Common Academic Interview Questions

1. Tell me about yourself.

2. Why do you want to work at (this school)?

3. Tell me about your dissertation.

  • When will it be completed?
  • How does it fit into the field? 
  • How many publications do you think you can get from it? 
  • How do you explain your research to someone not in your discipline?
  • What class can you teach? 
  • What classes do you want to teach? 
  • What do you think of our curriculum?

4. Tell me about your teaching techniques.

  • What are your teaching strengths/weaknesses?
  • What steps have you taken to improve your teaching? 
  • What strategies do you use to get students involved?

5. What are your research plans for the next 5 years? 10 years?

  • How does your research fit within our department?
  • Are there members of our faculty you could collaborate with? 
  • In ways might you include undergraduates in your research? 
  • What are your research strengths/weaknesses? 
  • Who might fund your research?

6. In which journals do you expect to publish your work?

Questions You May Want to Ask During an Academic Interview

General Questions

1. What’s expected of a junior faculty member? For example: teaching load, publication expectations, faculty committees/governance, student advising etc.

2. How much time does faculty spend on teaching?

  • How many preps?
  • What is the average class size? 
  • What’s the ratio between upper and lower division courses?

3. Explain the tenure process and requirements.

For the Search Committee Chair
1. What are you looking for in this position?
2. Are there any “land mines” I should be aware of?
3. What should I expect when talking to the Chair, Dean?

For the Dean

1. How much interaction do you have with junior faculty?
2. What research funds are available?
3. What are the most dramatic changes you see for the college in the next 5, 10 years?
4. What percentage of faculty who apply for tenure are given tenure?

For Department Chair and Faculty

1. What lab space/office space is available?
2. Who is in charge of graduate admissions? How are graduate student applications evaluated?
3. Is there a sabbatical system? How does it work?
4. How are CA’s and TA’s funded?
5. Is there release time for services activities such as clubs, directing theses and independent study?
6. Are there opportunities to develop new courses?

For Graduate Students

1. What kind of support do you get from faculty?
2. Which professor serves on the most graduate student committees?
3. Why did you choose to get your graduate degree here?
4. Do you get opportunities to co-author publications?
5. Which faculty do you find most approachable?
6. How much information do you receive about career preparation?