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An interview is your opportunity to demonstrate to an employer how you will add value to their organization. It is also your chance to show that you have taken the time and effort to present yourself as professional, organized, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the position/employer.

Many graduate students prepare by doing a practice interview with a career adviser (option of being taped) to improve their skills. In order to sign up for a practice interview, you must first attend an Interviewing Skills program. Go to the "Events" section in HireACane for information on dates/times. Schedule a practice interview by calling the Toppel Career Center at 305-284-5451.

Academic Interview & Tips

I. Tips
  • Research the institution and the department; read the University Catalog and mission statement
  • Know who you will meet- ask for a schedule of your interview prior to the day of the interview
  • Research the individuals you will meet- you may be asked if you are already familiar with some of the faculty and their research
  • Be able to articulate your research and teaching style in detail and in summary
  • Be prepared to describe your research to experts and non-experts (students, faculty, deans)
  • Practice your presentation and anticipate questions you may be asked
  • Take extra copies of your CV, samples of your work, handouts for presentation
  • Pack more than one interview outfit (some interviews take place over two days); wear comfortable shoes- day long interviews could include a campus tour
  • Ask in advance the type of multimedia will be available for your presentation
  • Prepare backup for your presentation if technology fails- ie- save on a disk and in your email, provide handouts
  • Be prepared to discuss your future work
  • Limit alcohol intake during any social event during the interview process; do not drink alcohol if additional interviewing will take place after the event
  • Prepare and ask THOUGHTFUL questions
  • Ask for business cards from those with whom you interviewed to follow up with a thank you letter and with any additional instructions agreed upon at the interview
II. Sample Questions

General Questions
Tell us about yourself.
Why do you want to work here?
How do you stay up to date in your field?
What professional associations are you a part of?
Why should we hire you?
What are your professional goals?
What contributions would you make to our department?

Research Questions
Describe your research. What are you currently working on?
What is your five year plan?
Where does your interest in this area come from?
What are your plans for publishing?
How will you seek funding to support your research?
In what journals do you plan to submit your research?

Teaching Questions
What is your teaching philosophy?
Describe how you would teach an introductory survey course in your discipline (or an advanced seminar)?
What courses would you like to teach or develop?
What are some of your teaching techniques?
How is your research incorporated into your teaching?
How do you structure your courses (or if you have not taught before, how would you structure your course?)

Questions to Ask in an Interview
For each meeting (Deans, Department Chairs, Graduate Students), you should be prepared with thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the position and preparation for the interview.

How often are departmental meetings held?
Who is eligible to vote on departmental decisions?
What kinds of technology are available in the classroom?
What are the department's plans for growth and hiring?
What sorts of programs are available for new faculty (orientation, mentoring,)?
How do graduate students select their advisors?
Where do graduate students go upon completion of their degrees?
What non-teaching expectations are there?
How important is research when it comes to tenure and promotion?

III. Articles of Interest

The Academic Job Interview Revisited

Asking the Right Questions

Phone Interview Tips

Many employers conduct phone interviews as a screening process before they invest more time and money into inviting the candidate for an on-site interview. The challenge of a phone interview is that you have no visual cues from your interviewer(s). The following tips can help you make a strong connection and good impression during a phone interview:
  • Conduct the interview from a land line if possible. Cell phone service is not always reliable. You would not want to risk a "dropped call" during your phone interview.
  • Select a quiet place with no distractions- turn off the TV/radio and let others who may be in the vicinity (roommates, family members) know that you are doing a phone interview.
  • Listening is key during a phone interview. Try and remember the names of individuals who are interviewing you. Write them down at the start and address them individually when possible.
  • Your voice is your only way to show your enthusiasm. Speak slowly, enunciate your words, and be positive and upbeat!
  • Have your CV/resume and notes in front of you with questions you want to ask or information/accomplishments that you want to share.
  • Avoid talking too much- stay focused on the question. If needed, ask for feedback, such as "Have I provided enough information?" or "Was that a sufficient response for you?" or "Was that clear?"
  • Avoid overusing "um", "uh" and "like" in your responses.
  • Don't interrupt or try and talk over someone interviewing you.
  • Do not chew gum or eat during the interview.
  • Conclude the interview by thanking everyone that participated.
  • Send a thank you note to the individual who arranged the phone interview.
Toppel Career Center
Physical Address:
5225 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: 305-284-5451
Fax: 305-284-3668
Mailing Address:
PO Box 249175
Coral Gables, FL 33124-5610