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Academic Advisor Interview

32 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated July 27th, 2018 | 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
Walk me through your approach with students who are undecided on their major.
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How to Answer
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!
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Top 30 Academic Advisor Interview Questions with Full Content
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 #1
"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 #2
"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."
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 #1
"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 where students can take an online career quiz as well as utilize other resources for career discovery. The second resource I frequently use is 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 #2
"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?"
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 #1
"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 #2
"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."
When given your advisory roster, how much of each student's background do you like to learn?
The correct answer to this question will always be 'as much as possible!'. The interviewer wants to see that you are engaged with your students and that you have the natural desire to get to know them better. The more you know, the better you can assist!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The more I know about each student on my roster, the more targeted I can be with my coaching and recommendations. I truly do take the time to get to know each student on my roster. I want to know as much as I can!"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I will be eager to get to know as much about my students as possible. I feel that this will only make my job easier, and make their experience much better as well."
What did you think of your academic advisor when you were an undergraduate student?
The interviewer is wondering if perhaps you were influenced by the career path of academic advisor by a positive, or even negative, experience of your own. Hopefully positive! This question is not an invitation to complain about your experience or speak negatively about anyone. Keep your answer brief and positive.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"When I was an undergraduate student, my academic advisor was well received and quite helpful. The resources she offered were strong. I knew my direction right from the start which meant that I didn't need to rely too heavily on her but, overall, I had a great example."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Great question! I had an awesome relationship with my academic advisor, and she helped me immensely. Her influence is a big part of why I am pursuing a career as an academic advisor, today."
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 #1
"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 #2
"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?"
What causes you to feel dissatisfied on the job?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
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 #1
"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 #2
"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."
As an academic advisor you will often be privy to sensitive situations. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?
Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on honesty when it comes to your roster of students.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I do feel that honesty is the best policy so long as the honest comment does not come with the intention of being hurtful."
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 #1
"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 #2
"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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