking.

4. What do you know about our company?

Why interviewers ask it:

Hiring teams want to know if you’ve done your homework before meeting with them. Candidates who haven’t spent time researching the company and can’t speak to what it does come across as unprepared and/or not interested in the job.

How to Answer:

You don’t need to memorize a bunch of stats or rhyme off absolutely every detail about the company. But, well in advance of your interview, visit the potential employer’s website (especially the About Us page), as well as their social media accounts. 47% of interviewers said that they wouldn’t offer a job to a candidate if they had little knowledge of their company.

Learn as much as you can and relay your findings related to:

  • What products/services does the company offer?
  • Where are they headquartered and where do they do business?
  • Who might their competitors be?
  • What’s their underlying mission and/or values?
  • If some of these things aren’t clear, this is a great time to ask clarifying questions. Doing so helps you determine if it’s a good fit for you, too!

    5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

    Why interviewers ask it: Although five years is a common timeframe, this question may be positioned more generally such as “How do you see your future?” or “How would you like to shape your career path?”. Regardless of how the question is phrased, the intention behind it is to determine how future-thinking you are, and whether or not you plan ahead. How to Answer: Give this question some serious thought before your interview. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re working your dream job surrounded by a great team of people. You’re living your best life and accomplishing your goals, whatever those may be for you. Consider all the steps it’d take for you to get there, and use this honest reflection to help shape your answer. Of course, keep your response focused mostly on your professional aspirations.

    6. What makes you the right person for this position?

    Why interviewers ask it:

    Interviewers are inviting candidates to put themselves in their shoes, and answer the biggest question of all: “why should we hire you?”. At this stage, you’ve likely already touched on some of the things you can bring to the role, but a direct question calls for an all-encompassing elevator pitch. They’re trying to see if you can adequately “sell” yourself.

    How to Answer:

    Consider what makes you different from other applicants and how you stand out from the rest of the pack! How has your education and work experience combined to give you what it takes to succeed in the position? You may want to mention what you did well in similar roles, articulating how that helped the company. You could also talk about what you’ve learned from past employment to propel your career in this direction.

    Tips When Answering Interview Questions

    Now that you know the most popular interview questions and you’re prepared to answer them, don’t forget the basics.

  • Always be honest: It’s never a good idea to start an employment relationship based on a lie. Yet, 81% of applicants lie during their interview. Even if you get the job, you may lose it if (or, more likely, when) your employer uncovers the truth.
  • Don’t be a robot: Hiring teams are seeking real people who work hard and have big ideas. You should definitely practice for your interview, but don’t sound scripted.
  • Relax: It’s completely normal to be nervous before your interview. Before answering, take a long, deep breath and release any tension you’re holding in your jaw or shoulders. You always perform better when you take even a couple minutes to clear your mind beforehand.
  • Some lesser known best practices (like where to look when answering questions) can be found in our Ultimate Guide to Acing Your Video Interview. We encourage you to give them a read to perfect your digital interviewing skills.

    Question 4: Tell me about a time you faced conflict in a team

    This question asks about your people skills. Essentially, how good are you at empathizing with people, identifying potential problems, and bringing them to a resolution.

    A classic mistake here where answering this question jumps to something like “I just fired that person”.

    While that may be true and necessary, jumping straight to that conclusion won’t get you far with your Spark Hire. Explain the process that you went through until you reached that point.

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