Interviewing Successfully for Academic Positions: A Framework for Candidates for Asking Questions during the Interview Process

Anthony J Onwuegbuzie, Eunjin Hwang


Although curriculum vitae, cover letters, and recommendations are essential aspects that
typically determine whether the candidate will be invited for interview, the on-site interview
typically is the final determining factor in the selection process. Hence, during the interview
process, candidates should convey not only academic/professional strengths but also
collegiality in an appropriate manner. Asking appropriate questions during academic interviews
is essential in that it allows applicants to detect what is expected from departments or units
and also provides applicants with valuable information to assess the best fit. However, an
extensive review of the literature revealed no work that discussed explicitly the types of
questions that interview candidates should pose. Thus, the major purpose of this article is to
provide a framework for candidates who seek academic positions for asking questions during
the interview process. In particular, typologies of interview questions are provided.
Additionally, numerous questions are presented that are classified as being related to teaching,
research, and service. Further, these questions are sub-divided into questions for search
committee members, the department chairperson/unit leader, dean, and vice president/provost.
Although the list is by no means exhaustive, it is hoped that it will help candidates view the
academic interview as a two-way process in which both parties assume the joint role of
interviewer and interviewee.

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