When preparing for an interview, it helps to anticipate what questions are likely to be asked. Here is a list of actual questions asked of research scientists at academic job interviews:

  • When have you needed a high level of written or oral communication skills to achieve a specific outcome?
  • Describe for us an example of your teaching that you considered successful.
  • How have or would you go about attracting higher degree research students to work with you at [School name] – and funding to support their research?
  • Please summarize your key research findings to date and where you think they will now lead you as an independent researcher over the next 3-5 years.
  • How do you perceive the relative importance of teaching, research and administration in an academic post, and how do you feel that this might change through the course of your career?
  • What professional and/or community activity are you most proud of? Tell us about your research, (take just a few minutes).
  • What do you think was your most important finding.  Why?
  • Where do you see your research program going in the next 5 years?
  • How do you envision your role in the [Group]?  What kinds of synergistic opportunities do you foresee?
  • What do you see as funding sources and strategies?
  • What are your equipment and set-up needs?  The Department Head requests that you have an itemized budget for set-up funds.  Any large equipment needed outside of your lab?
  • What about space requirements?
  • Any specific research arrangements that need to be made (e.g. field season; animals).
  • How do you see yourself complementing current faculty in the department or in the local area? 
  • Do you have experience supervising graduate and/or undergraduate students?
  • Have you involved undergraduate or graduate students in your research?
  • What is your philosophy toward mentoring students, both graduate and undergraduate?  Do you have an idea of an ideal sized research group?
  • What courses would you prefer (or would you be able) to teach?
  • How do you feel your teaching style can serve our student population?
  • How do you feel about team teaching?
  • Would you need specialized equipment or facilities for teaching labs?

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