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.
"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."
"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?"
"I certainly would want all of my students to succeed so if they were failing a course, I would meet with them and ask 'What can I do to make this easier for you?'. It's amazing how well a student will open up when they know they are being listened to."
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!
"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."
"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."
"A large part of what I do with my undecided students is to encourage them to approach their network and tap into those supports and resources. I believe that a heavily encouraged and well-supported individual will feel much more comfortable making a decision related to their educational path."
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!
"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."
"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."
"Along with my five years working in this industry, I have worked in related industries my entire career. Also, I hope that my masters' degree gives me a little boost in experience over the required undergraduate degree."
Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on honesty when it comes to your roster of students.
"Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem, and reality isn't always best expressed in full and can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy."
"I do feel that honesty is the best policy so long as the honest comment does not come with the intention of being hurtful."
"Honesty is always the best policy. Often, it is just a matter of how you communicate and deliver your message so managing this with each situation is critical to building honest and trustworthy relationships."
Everyone will have their own particular triggers that cause them to feel dissatisfaction on the job. Talk to the interviewer about any factors that may deflate or discourage you in the workplace.
"I can feel dissatisfaction on the job when I am not feeling heard or when there is not mutual respect among the team members. I work best in more harmonious situations where there is little drama or gossip."
"I have felt dissatisfied on the job when I feel underpaid and overworked. This has been primarily with my pre-university days. I don't mind working hard at all, but I don't like to feel as though I'm being taken advantage of, either."
"I feel dissatisfied when I work hard but constantly hit roadblocks. Obstacles happen, but when you can't get anywhere because there are so many of them, it is frustrating."
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.
"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!"
"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."
"I take my work home with me whenever it is necessary. Some positions I have held, I work from home nearly every day. Other roles, such as my current position, I work from home just a couple of times per month."
Open-ended questions are some of the hardest to answer in an interview. It's important to train yourself how to talk about yourself. It may sound a little silly because you've been talking about yourself for years! In an interview, you should leave out the highly personal stuff. No need to talk about your new puppy or your favorite foods. Keep it professional and concise. Interviews typically last for about thirty minutes to an hour, so keep that in mind as you prepare. Sometimes practicing with a friend or timing your response can help. Focus on your interest or passion for the field, your education, and accomplishments. Keep it relevant to the job at hand! Also, consider the fact that there is plenty of time for you to talk about your skills and strengths during the interview, so you don't have to say it all in one gulp.
"I graduated with a Bachelors of Education with a minor in Psychology from UBC in 2009. Since then, I have been actively making my way to an advisor based role. I am an energetic and positive person, ready to make a difference in a growing organization."
"I am a seasoned academic advisor with ten years of experience. I got my Bachelors degree in Education, then eventually went back for a master's degree. I have worked my way up in my field, and plan to continue my progression."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I would say that pretty much every educational facility I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life help shed different perspectives and identify potential problems faster."
Working well on a team requires you to have solid interpersonal skills and self-awareness. Assure the interviewer that you have strong team-player skills. Briefly tell the interviewer why you see yourself as a team player.
"I truly believe that I am a team player because I cannot accept success without knowing that my team has also been acknowledged for their efforts. Everything that I have achieved in my current role is not only due to my hard work but is also due to the great collaboration of my uber-talented team."
"Some qualities that make you a strong team player: - Having the ability to empathize - Humility - Willingness to highlight the wins of others - Strong listening skills - The ability to encourage others - Willingness to go beyond your job description - Participating in extra-curricular activities - Showing respect to everyone in the workplace - Being proactive on projects - Offering creative solutions - Contributing when it is not expected of you - Displaying self-awareness - Accepting feedback on your performance "
"I see great value in being a team player because you learn so much more vs. working alone. I prefer working as part of a team. It's diverse and engaging."
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.
"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."
"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."
"My written communication skills are solid. I often utilize written communications as a follow up to verbal communications. They provide a great resource for my students to go back to, and reference, plus they might answer any questions that come up along the way."
This question can be difficult because it requires you to know enough about the educational facility to be impressed by what they do, and what they have to offer you, regarding growing your abilities as an academic advisor. Prepare for this question through due diligence! Review the academic facility's website first. You can read reviews of former students and find out about their reputation in the educational space. Sometimes you can even find articles or press releases to give you a brief on their latest accomplishments, innovations or school culture. Pinpoint the highlights. Know the facility's vision so that you can quickly tell them that your values align. Sharing your knowledge on the latest education-related news is a great indicator that you have a vested interest in them and the educational industry.
"I am impressed by your mission, and I love how much of an impact you make on the local community. Winning the community Humanitarian Award in 2016 was a remarkable achievement that stands out to me. In addition to all of this, I want to work here because you offer the growth, development, and continued education opportunities for your employees. I see a long-term fit here, with consistent growth, which is important to me."
"Working with your facility will be the best way for me to kick off my career. I met with a few individuals in this industry while attending university and everyone had the best things to say about your organization. I am thrilled to be here to interview today and hope that we can create a long-term working relationship."
"I have had my eye on your facility for many years now. Because you are a leader in the educational industry, I see that you have minimal turnover and few career openings come up. I am enthusiastic for the opportunity to be here today and hope that you can see a strong fit with my experience."
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.
"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."
"Some characteristics you may want to use are: - Determined/Driven - Accountable - Humble - Respectful - Dependable "
"My work ethic has been well honed over the seven years that I have worked as an academic advisor. If I had to describe my work ethic in just a few words, I would say that I am transparent, always a few steps ahead of expectations, and accountable for my work."
Workplace culture and fit is a significant factor when considering a career move. Assure the interviewer that you have put thought, research, and consideration of how the workplace culture will work for you.
"I have researched your school through your social media channels and on glassdoor.com. Your employees have great things to say, and overall it seems that you have fun while you work. I am looking forward to joining an organization, like yours, that is upbeat and thoughtful with an eye on helping the community at the same time."
"I read many positive reviews online about your organization and this school's culture. You offer great incentives to keep people motivated, and it seems to be the type of fast-paced environment that values innovation and performance. My type of place!"
"Through my years as an academic advisor, I have met a few teachers, faculty, and students from your school. Everyone has had great things to say about your culture. I have heard it is encouraging and supportive, and very diverse. I look forward to learning more about your workplace culture as the interview process continues!"
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.
"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."
"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."
"I find the best way to explain a topic is a multifaceted approach. If possible, I like to send a quick email memo summarizing or teasing what we'll be talking about, so my student comes in with the right mindset. Then, a quick overview in person, check for understanding or questions. Then, I wrap up by clarifying any outstanding issues."
The interviewer would like to know what you consider to be strong leadership qualities. When describing leadership qualities, try to avoid general terms and give some unique ideas. A great leader is someone who people naturally want to follow. They have exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with nearly any personality type. A respected leader will take ownership of their mistakes and will always lead their team by example. True leaders see the importance of motivating others and recognizing even the smallest achievements. Which of these qualities do you most identify with?
"I have taken many workshops and courses to improve my leadership skills over the years. My leadership qualities are best summed as dedicated, attentive, and motivating. I like to recognize my students' small wins because that motivates them to continue achieving."
"To me, a leader is someone who is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, adaptable, and open. A leader wants to nurture others to their fullest potential, and it is something I have enjoyed since childhood. I love to be seen as an example to follow and help guide others to bettering themselves and their careers."
"My leadership qualities are communication, drive and mentoring others. I seek out the best in people, which helps them increase their performance."
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.
"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."
"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."
"My students inspire me! Who better to inspire me to do the best work possible, than the exact individuals that I am trying to help?"
The interviewer is asking what makes you stand out from the crowd! This question is not the time to say that you are organized, and reliable. Boring! You need to dig deep and think of the unique skills that make you an obvious stand-out from other potential applicants
"What makes me unique from your other candidates is that I am a continuous learner, always working to improve my skills. This year alone I have completed four professional development courses, and I plan to attend four more. The more knowledgeable I am in my role as an academic advisor, the more your students will benefit from having me here."
"Some unique qualities could be that you are: - A Continuous Learner - An Imaginative Thinker - An Engaging Speaker - A Strong Motivator - Bilingual "
"What makes me unique is the amount of years' experience I have working in both public and private institutions. I am passionate about professional development as well, having taken two industry-related workshops per year for the past eight years. That additional coursework is outlined in my resume."
The interviewer wants to be assured that you fully understand the scope of this position. If you are not sure of the essential functions of this role, go back to the job posting or job description. These will be clearly outlined in those documents. What do they continually mention in the job posting? Is there a standard theme? Talk about those and be sure to tie in the fact that you are experienced and talented in those exact areas.
"I believe that the three primary functions of an academic advisor are to help students recognize what they need to achieve, give them the tools they need to reach those goals, and help them to look at their post-secondary educational path critically. I see in your job posting that you greatly value those skills as well. I am highly competent in these functions and feel that my Master's Degree in Educational Counseling makes me the best fit for your needs."
"Here are some qualities an academic advisor should possess: - Concern for student success - Coursework and post-secondary knowledge - Ability to retain information - Strong memory - Counseling skills - Ability to build strong rapport, very quickly - Flexible availability - Ability to maintain confidentiality / discreet "
"From my experience, I believe that an academic advisor needs to be a strong source of guidance, be able to offer well-researched advice, and be a strong accountability partner. Are these the qualities you are looking for, from your next academic advisor?"
Interviewers and hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications per job. If you are lucky enough to land an interview, you must make some effort to research the opportunity. You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to be knowledgeable on the school before your interview. Start by searching the school's website and take particular note of any new programs they have implemented. Identify their most popular programs if you can, and look at their competitors to see where this school may stand out.
"I conducted a great deal of research on your programs before coming here today. I was very excited to see that you recently added a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts. I am thrilled to see that you have solid options for Business students as well."
"At this point, I have studied your program offerings for a few hours, so I do feel that my knowledge base is strong. Your offerings have an incredible range. Which of your programs is the most popular?"
"I have been familiar with your school, and it's program for quite some time. In addition to already being very familiar with your educational institution, I have already advised on many similar programs from my six years working at a competitive university. If hired, the time to train me would be minimal."
By understanding why you find this career path rewarding, the interviewer will also be able to know how to keep you motivated on the job. Give a few examples of what you find most rewarding. Try to give unique answers vs. merely saying 'I like talking to people,' for instance.
"There are many rewarding aspects to being an academic advisor. If I have to choose the biggest stand-outs for myself, I would say that I love the fact that every person I meet has a different story to tell. Students these days are so diverse and forward thinking that it keeps me on my toes. Another rewarding aspect for me is all of the continual research and education that I can do. I feel as though I, myself, am constantly learning."
"I believe that the most rewarding aspect of being an academic advisor will be getting the chance to help people carve their career path."
"For me, being a positive influence on my students is the greatest reward. I love to check in with my students, even years down the road, to see what they have been able to accomplish as a result of their well-planned educational path."
The interviewer wants to better understand your level of engagement with the students on your academic roster. Are you more hands off...waiting for the student to come to you? Or, do you take a proactive approach and make a note to connect with your students on a regular basis? Discuss the ways that you ensure your level of engagement with your students is high.
"I understand that most educational facilities recommend that a student connects with their academic advisor at least three times per semester. That's great for the students who are excelling; however, I prefer to have a better pulse on the students who are struggling a bit. This year I started using engagement software with the students on my roster. This software, called 15Five, elevates the engagement of my students by asking questions and starting the right conversations on a bi-weekly basis. The student logs on, they rate how they feel from 1 to 5 and then answer a brief question that I have pre-loaded into the form. If a student is feeling a 2 out of 5, this is an indicator that I need to check in more frequently."
"I believe in very regular progress monitoring with all students. It's important to me that they know I care about their progress and achievements."
"All the time! Maybe they get tired of me always checking in on them, but so far, my active involvement in their lives has shown positive results."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the school's website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their website!
"Yes, I do have a couple of questions. First, could you tell me a little bit about your growth plan for this upcoming school year? Second, what is your timeline for making this hiring decision?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in the education industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
If you can successfully pass a criminal record check and education verification: "Yes, I am happy to comply with any background checks required. My record is clean." If you are not able to successfully pass a criminal record check and education verification, you want to be very upfront about that: "You are welcome to conduct a background check on me. I will disclose upfront that I have a DUI on my record from 2009. This does not affect my ability to travel for work, and I no longer have any restrictions on my drivers' license."
"Yes, I am happy to comply with any background checks required. My record is clean."
"I am willing to take any background check that you require. Rest assured, they will all come back clean."
"I understand fully why you would need to do a full background check. I have taken the liberty of bringing you a copy of my police check. I'm happy to fill out any other paperwork that you require in addition to this."
The interviewer wants to know that you can honestly say your co-workers enjoy collaborating with you. Select a few positive and unique keywords that genuinely define your work ethic.
"I know that my coworkers respect my work ethic. If I had to guess how they perceive me, I think they would say that I am a reliable person, an encouraging teammate, and a strong mentor."
"Some great words to use: - Encouraging - Helpful - Engaged - Positive - Hard-working - Punctual - Reliable"
"My coworkers would describe me as a natural leader with an immense amount of knowledge when it comes to the academic industry. I am seasoned and always willing to pass my knowledge along to others."
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.
"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."
"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."
"Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I am currently making $89,000 per year with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
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.
"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."
"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."
"I have been with my current educational facility for many years, so the majority of problem-solving comes second nature to me at this point. However, when I first started this job, I would have to spend more time in careful consideration before jumping in. I would say that when I have a problem, I have a healthy balance of the two."
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.
"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."
"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 "
"I encourage my students to tap into the best parts of themselves. It helps to ask probing questions to get them to generate ideas on their own. I have found that by painting a long-term vision for their future, my students will often jump in with creative solutions to get us there."
An Academic Advisor has a crucial role in the development of college students. Many college students will switch majors multiple times throughout their college careers. An academic advisor helps focus a college student's academic choice into one target. Potentially, saving them many semesters or quarters.
Academic advisors need to have a strong passion for education and helping students succeed. College is a very overwhelming experience for most students. An advisor can play a tremendous part in settling the nerves of a college student by having them focus and give them confidence on their major. They will have to work together and understand each student well to give them valuable advice on which major to pursue. If the student's major is known, then it is up to the advisor to make sure the student is taking the necessary classes to complete their major within the standard four years.
The interview process for an academic advisor will be challenging. You will have to describe your passion for helping students. You will also need to have a strong educational background and a good understanding of the university. Be able to recite a few examples of when you helped a student before. If you have never had student interaction, then become a tutor! Do anything where you can be involved with helping a student in a leadership or advisory role. Get some experience before your interview.