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Typical Academic Interview Questions

At least 75% of interview questions can be predicted, and are relevant across disciplines. Accordingly, it can be worth collecting interview questions, pre-preparing answers and practising interviews.

If applicants are giving presentations for a post in your academic department it can be worth watching both presentation and the interview (if this is possible). Perhaps the most important thing is to appear confident. You need to look as if you’re enjoying the interview and to give the impression that you are pleased to be there.

General Questions
  • What makes you special?
  • What attracts you to Warwick University?
  • What do you feel you can bring to the department?
  • Why do you think you’re suited for this job?
  • Which individuals in the University might offer the prospect of research collaboration?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing High Education in the next five years?
    • How will these changes impact on your work as a scholar and a teacher?
Research Questions
    • If you were given 30 seconds on the radio to summarise the importance of your research, what would you say?
    • What are key arguments in your PhD?
    • How important is interdisciplinarity to your work?
    • What is the most important book or paper in your field over the last 5 years and how has it influenced your research?
    • Can you offer us your definition of Culture / Security / Community Health / Innovation
      • In other words be ready to offer a definition of any key word you use
    • What’s the difference between multidisciplinarity and interdisplinarity
    • What will scholars in your field be working on in 10 years’ time?
    • Where do you want your own research to be in 5 years’ time?
    • What are the new methodological developments in your field?
    • What makes for a successful grant bid?
    • Some might suggest that your field is narrow - how does it really matter?
    Administration Questions
    • Administration is key part of being an academic - What experience do you have with administration?
    • What sort of qualities would you associate with someone who was considered to be a good exams officer?
    • What experience of administration do you have?
    Teaching Questions
      • What is your teaching philosophy?
      • What makes an effective teacher?
      • How do you get quiet students to talk in seminars?
      • Tell me about your pegadogical techniques and strategies?
      • How has your research informed your teaching? Give me an example.
      • How do you measure your teaching performance?
      • How would you supervise a PhD student?
      • Tell me how you’d design a broad, core UG course in your area?
      • What modules will you offer us at UG and/or PG level?
      • Why would students choose to take your modules?
      • What existing modules in our department would you be able to teach on?
      • Are there any differences between teaching third year Undergraduates and masters students?
      • Can you give me a couple of examples of innovations you have made in your teaching?
      • How important is the use of web-based tools in your teaching?
      Questions from the Applicant

      It’s normal to offer the candidate the opportunity to ask questions of the panel at the end of the interview. Even if you don't have any, it can be viewed as bad form not to ask a question as that can be taken to indicate disinterest. Equally, the wrong question can send out negative signals: even if you are burning to ask about the salary, how many days a week you can spend at home and whether they have nice biscuits in the staff room, try to supress your urge to ask those sorts of questions. Instead, this moment is a good opportunity to indicate aspiration and to signal ambition.

      • I have been doing quite a lot of undergraduate teaching and I am looking for an opportunity to launch a postgraduate module that might involve the use of film/role play/documents/visiting policy-makers etc, would that be possible?
      • I am hoping to undertake an external grant bid to [FUNDER]. Can you tell me a little about the University mechanisms for assisting with the preparation of grant bids?
      • What opportunities for training and career development will I have during this role?
      • How will the University be able to support me in my ambitions for international collaboration?

      Suggestion Box

      If you come across any other example questions which would malke a useful addition to this resource, please add them here:

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