The Interview Disaster

I’m not going to lie.  My interview and mock class process with VIPKID was a disaster in my eyes.  So much of a disaster that I was ready to quit before I even got started.  With that said, now that I work as a VIPKID Teacher, I’m almost amazed it is the same company.  My interview experience was quite the opposite of my experience as a teacher. Just something to keep in mind as your reading.

I feel I need to add a disclaimer here that VIPKID is always changing how things are done.  What I had to do may, or may not, be what others had to do or what some will have to do in order to get hired.  This company is a work in progress and is always working to improve their mode of operation.

If you are unfamiliar with the interview process, it goes something like this.

Step one:  The interview.

Step two:  Mock Class 1

Step three:  Mock Class 2 (for some but not all)

I’m a pretty tough cookie when it comes to interviewing and hiring. I’ve worked in management, the classroom, and the Government.  I’ve been through hiring process that required much more than VIPKID.  The struggle I faced was all about finding information and breaking through cultural barriers. I like a nice checklist that tells me exactly what qualifications need to be met from a purely objective point of view.

Meet this criteria and you will get paid x amount for y job.  Fail the criteria and you will not be hired.  I like guidelines.

This is simply not a strength of VIPKID. There is a structure, to be sure, but I found it lacking and very broad.  I struggled to find answers, didn’t really know what to expect, and hated the subjectivity of it.  Add to that the number of teachers they are processing (something I was unaware of), the speed at which they are growing, and the language barrier, and you have a very frustrating environment for trying to land a “part-time” job.

I prepared the best I could for my first on-line 10-minute interview and scheduled the appointment.

Before VIPKID, I had little to no experience in front of a camera.  I did an interview once for an education center I worked for and felt like the camera was going to eat me alive. Outside of sporadic skype-like session with my three year old niece, I simply didn’t do live video streaming.

This little tid-bid alone had me a bit stressed out and very self-aware.

When I logged in, I was met by a young lady who worked in VIPKID’s Beijing headquarters who was very…ummm….professional.  She was curt and seemingly boarded. Her English was pretty good, but her accent made her difficult to understand.  She sat in what looked like a call center with people walking behind her and a lot of background noise (which is very distracting to me).  She didn’t give me so much as a smile, but seemed rushed to be finished the interview.

During the first part of the interview, she acted like a child (literally play acted that she was a 5 year old) and I had to teach her.  This was not a surprise, mind you, but it was very uncomfortable for me. Between the background noise, my nervousness at seeing myself staring back at me, my inexperience in online teaching and online time management, my difficulty in understanding her, and her lack of enthusiasm I simply wanted to cry.

After the “trial” class, she asked me a series of questions (rushed and short) about my experience and education.  She rattled off how much I would be paid – if I passed my mock classes – and asked me if I was ok with that payment arrangement.  The payment system at VIPKID is also a bit confusing if you are new to it.  You get a base salary per 25-minute class plus incentives (more on this in future posts).

She also criticized my background, leaving me feel completely inadequate.  The interview was a whirlwind and I closed the window expecting nothing less than an email claiming I was not a good fit for the company.

As you know that didn’t happen.  Next up in the blogging world, how to approach the interview, what to expect, preparation, learning curve, and mock classes.  My goal is to share my story and help you to have a better understanding of what to expect and how to tackle this process without unneeded stress and worry.

The moral of this story: It’s not always what it seems. 🙂  See you next time.


The content of this blog is the opinion and experience of the blogger and is not endorsed by VIPKID or any of its subsidiaries.  

2 thoughts on “The Interview Disaster

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  1. I joined VIPKID in 2015 before it was as “organized” as it is now, and after working for a company in China that was less organized then VIPKID I was very impressed with how seamlessly the interview and mock class process went when I applied! There is definitely a large cultural difference in the approach to businesses (from my experience anyways), but I’m glad you stuck with it! I enjoyed the read, I’m going to share this post on VIPKID Bloggers, a facebook community I’ve started for VIPKID teachers who blog about what we do. As I think the interview process is a side of things we quickly forget about once we start working, this will spark some interesting conversation! Please also check out the facebook group, it would be great to have you join us!

    Liked by 1 person

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