Employers - universities, schools, administrative departments, indidivual offices - interview because they have a problem—they have an open position and work is either not being done or someone is being overloaded to do it. Your goal in the interview is to convince the interviewer that you are the solution to that problem. The interview is your opportunity to call attention to how your experiences, education and accomplishments relate to the requirements of the open position.
1. Employers will collect resumes, cover letters and possibly other
application materials
2. Application materials are reviewed
3. Candidates are selected for an interview
4. The official interview is conducted (phone, Skype, in person)

You can often anticipate many of the interview questions and/or themes of questioning you will encounter in your interview by reflecting on the following details before your interview:
• Know yourself: your skills, interests, values, and what you can contribute to the organization
• Know the organization: products/services, key people, structure, target markets, mission and goals
• Know the position for which you are interviewing: job requirements, duties/responsibilities, needed skills
• Practice, Practice, Practice!

• Tell me about yourself (Experience, Education, Background, etc....)
• What interests you in this position and our institution?
• Tell me about a time when you developed a program from the beginning - what did you learn? what went well? what did you learn in the process?
• Tell me about your experience working wiht college students - both one-on-one and in groups.
• Tell me about your philosophy of ____________ (student development, career advising, residence hall education : fill in the appropriate functional area here).

A NOTE ABOUT ILLEGAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (for candidates and interviewers alike!)
Unless directly related to the job requirements, it is illegal to ask about:

  • Race  • Sex  • Religion  • National origin   • Birthplace  
  • Age   • Disability   • Marital/family status
Following are some examples of illegal questions and their legal counterparts:
National Origin/
Are you a U.S. Citizen?

Where were you/your parents born?

What is your native tongue?

Are you authorized to work in the United States?

What languages do you read, speak, or write fluently? (This question is okay, as long as this ability is relevant to the performance of the job.)

Age How old are you?

When is your birthdate?

When did you graduate from high school?

Are you over the age of 18?
Marital/Family Status





What's your marital status?

With whom do you live?

Do you plan to have a family? When?

How many kids do you have?

What are your child care arrangements?

Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?

Travel is an important part of the job. Would you be able and willing to travel as needed by the job? (This question is okay, as long as all applicants for the job are asked it.)

This job requires overtime occasionally. Would you be willing and able to work overtime as necessary? (Again, as long as all applicants for the job are asked it.)

Affiliations What clubs or social organizations do you belong to? List any professional or trade groups or other organizations that you belong to that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job.
Personal How tall are you?

How much do you weigh?

Are you able to lift a 50-pound weight and carry it 100 yards, as this is part of the job? (Questions about height and weight are not acceptable unless minimum standards are essential to the safe performance of the job.)
Disabilities Do you have any disabilities?

Please complete the following medical history.

Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?  If yes, list and give dates.

What was the date of your last physical exam?

How's your family health?

When did you lose your eyesight?  How?

Do you need an accomodation to perform the job? (Can be asked only after a job offer is made)

Based on the job description, are you able to perform the essential functions of this job?

Can you demonstrate how you would perform the following job-related functions?

Are you willing to complete a medical exam after we've made you a job offer? (The results of the exam must be kept strictly confidential, except medical/safety personnel may be informed if emergency medical treatment is required, and supervisors/managers may be informed about necessary accommodations to the job, based on the results of the exam.)

Do you understand that any offer of employment is conditional based on the results of a medical exam?

Arrest Record Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of  _______? (The crime named should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question.)
Military If you've been in the military, were you honorably discharged? In what branch of the Armed Forces did you serve?

What type of training or education did you receive in the military?