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The Interview Questions

The Interview Questions

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The Interview Questions
Carol PrahinskiAssistant Professor of Operations ManagementIvey School of BusinessUniversity of Western OntarioThis is the second of two articles on how to be successful when looking for your first position in academia. The first article was published in Decision Line, 2002, which can be found atwww.decisionsciences.org/Newsletter/index.htm. In the first article, the process of getting a position in academia was outlined. This process includes: preparation, awareness, introduction, the conference interview, the campus interview, theoffer, negotiation, and acceptance. During the interview process, many questions areasked. The purpose of this second article is to list typical questions that are utilized todetermine if the candidate and the institution are ‘right’ for each other.In preparation for the interview, you should give serious consideration in how you wouldanswer these questions. The best advice is for you to be honest in your answers. Youwant an institution that is a good fit for you as you really are. If you have portrayed adifferent person, or if you don’t learn the strengths and weaknesses of your hiringinstitution through your questions to them, disillusionment (for both you and theinterviewers) may set in later when you’ve accepted the position.This article commences with the questions that the interviewers will typically ask you.The second section discusses potentially illegal questions, as defined by the U.S.Government. Regardless of the institution being foreign or domestic, you need to think how you would handle the situation if a personal or uncomfortable question arises duringthe interview. The third section describes questions that you should consider asking your interviewers. You will want to get accurate answers to the questions that most concernyou in making your decision, especially if you have multiple offers.
Questions you may be asked:
Prepare your answers ahead of time and practice your responses aloud. Perhaps youcould ask a colleague to ask you these questions randomly and offer you feedback onyour performance. When answering the questions, be direct and concise, be a goodlistener, pay attention to non-verbal cues, smile, and relax. As preparation for theinterview:1. Recall the history of your choices: How did you become interested (in your field,your institution, your dissertation topic, the institution to where you would like a position)?2. How did you decide on your dissertation focus?3. Review both your knowledge and your ignorance of your dissertation topic.1
 
Research – Dissertation1. Why did you choose your dissertation topic?2. Describe your dissertation research (your research motivation, your researchquestion(s), your model design, your anticipated results, your managerialimplications, etc.) Could you describe your dissertation in three sentences so thatthe average person on the street can understand it?3. If you were to begin again, what changes would you make in your dissertation?4. In doing your research, why did you --? (This question can take many forms. Youare being asked to respond appropriately to an intellectual challenge to your work.)5. What do you love about your dissertation?6. Of course, you’ve read ____. (Names an unfamiliar article/book that supposedlyis related to your dissertation).7. What contribution does your dissertation make to the field?8. Why is this research important to the business manager?9. What stage are you at in your dissertation? Is your proposal approved?10. When will you graduate? [They want to know that you will graduate.]11. What are your plans for submitting articles for publication from your dissertation?Research - Future1. What direction do you expect your research to take in the future? What are your research plans for the next two/five/ten years?2. What are your plans for applying for external funding?3. What facilities do you need to carry out your research plans?4. What do you consider good research? [They want to know about your research philosophy.]Teaching1. What courses do you want to teach? What level of students (MBA, Ph.D.,executive education, honor students, etc.)?2. What has been your prior experience with teaching? What textbook did you use?3. Are you good at teaching?4. Describe a moment in the classroom that you are particularly proud of, and amoment that you are not proud of.5. How do you motivate students?6. How do you feel about teaching X? How would you structure it? What textbook would you use?7. If you were to teach an undergraduate course in Introduction to Y and you couldonly teach three subjects in three weeks, what subjects would they be?8. How would you encourage students to major in our field?9. What is your teaching philosophy?10. Have you had experience in teaching the case study method?11. If you could teach any course, what would it be? How would you structure thecourse?12. What do you think is the optimal balance between teaching and research?13. Have you had any experience with interactive on-line instruction?2
 
 Your interest in the institution:1. Why are you interested in our school?2. What contributions would you make to our department?3. What institutional characteristics particularly interest you?4. How much are you willing to participate on university committees andextracurricular activities?5. In what ways and in what areas do you see yourself making professionalcontributions in the next 5 years?Motivation:1. Is our location going to be a problem for you? [This is a typical question for small town institutions or if you haven’t lived in a certain part of thecountry/world before.]2. What attracted you to our field?3. What attracted you to the institution where you are getting your Ph.D.?4. What kind of salary are you looking for?5. What will it take to persuade you to take this job?6. Why should I hire you?7. (For employed faculty) Why do you want to leave your current position? [Don’tfocus on the problems of your current institution.]8. If you have more than one job offer, how will you decide?9. What schools are interviewing you? [List the ‘best’ schools or those that are mostcompetitive with this school].Self-image:1. Tell us about yourself (Memorize a concise 1- or 2-minute summary of your  background.)2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? (Respond by admitting to a ‘weakness’that is honest but would not be something that would be a major negative attributein performing the job. For example, “my students complain that I grade them toohard on the case assignments. Let me tell you about my teaching philosophy …”)3. What are other special strengths and interest of yours?4. What do you do in your leisure time?
Illegal Questions
:In the United States, there are both state and federal laws that protect individuals from potential discrimination when applying for a job. Employers are forbidden from askingquestions that can lead to discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, nationalorigin, or physical disability. The following questions are examples of questions thatcould be considered illegal since their answers may result in the applicant beingdiscriminated against. In addition, they have little (or nothing) to do with the position.1. Do you plan to have children?2. What is your ethnic background?3

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