The 1:2 interview


To get to know our applicants as passionate people, we interview 70 candidates in 30 minute slots over two days. Interviewees chat with two Spark members and get a chance to ask their own questions about Spark. When you have your interview, we give you a one-pager with some key information about Spark so that you don't need to know everything about Spark off the top of your head.

Pandemic adjustments Our 1:2 interviews are typically conducted in-person. For Spring of 2021, we'll be conducting our 1:2 interviews over Zoom and sending you your one-pager in advance. If you're participating in 1:2 interviews, please check your email for the latest information about this step in the process.

Here's what we'll ask about in 1:2 interviews:

  • You, communities you're part of, and your role in those communities
  • What you like to work on and what you do for fun
  • Your connection to our mission
  • Your interest in our work
Application tip Take note of what we're not asking about.

Spark doesn't recruit for skills, so while you can spend time telling us about those skills, we care more about what those skills mean to you and your passions. Why do you like doing what you do? What's your approach to it?

We're not explicitly asking whether you've built a business, interned somewhere impressive, or founded your own startup. While those things are typical ways to get exposure to entrepreneurship, we welcome all kinds of entrepreneurial thinking in Spark. We purposely don't recruit applicants based on specific resume accomplishments like startup entrepreneurship or consulting internships – in fact, a spectrum of experiences with self-startership, diligence, and intrapreneurship helps diversify our board's approach to leadership.

We won't penalize you for mentioning your startup if you have one, but remember that joining Spark's leadership board won't help you accelerate your venture. We encourage you to mention any work relevant to the interview topics we listed above, whether that's being proud of your minimum-wage job, your tutoring side-hustle, or your academic research.

FAQ: Why is this a 1:2 interview? We take notes during all of our interviews so that we have an accurate record of what you say. Our philosophy is to base our decisions on what you say, rather than how you appear or act, so an accurate record matters a lot. It's a little awkward, though, to talk to someone whose attention isn't fully trained on you, so we have one interviewer ask questions while another interviewer takes notes.

Here are the criteria we look for – same as our written application criteria, but we replace Growth Mindset with Initiative & scrappiness:

  • Initiative & scrappiness
  • Does this person demonstrate proactivity when faced with a challenge?

    Does this person take initiative to solve problems around them?

    Does this person try to implement solutions with the resources available?

For Creative thinking, Passion & drive, and Mission fit, see above.

1:2 interview decisions After all 1:2 interviews are over, all interviewers work together to determine who best fits our criteria and picks 20 candidates to move onto the group interview round. You'll hear back with your results within a day or two of submitting your application.