See below for sample questions.
#1 RULE: Review the job opportunity announcement to identify key competencies and responsibilities. These should serve as the focus of your answers.
Types of Interviews
Some interviews may be STRUCTURED. These types of interviews include a list of predetermined questions in order to objectively rate each candidate. Structured interviews are often time-limited to only 20-30 minutes; this is especially common with preliminary interviews for positions in higher education involving Skype, video, or phone interviews. Time limits may discourage or even prohibit the interviewing panel/committee from responding to your answers. Don’t let this lack of feedback make you nervous! It is actually to your benefit because these structured interviews allow you to shine in a neutral, objective setting without the discussion getting derailed.
Other interviews may be UNSTRUCTURED. While the panel/committee may have some questions prepared, this type of interview may be more conversational in nature and often takes longer than 30 minutes. Even though unstructured interviews may feel less formal, these should still be treated with the utmost professionalism. You will benefit by being given more time to answer and therefore have the opportunity to include more examples or extended content in your answer. Unstructured interviews can feature more feedback by the panel/committee, including follow-up questions which encourage elaboration on topics of interest you have introduced. These interviews permit enough back-and-forth discussion that the panel/committee can get a better sense of your personality and fit with the culture of the workplace, beyond simply judging your answers for your fit for the position.
CAMPUS VISIT INTERVIEWS are commonly organized for candidates in higher education, conducting, and upper level administration. These include multiple parts and could feature a teaching demonstration or masterclass, research or public presentation, leading a rehearsal, giving a recital, meeting with a dean, provost, or human resources, holding drop-in hours for students and faculty, touring the campus and city, and meals with key members of the search committee.
A Few Rules of Thumb
- The first question may involve simply getting to know you. Don’t let open-ended questions like “Can you tell us about yourself?” come as a surprise. Have a fully formed idea how to respond in a way that includes how your previous experiences or training have led you to desire the job.
- Speak up and state your ideas clearly! If you speak too slowly, too quickly, too quietly, or in a way that is too unfocused, the panel/committee may question your ability to work effectively with others.
- Listen carefully to questions and make a mental note if there are multiple parts requiring a response. For example, “How do you use technology in your teaching and how has that improved student engagement?” really has two separate questions. Successful candidates will give both parts appropriate attention.
- Don’t speak too broadly! Instead, share specific experiences, actions, and beliefs that will allow the panel/committee to imagine you in these scenarios.
- Focus on your strengths and the positive contributions you have made in previous positions. Describe specific examples that demonstrate your skills, efficacy, and expertise.
- If you don’t have previous work experience to speak of, indicate your relevant skills, nearest level of training, and your willingness to learn. It’s also acceptable to speak about volunteer work if you relied on similar skills.
- Don’t speak negatively about previous employers and always avoid casting blame. Focus on positive outcomes and constructive examples.
- Be yourself! Speak genuinely and show your enthusiasm.
- Be prepared with questions for the end of the interview. These should show that you have have thoughtfully considered aspects of the job/organization.
- Send a short but genuine thank you message within 1-2 business days. An email is fine because it will arrive on time.
Sample Music Faculty Interview Questions
Additional Higher Ed Interview Questions (Performance & Teaching)
For further reading, see the Academic Interview Guide.
Guides by Karen Kelsky of The Professor is In: Interview posts, Campus Visits for Newbies, Rules of the Campus Visit, and Skype interview tips
Interview Practice Questions
Interview Strategies that Work: How to Get the Job You Want
Arts Administration Interview Questions
Sample Conducting Interview Questions
Composition Graduate School Questions