Sample Questions


  1. Tell us about your current work on _______________.
  2. Why did you choose your dissertation topic?
  3. How does your work contribute to the field?
  4. What theoretical framework did you use in developing your research?
  5. How did you conduct the survey? What methods did you use in analyzing the data?
  6. What did you think of _______________'s book on ________________?
  7. If you were to begin it again, are there any changes you would make in your dissertation?
  8. Why didn't you do _______________ in your dissertation?
  9. Of course you know that several members of our department tend to approach this topic very differently than does your advisor.
  10. Tell us about your publication plans.
  11. What are your research plans for the next 5 years (through tenure)?
  12. How do you plan to fund this research?
  13. What equipment (facilities, staffing, etc.) will you need to pursue your research agenda?


  1. How would you teach a required course on __________________?
  2. Your work is very specialized. How do you feel about teaching undergraduates?
  3. What do you see as the main differences between undergraduate and graduate education in this field?
  4. What texts would you offer in a junior seminar on __________________?
  5. How would you structure a course on __________________?
  6. What is your teaching philosophy? How does it influence your approach in the classroom?
  7. What do you think is the proper relationship between classroom instruction and professional exposure?
  8. What do you think is the fairest way to evaluate students? Straight scales? Curves? Exams, or papers?
  9. How do you feel about establishing ongoing relationships with graduate students (undergraduates)? Do you enjoy mentoring and advising?
  10. Many of our students are less talented than the students at York
  11. University. How will you deal with that?
  12. If you could teach any course you wanted, what would it be? How would you teach it? What texts, assignments would you offer?

Participation in School or Department

  1. How do you feel about working at a school in rural __________________?
  2. How do you feel about working with older students, and teaching evening courses?
  3. Why are you interested in our type of school?
  4. Why are you interested in our school?
  5. What kind of service do you expect to do when you arrive?
  6. We have a very close community here, and we foster close relationships with our students. Why do you think you are suited to this kind of environment?

Many of these questions are adapted from Heiberger and Vick, The Academic Job Search Handbook, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992.