The Ultimate Guide to Acing Your Hipcamp Interview

Camp counselors provide important guidance and are responsible for the safety of children and campers of varying ages.

You should be ready for a number of behavioral and work-related questions about working with kids of different ages and types during your camp counselor interview.

Interviewing at Hipcamp can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. As a leading online marketplace for outdoor stays, Hipcamp only hires the best of the best. With great people comes an extremely thorough recruiting process.

This article will walk you through everything you need to know to ace your Hipcamp interview I’ll cover what to expect, sample interview questions with answers, tips from current employees, and more. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be fully prepared to wow the hiring managers and land the job!

Hipcamp Company Overview

Before we dive into the details of the interview process, let’s do a quick rundown of Hipcamp as a company.

Founded in 2013, Hipcamp is headquartered in San Francisco with the mission to “open the outdoors for everyone.” They provide a platform that connects landowners with campers looking for unique outdoor stays across the United States.

Hipcamp offers over 350,000 sites across public, private, and tribal lands. Campers can filter search results based on location, amenities, price, and more. Hipcamp collects a 3% booking fee from campers and charges hosts a 3-5% fee on every booking.

The company has grown rapidly, raising over $57 million in funding to date. As of 2022, Hipcamp has about 200 employees and was acquired by outdoor retailer REI. The acquisition presents exciting growth opportunities for Hipcamp to further its goal of making the outdoors accessible.

Hipcamp Company Culture and Values

Hipcamp is building a unique culture centered around its core values:

  • We’re in it together – Hipcamp embraces a “startup” mentality where every employee has a voice and works collaboratively. There’s a strong sense of team spirit.

  • We do the right thing – Integrity and social responsibility are key. Hipcamp aims to make a positive impact on people and the planet.

  • We’re always improving – Employees are encouraged to constantly iterate, think big, and strive for excellence. Complacency is not accepted.

  • We make it happen – Hipcamp hires proactive self-starters who take initiative and ownership. There’s more concern with finding solutions than making excuses.

  • We have fun – While the work is demanding, Hipcamp wants to maintain an upbeat, enjoyable work environment. Creativity and humor are welcomed.

Working at Hipcamp comes with high expectations around aligning with these values. Candidates need to demonstrate these traits and mindsets during the interview process.

Hipcamp Interview Process Overview

Now let’s go over the typical timeline and stages of the Hipcamp interview process:

  1. Initial phone screen – A 30 minute call with a recruiter to evaluate basic qualifications.

  2. Technical interview – A 1 hour call focused on your skills for the role (coding, marketing, etc).

  3. Culture interview – A 1 hour video call assessing your cultural fit with Hipcamp’s values and work style.

  4. Leadership interview – A 1 hour video call with the hiring manager covering high-level vision and strategy.

  5. Reference checks – The recruiter will contact 2-3 professional references you provide.

  6. Decision – You’ll hear back within 5 business days on the hiring decision. Be prepared to act fast if you get an offer!

The process usually takes 2-3 weeks from initial phone screen to final decision. Some roles also include tasks or tests (writing samples, case studies, etc) to showcase abilities.

Let’s now dive into the two most intense and important parts of the process – the culture and leadership interviews.

Hipcamp Culture Interview Questions and Answers

The culture interview is all about assessing your fit with Hipcamp’s values and norms. Interviewers want to get a feel for your personality, motivations, and work style.

Here are some of the most common Hipcamp culture interview questions with tips on how to nail your answers:

Tell me about a time you needed to rely on your teammates to accomplish something.

Hipcamp wants people who are collaborative team players, not lone wolves. Pick an example that highlights cooperating with colleagues to drive results. Discuss the dynamics of working together towards a common goal.

Good answer: “When I was working on [Project X], I needed help from my coworkers in order to meet the tight project deadline. I proactively set up meetings with them to explain what I needed and figure out ways we could collaborate efficiently. Having an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality was crucial to getting it done on time.”

When have you gone above and beyond your core job responsibilities to get something done?

Share a story that conveys initiative, ownership, and commitment to excellence. Quantify the impact of going the extra mile.

Good answer: “During my time as a Marketing Coordinator at [Company Y], I took it upon myself to fully redesign our email newsletter template from scratch. While this wasn’t technically my job duty, I saw an opportunity to modernize the look and feel to improve open rates. This new template boosted our open rate by 15% and earned great feedback from customers.”

Tell me about a time you needed to adapt quickly to a changing situation at work. How did you handle it?

Hipcamp operates in a fast-paced environment with shifting priorities. Discuss your agility and ability to adjust on the fly.

Good answer: “When the scope of a project I was working on pivoted unexpectedly, I demonstrated adaptability by rapidly revising my plans and approach. I got together with my PM to understand the new goals and timeline. From there, I was able to revise my strategy and realign my work to match the new direction. While change can be tough, I try to get comfortable with ambiguity.”

Describe a time you had a conflict with a coworker. How was it resolved?

Don’t be afraid to share an example of navigating conflict. Just frame it in terms of reaching an amicable solution.

Good answer: “I once had a disagreement with a colleague about the right way to approach a specific project. Rather than let tensions escalate, I decided to have a direct but thoughtful 1:1 focused on finding common ground. I tried to understand their perspective and explain my rationale. We ultimately compromised on a path forward that incorporated both of our viewpoints. It was a constructive resolution that brought us closer together.”

When have you handled a high pressure, fast-paced work environment?

Reassure the interviewer that you can handle Hipcamp’s intense startup-like atmosphere. Discuss thriving under tight deadlines and uncertainty.

Good answer: In my last role at [Company Z], we routinely had to turn projects around on 2-3 day timeframes. I managed the pressure by proactively communicating with stakeholders, hustling to complete top priorities first, and having contingencies ready when the inevitable roadblocks popped up. While stressful, I enjoyed the thrill of working in hyperdrive mode.”

Hipcamp Leadership Interview Questions and Answers

While the culture interview assesses your personality strengths, the leadership interview evaluates your strategic thinking abilities. Be prepared for high-level questions about past projects, goals, and vision.

Here are some examples of leadership interview questions with tips for crafting strong responses:

Tell me about the most challenging project you’ve managed. What were the obstacles and how did you overcome them?

Showcase impressive program management skills by outlining a complex project full of hurdles. Share how you rallied your team to power through roadblocks. Quantify the success.

Good answer: “The most challenging program I managed was [Project A] that required coordination across 5 different internal teams. Roadblocks included misalignment on goals, changing requirements, and resource constraints. I overcame these by…”

If you were to start a new initiative at Hipcamp, what would it be and why?

Get creative and suggest something innovative that would advance Hipcamp’s mission. Do your research beforehand to have smart ideas ready.

Good answer: “If given the resources, I would launch a Hipcamp mobile app feature that enables real-time chat between campers and landowners. This builds community and allows campers to ask questions while staying on the property. It improves transparency, safety, and the overall experience.”

Where do you see Hipcamp in 5 years? What role would you play in getting there?

Show you’ve thought about Hipcamp’s long-term strategy and growth trajectory. Share how your skills would contribute specifically.

Good answer: “In 5 years, I see Hipcamp expanding globally as the premier online marketplace for outdoor stays worldwide. To help achieve this, I would focus on building strategic marketing campaigns to increase awareness and bookings from international campers.”

If you were the CEO of Hipcamp, what’s one thing you would do differently?

Resist the urge to criticize here. Instead, share a thoughtful suggestion to improve Hipcamp that shows strategic thinking.

Good answer: “If I were Hipcamp’s CEO, one thing I would double down on heavily investing in mobile technology. Between the app and mobile site, most bookings happen on smartphones these days. Optimizing the mobile experience would remove friction from the booking process and drive even more growth.”

5 Hip

Check Camp Counselor Candidate References to Avoid Unsuitable Hires

Recruiting camp counselors is a serious task. Family members trust your camp to care for their kids and keep them safe and happy. It’s important to know at least the following about the candidates for counselor: Do they have patience in chaotic situations? How do they deal with kids who need positive discipline? How effectively do they communicate? Have they worked with kids before?

A strict process of checking references is the best way to make sure that the camp counselors you hire are a good fit for it. This job can seem difficult if you have to spend hours on the phone calling references who don’t give you much useful information about the candidate.

Harver works with companies all over the world, including in the United States, to automate their background checks. This speeds up a process that used to take a lot of time and effort, gets better feedback, and makes sure the best people are hired.

And the results have been outstanding. Many customers are finding that up to 10% of their candidates are not suitable to work with children through reference feedback. That includes 4% of candidates who are flagged by Harver Reference for potentially faking their references. Without our fraud detection, all these unfit candidates may have otherwise slipped through the interview process.

One YMCA manager told us that he couldn’t believe the bad reviews they were seeing for people who would have been hired otherwise. He strongly feels this feedback would’ve been missed using phone-based reference calls. Are you catching these unsuitable candidates with your current reference checking process?.

Sample Behavioral Interview Questions for Camp Counselors:

  • Tell me about a time when you didn’t get along with a friend, coworker, or boss. Who was in the fight? What was the problem? How did you solve it?
  • Tell me about a time when you helped a child work through a really tough problem.
  • Tell me about a time when you helped a child who was sad or upset and made them feel better.
  • Give an example of something you would do with kids of that age.
  • You see that some campers are forming groups. What would you do to make sure that everyone felt like they belonged?
  • What would you do if a camper didn’t want to do an activity?
  • How would you keep a group of 10 to 20 campers busy if it’s raining?
  • What would you do with a camper who acts up or doesn’t follow directions?
  • That parent is mad about how you treated their child(ren). What would you say?
  • How do you handle a homesick camper?
  • How would you handle a fight between two campers?

Questions for Teamwork:

  • Describe a time when you had to work closely with a coworker who was rude or difficult. How did you deal with it? Were you able to work together or settle your differences?
  • Describe a conflict you had with other camp counselors. What was the conflict and how did you handle it?.
  • Tell me about a time when you got ahead by taking charge. Do you find yourself stepping into these roles frequently?.

Questions to Test for Adaptability:

  • Tell me about a time when you had a lot of stress. What did you do to get through it?
  • Share an example of an awkward situation at work. How did you address the situation?.
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?.
  • Tell me about a time when you knew a camper or child might have a problem and took steps to avoid it.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to plan activities that campers of all ages could enjoy. What were those activities? What were the outcomes?.

Questions to Assess Time Management:

  • Tell me about a time when a child was very disruptive or upset and needed a lot of your time. How did you handle this situation while making sure all of your other campers were taken care of?
  • Talk about a time when you felt overwhelmed. What did you do?.
  • Tell me about a big goal you’ve set for yourself. Have you reached that goal? If so, how did you make sure you did?

Questions to Assess Communication Style:

  • Give an example of a time when you were able to get a camper to agree to do something they didn’t want to do at first. How did your persuade this person?.
  • Talk about a time when you had not communicated well. How did you correct the situation?.
  • Tell me about a time when you took negative feedback and made it into something good.

Uncover Motivation and Values:

  • Talk about a tough problem or situation that you solved on your own instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
  • Tell me about a time when you did something extra as a camp counselor. What motivated you to put forth the extra effort?.
  • Tell me about a mistake you’ve made and how you fixed it.
  • What is the hardest thing about being a camp counselor for you? How do you deal with it?

Hipcamp Webinar for Land Trusts


What are Camp America interviews like?

Typical Summer Camp Interview Questions: ‘Why do you want to work at a camp and be a camp counselor?’ ‘What qualities do you have that would want us to hire you as camp counselor?’ ‘Give an example of a scenario when you have had to deal with a stressful situation’ ‘Have you got any experience working with children?’

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