Academic Interview Questions Australia

This article will list the most common academic interview questions for lecturer positions and suggest a possible answer to them. The examples of good answers are not the only options. There are, of course, many other ways of successfully answering these questions. These are suggestions to get you to think constructively about what you could say.

Tell me about a lesson that didn’t go well and what you did about it

This teaching interview question is again utilised by school leaders to get a grasp on how you learn from your mistakes and respond to pressurised situations. The lesson you describe doesn’t have to be massively detrimental, but ensure you acknowledge what went wrong and how you rectified it. It might be that you noticed your lesson wasn’t going to plan part way through so then took the steps to get it back on track. Or perhaps you decided to forgo your original lesson plan as it wasn’t working and replace it with a different task.

Here the panel is trying to find out your views on issues and to assess how you might fit in with the culture of the department or section. This type of question is asked less frequently than other types of questions. People tend to give the kind of answer they think the panel wants to hear.

Often you can make up an answer to a hypothetical question without having had experience of the situation youve been asked about. Try to avoid giving text book answers (e.g. Id establish priorities and remain calm). Endeavour to give the panel a picture of how you operate under similar circumstances, if possible giving an actual example of how you dealt with a similar situation.

This isnt a trick question, and the best response isnt necessarily just to say yes, without hesitation. There are innumerable factors that could have a bearing on what you might say, not least the vexed issue of waiting to hear back about other applications. But lets not assume that being honest is always a bad thing. The crucial point is that, before you get in the room, you should take time to think through whether you would accept the job, and to discuss it with peers and mentors.

Too many candidates talk about prospective teaching as if its value were entirely self-evident, or they simply lean on the intrinsic intellectual interest of the topic. Instead, think in terms of outcomes and learning objectives, because evaluation is integral to good teaching. What will the students get out of the course? What work will you set, and how will it be assessed? What skills will they acquire? How will it complement the rest of their studies?

Lots of people tackle this question by naming the job title which they hope to have attained, for example: “10 years from now, I want to be a professor.” This is OK (provided you can explain how you intend to get there), but its awfully predictable. Think about achievements rather than status. This question also gives you an opportunity to show that you have a vision for where your field is going. Whats the next big question that, in a decades time, you expect to be working on, or even to have solved?

This post is a companion to my last piece about preparing for an academic interview. Ive trawled the archives to pick out common yet tricky questions, and I offer some ideas for how to handle them.

Try not to interpret this sort of question as an attack. Fundamentally, interviewers want you to address their concerns. You work on gibbons – I work on gorillas, so how is your work relevant to mine? You study Shakespeare – I study Marlowe, so what can I learn from you?

Standard academic interview questions and how to answer them

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