Sample Interview Questions

During your interview, you will be asked questions, and you are expected to ask intelligent questions. Here are some examples to help you:

Typical Questions They Will Ask You

1.What is the first experiment you will do?
2.What equipment will you need for your research?
3.What sources of funding will you apply to?
4.How will you distinguish yourself from your previous supervisors?
5.Who in the world would be your biggest competition?
6.Is there anyone else in Canada doing related research?
7.How large of a research group do you want to have?
8.Where do you see your research program in five years?
9.Where else are you interviewing?
10.Who will write the papers in your group?
11.Do you have any hobbies?
12.What if that doesn’t work?
13.What if your student does the reaction and brings you a flask of black sludge? What will you recommend?
14.How does this relate to so–and–so’s work?
15.Who do you see yourself collaborating with in our department? Other departments?
16.Where will you publish your work?
17.What is your biggest weakness?
Expect many specific questions about your proposal.

Questions You Could Ask During Lunch With Graduate Students

1.Why did you choose to come here?
2.What are the facilities like?
3.How do you find the research environment?
4.What are the courses like?
5.Are most students happy?
6.Do the students have a department organization?
7.Are there many activities for graduate students, or for faculty and graduate students?
8.How are the undergraduates?
9.How often do you teach? Lectures or labs?
10.Do you live on-campus or off-campus? Which areas are good to live in?
11.How hard do most students work?
12.What do you expect from your supervisor?
13.What is the employment outlook for graduates from this department?

Questions You Could Ask During One–on–one Interviews with Faculty

1.What facilities are available?
2.How does the NMR booking procedure work here?
3.How much does instrument time cost?
4.How many classes do graduate students take?
5.Where do most graduate students come from?
6.How would you rate the quality of the graduate students you get?
7.Have you had any difficulties attracting graduate students or post-docs?
8.How much does a graduate student cost? Do you have to pay their tuition?
9.What would you say were the biggest hurdles you encountered starting up?
10.How do you like living here?
11.How is the library?
12.Do you have a lot of electronic resources?
13.How is the teaching load?
14.Is collaborative work encouraged or discouraged?
15.How many committees do new faculty serve on?
16.Where is a good area to live?
17.How do the faculty get along with one another?
18.Is there a mentorship program?
19.Does the Head do a good job of supporting young faculty?
20.How has this department changed lately?
21.What are the strengths of this department? Weaknesses?
22.How are graduate students assigned to research directors?

Questions You Could Ask the Chair

1.How does the tenure review process work here?
2.What is a typical teaching load?
3.How are salary increases determined?
4.What committees could I expect to serve on in my first year?
5.Where will my space be located?
6.Where is the nearest synchrotron? (And other questions relating to equipment you will need.)
7.What is the rate of tenure in the department?
8.How many people is the department planning to hire this year?
9.What is the pension plan like, fixed or tied to the market?
10.Are there any additional benefits provided to new faculty?
11.Are there plans to renovate or build new space?
12.Do I get paid for nine months or a full year?
13.How good is the department at nominating faculty for awards?
14.Do start-up funds expire?