Resource Guide for Recruiting Excellent and Diverse Faculty

Appendix 4: Sample Interview Questions


First, are there any questions we can answer for you?

About the candidate as a person:

  • What are your long-term career objectives?
  • How would you describe yourself as a person?
  • What do you consider your greatest achievement to be? Why?
  • What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What do you look for in an organization or college?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What kind of reference would your current (previous) employer give you?
  • Describe your leadership abilities.
  • What is your greatest failure? Why?
  • What character traits do you value most in others?

About the candidate’s background:

  • What functions or tasks in your last position didn’t you like? Why?
  • Which functions and tasks do you enjoy most? Why?
  • How do you feel about your career progress to date?
  • What are some areas in which your current (or most recent) supervisor thinks you could improve?
  • What have you accomplished in your present (or most recent) position?
  • Why are you changing positions?
  • What has been your previous experience in mentoring?

About the candidate and your college:

  • What interests you about this position/this college/this department?
  • What are your concerns about this position/this college/this department?
  • What contributions can you make to our college/department?
  • Why should I hire you (vs. other candidates)?
  • The university is committed to building a culturally diverse environment. How would you further this goal?
  • How have multicultural issues influenced and/or been a part of your teaching, research and/or outreach?

About the candidate’s supervisory or management skills (if applicable):

  • What are your budget responsibilities?
  • How would your staff describe you as a supervisor?
  • Have you discharged anyone? How did you handle the situation?
  • What is your supervisory style?
  • What is your most difficult supervisory responsibility? Why?


  • What is your basic teaching philosophy?
  • Provide a general overview of your teaching experience. What courses have you taught?
  • What courses would you like to teach?
  • Provide specific examples of past challenges you encountered in teaching undergraduates.
  • Have you participated in any teaching preparatory program (e.g., Preparing Future Faculty)? If so, describe your experience.
  • How do you address different learning styles? Different cultural backgrounds in teaching?


  • Describe your research.
  • What would graduate students learn in your laboratory? What kinds of experiments/methods would they perform?
  • Where do you see your research in five years?
  • What are your most promising sources of funding?
  • How do collaborations influence the future directions of your research?
  • Who might you collaborate with here on campus? Would you have other collaborators outside the university?
  • Tell us how your research has influenced your teaching.
  • In what ways have you been able to bring the insights of your research to your courses?
  • What is the status of any manuscripts or grant proposals in progress?
  • For senior candidates: How many students have you graduated from your lab? What is the status of your current students?
  • What are your space and equipment requirements?

Professional Practice/Outreach:

  • Describe your experience in professional practice or outreach.
  • Who do you consider your clientele or stakeholders?
  • How does professional practice/outreach integrate with/influence your teaching and or research?