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Academic Advisor Interview
Questions

32 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 32

Presenting accurate reports and documentation is an important part of being an academic advisor. How would you describe your written communication skills?

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Academic Advisor Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Presenting accurate reports and documentation is an important part of being an academic advisor. How would you describe your written communication skills?

      Being a clear communicator, in written form, is an essential skill to master. Have you taken any courses in communication and writing? Are you confident in your written communication skills? Talk to the interviewer about your written communication abilities and support your answer with a brief example or story.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I would describe my written communication skills as above average and would rate myself as a 9/10. I have always had a penchant for writing and have taken university courses related to communication, writing, and journalism. I fully understand the importance of accurate reporting and clear documentation."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have strong written communication skills. I spent a lot of time writing papers during my time in post-secondary, and am confident in my ability to communicate my thoughts clearly, on paper."

      View answer examples for this question >

  2. 2.

    What would you do if a student on your academic roster was failing a course?

      The interviewer would like further insight into your style when it comes to giving advice and helping any failing students on your academic roster. Give a brief overview of what you would do to help a student who was struggling.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that when a student is failing, there are usually some underlying issues that need to be dealt with. I will collaborate with that student and the professor of the course to create an action plan for success. I will also openly ask the student what they need from me to feel supported."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I were to have a student who was failing a course, I would want to take a more personal approach by sitting down with the student to find out what the source of their struggle is. I am always eager to learn. What is your most preferred method when helping a struggling student?"

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I would meet with them and ask what I can do for them. Tell them the resource the college offer for helping the students."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a good start! If you have encountered this situation with a student in the past, be sure to give a brief story/example.

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I would ask the student what I could do to help. I want to provide a holistic approach to helping students. If the problem involved dealing with mental health or general, personal issues, I would encourage them to meet with a personal counselor at school. If they were having a difficult time understanding the coursework, I would encourage them to utilize the tutoring services. If it was a financial issue, such as a risk of losing their homes, needing childcare, or perhaps a different job, I would refer them to our Resource Center and our Career Services Center. In my current position, I help students with their job search. More often than not, when a student and I meet, we aren't just talking about the type of jobs they're seeking; instead, we talk about their life. I meet students who perhaps were let go and are experiencing some sort of financial crisis or student parents who are pursuing a degree in hopes of a better job to support their children, many of which I would refer to our Resource Center."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Terrific response! Your answer shows that you have a solid understanding that each student is unique, and they face a variety of challenges and struggles. Your empathy shines through, as does your knowledge of the many resources available for assistance.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  3. 3.

    We are asking for 8 years of experience in an academic environment and you have just 5. Why do you think you are qualified for this position?

      To many employers, the number of years' experience is flexible - so long as you have the results to show for the years that you do have. Talk to the interviewer about your major career successes. This is the time to sell yourself. Make no apologies for your lack of years!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although I have five years' experience vs. eight years' experience I can do this job well. In my previous role, I was outperforming colleagues who had 12 years of experience. To me, it's all about drive and ability to be a quick study. I have all of these qualities and more."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I may not have the desired years' experience; however, my experience does match all of your must-have's for this role. In addition to this, I have an elevated degree which accounts for a lot. I am confident in my ability to do this job very well."

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  4. 4.

    When have you worked among a diverse group of people?

      As an academic advisor, you are likely accustomed to working with a very large or diverse student body. Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role, I work alongside a huge group of individuals who represent much diversity. Together, we manage our business and effectiveness very well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have worked with diverse groups of people during my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity."

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  5. 5.

    Under what circumstance would you suggest a student change majors?

      The interviewer wants to know that you fully understand the gravity of a decision like changing majors. They want to see that you can guide their students wisely. If you can, give an example of a time when you suggested a student change majors.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Changing majors can be serious business, especially if the student is at risk of losing out financially due to the decision. I would suggest a student change majors once they have found themselves completely disengaged and uninterested in the program. I would also only suggest a change once the student is very clear on the alternate major they would like to take."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The situation would have to be very severe before I would recommend changing majors. That isn't a small decision. It can be costly and time-consuming. I would only recommend changing majors if the student was highly unhappy and on the verge of dropping out altogether."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "Changing courses is an important decision which ought to be made after careful consideration. The student’s reasons for changing their course should be carefully discussed. Exploring alternatives to their decision should also help support students with regards to arriving at a final decision. After engaging in all the above, if students are still considering changing degree courses, their academic tutors must be consulted."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Solid answer. You show great care and professionalism when it comes to your approach.

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  6. 6.

    How do you handle stress on the job?

      Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to contain pressure in the workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am accustomed to high-stress level from my post-secondary studies and am well prepared to handle stress in the workplace as well. At times of peak stress, I ensure that I am eating well, and getting enough rest. It's simple but makes all the difference."

      View answer examples for this question >

      Anonymous Answer

      "I handle stress well on the job. Whenever I am under pressure or stress I commit to a personal deadline and a to-do list to help accomplish the important things I need to do in a given day. I embrace the stress and carry on with a positive attitude. I give myself reminders to drink water and eat my lunch because I know how easy it is to forget about self-care. Self-care and positive affirmation are important to me, especially when dealing with stress."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Self-care and positive affirmations are incredibly important factors for stress-management. Well said - this is a full and informative response.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  7. 7.

    How do you like to encourage ideas in others?

      Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members or students.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas to the organization or faculty, no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of our most successful students are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas. I encourage participation through an open door policy and strong praise for those who show initiative."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others:

      - Get to know them and what they like to work on
      - Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas
      - Publicly praise their efforts
      - If they are doing a great job, offer them more related opportunities
      - If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas
      - Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis
      - Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it"

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  8. 8.

    How often do you take work home with you?

      The majority of the world's workforce will work overtime hours or take work home with them on occasion. Talk to the interviewer about how frequently you take your work home.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I make sure to utilize my work hours very efficiently, so the only time that I take my work home is when there is an extremely stringent deadline. I would say that, overall, I take my work home maybe twice per month. It's all about being diligent with your time in the office!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I try not to take my work home with me. Everyone needs downtime. However, if something needs to get done, I will get it done, even from home."

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  9. 9.

    When faced with a problem, are you more likely to jump into solving it, or are you the type to carefully assess the issue first?

      The interviewer would like to know more about your problem-solving skills, and your personality. Discuss how you tackle problems when they arise, and keep your answer work-related if you can. Whether you are the type to jump right into solving a problem or you are more methodical in your approach, highlight to the interviewer that you are capable of handling issues professionally while using sound judgment.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When faced with a problem, I am more likely to jump right into solving it. I believe that you cannot leave a problem to fester or it will become bigger than it already is. You have to take ownership of the issue, and involve yourself in the resolution right away. With that said, I am responsible for my decision making and certainly don't jump in blind. If I am unsure of what action to take, I will ask my leader for advice."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "That depends on the situation and seriousness of the problem. I will not jump in with rash decisions on a problem that has a major impact on our students or the business."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "It depends on the problem. Some problems are clear-cut and there is a quick solution. For example, I could quickly help a student who came to me asking for help finding a specific campus resource. Other problems require more detail and information, especially when it involves another party. In this example, I would need to carefully assess the issue."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You make an important distinction, and the examples that you provide are great! If you have a specific methodology for assessing issues when problem-solving, this question may be a good opportunity to discuss your approach.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  10. 10.

    What are your favorite resources for helping students discover potential career choices?

      The interviewer would like to know what types of resources you prefer to utilize when advising your students on their potential career choices. Give two strong examples if you can. This will show that you are well-rounded and able to offer variety to your students. At the end of your answer, be sure to ask the interviewer if they have any recommendations or favorites as well. This can strike up a friendly and informative conversation.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I like to take a well-rounded and modern approach when it comes to the resources I offer my students. These days, if it isn't online or available on a device, they simply don't follow through on the resource. For this reason, my top 2 resources are Gladeox.org where students can take an online career quiz as well as utilize other resources for career discovery. The second resource I frequently use is 16personalities.com. It's a fun, interactive, and incredibly focused personality quiz which gives career suggestions based on your core characteristics. Do you have other resources that you prefer to use?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "While completing my masters' degree, I learned of a few fantastic resources for helping students discover new career choices. A few of the most memorable ones were an exploratory quiz as well as an academic success plan template. Which are the favorite resources used at your educational facility?"

      View answer examples for this question >

      Anonymous Answer

      "There are a couple of resources that I use frequently with the students My Career Shines and focus2 which are software the college offers and are very effective. There are other options online that are very good like for instance, 16personalities.com or Gladeox.org."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Excellent! These are fantastic resources, and your answer highlights the fact that you are in-the-know of resources available in your industry.

      "Two resources I frequently use, including 'MyCareerShines' and 'Focus2 Career', which are very powerful software options the college offers. There are other options online that are very good, for instance, 16personalities.com or Gladeox.org."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "Students enjoy using some of the online resources I offer them during sessions. These include personality tests on websites such as icould, Prospects, and the National Careers Development website. With London Met students, Prospects would be useful in helping navigate through career paths and job profiles. And GradTouch could be beneficial for students to search for industry placements and internships."

      Rachelle's Answer

      These are great resources to use! Your answer is full of helpful detail that will show the interviewer your depth of knowledge regarding tools and resources available today.

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  11. 11.

    As an academic advisor, understanding sources of inspiration is important. Who has inspired you in your life and why?

      The interviewer would like to know who in your life inspires you. Your life's inspiration can come from a book, a mentor, your family, a celebrity, author - literally anyone! Talk to the interviewer about who has inspired your life and why.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I find inspiration in a variety of people and things. I would have to say that the person who has most greatly inspired me has been my grandmother. She always had a smile on her face no matter how hard she worked and she loved everyone. She was well respected and always gave more than she received. I try to live like her as much as I can."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My previous sociology professor was a huge inspiration to me. Her passion for education was motivating and put the fire in me to graduate with top marks."

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  12. 12.

    Walk me through your approach with students who are undecided on their major.

      This behavioral style question will help the interviewer to understand your coaching and counseling style better. Take the interviewer through your process for assisting students who need clear direction. Use a real-life example if you have one!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I refer to my undecided students as 'open to exploring' so that they do not feel the guilt associated with being in a rut, or being undecided. I will take these open students through a cycle of exercises including a written exercise that walks them through their interests, life expectations, and how they view themselves. I will also set up opportunities for them to job shadow in a variety of careers that interest them."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I were to come across a student who was undecided on their major I would start by figuring out what they do not like, and also administer a personality test if that was a resource available to me. From there, I would encourage a student to job shadow a few family members or friends with interesting careers. There are many ways to help spark a new interest in an undecided student."

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      Anonymous Answer

      "First, I would try the student to understand that it is perfectly fine to be undecided; it is a very important decision, so it is normal to feel a little lost. I'll suggest them to speak with professionals in different fields, I'll recommend completing some of the career exploration assessment the college offer to the students, it would help them narrow down the career available and explore new ones that they never consider."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's wonderful that you show a lot of empathy for those in this situation. I have provided a slight revision to help with the flow.

      "First, I would try to help the student to understand that it is perfectly fine to be undecided. A persons' educational path is a critical decision, so it is normal to feel a little lost at first. I would suggest they speak with professionals in different fields. I would also recommend completing some of the career exploration assessments the college offers. These exploration exercises would help them narrow down the careers available to them and explore new careers that they may have never considered."

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
      Anonymous Answer

      "I start by helping these students explore their interests and personality traits. We then discuss how these could be matched to specific careers and what subject or course could be used to reach these career goals. At the university level, I believe students could benefit from completing a few job shadowing placements to understand their interests and abilities."

      Rachelle's Answer

      These are all excellent suggestions and approaches! Do you use any particular resources or tools when you are making this discovery with the students?

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  13. 13.

    How would you describe your work ethic?

      When the interviewer asks about your work ethic, they are looking for specific examples or keywords they can relate to. When you read the job posting or job description, do they refer to particular ethics or values? Talk about their values and how those align well with your work values.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am a very dedicated and loyal employee. I saw on your website that you describe your school's culture as honest, transparent and you go the extra mile for your students. My work ethic is the same. I am honest, flexible, and come ready to work hard for my students every day."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Some characteristics you may want to use are:

      - Determined/Driven
      - Accountable
      - Humble
      - Respectful
      - Dependable"

      View answer examples for this question >

  14. 14.

    What is your current salary?

      A potential employer will often base their offer on your current salary. You should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am currently earning a base salary of $78,000 plus full health benefits. I am looking for a competitive salary in my next position."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As I am a recent graduate, I would like to be offered a fair salary that reflects my recent education. I am most concerned with joining an organization that will help me to grow my career as an academic advisor. Compensation is not my primary driver."

      View answer examples for this question >

  15. 15.

    How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?

      The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of explaining complex ideas without being condescending to your co-workers or talking over their heads. Give the interviewer an example of how you break down information to make it more easily digestible for the average person.

      Think of a presentation about a complex topic, as a proposal to solve a challenging problem. The solution may seem obvious to you, but everyone else in the room is scratching their heads trying to figure out what you're talking about. When you can define key terms and phrases to make them more relevant to your audience, you have skill! Not everyone can do this.

      Prepare an example that demonstrates your communication skills and your ability to convey complex information in easy to understand terms.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I find that when there is a complicated concept to teach, visual aids are always the way to go. Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners and that presentations with visual components are 43% more persuasive? I took a course on creating effective info-graphics and will often implement those in my presentations."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I try to use written and verbal examples. If possible, I like to have hands-on examples, but that is not always feasible. Communicating in more than one way helps those with different learning styles."

      View answer examples for this question >

  16. 16.

    Do you consider yourself a team player? Why?

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  17. 17.

    Tell me about yourself.

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  18. 18.

    As an academic advisor you will often be privy to sensitive situations. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?

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  19. 19.

    What causes you to feel dissatisfied on the job?

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  20. 20.

    Tell me about your leadership qualities and how those help you with leading your students.

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  21. 21.

    Why do you want to work as an academic advisor?

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  22. 22.

    What did you think of your academic advisor when you were an undergraduate student?

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  23. 23.

    What unique qualities can you bring to our school?

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  24. 24.

    In your opinion, what are the top 3 functions of an academic advisor?

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  25. 25.

    When given your advisory roster, how much of each student's background do you like to learn?

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  26. 26.

    What do you find most rewarding about being an academic advisor?

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  27. 27.

    How often do you monitor the progress of the students on your academic roster?

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  28. 28.

    What questions do you have for me?

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  29. 29.

    If asked, how do you believe your coworkers would describe you?

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  30. 30.

    How familiar are you with the undergrad and graduate programs at our school?

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  31. 31.

    What do you know about the culture at our school?

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  32. 32.

    All of our candidates must pass a criminal record check and education verification. Is there any reason why you would not be comfortable with this?

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