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Academic Advisor Interview
Questions

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.
Job Interviews     Careers     Education    
Question 1 of 32
What did you think of your academic advisor when you were an undergraduate student?
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How to Answer
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.
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1.
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."
2.
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 #1
"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 #2
"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."
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 #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."

4.
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."
5.
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 #1
"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 #2
"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."
6.
Why do you want to work as an academic advisor?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
7.
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 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 #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?"
8.
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."
9.
Do you consider yourself a team player? Why?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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"
10.
Tell me about your leadership qualities and how those help you with leading your students.
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?

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
11.
How familiar are you with the undergrad and graduate programs at our school?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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?"
12.
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 #1
"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 #2
"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"
13.
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."
14.
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."
15.
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."
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32 Academic Advisor Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. What did you think of your academic advisor when you were an undergraduate student?
  2. How do you handle stress on the job?
  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?
  4. What causes you to feel dissatisfied on the job?
  5. As an academic advisor, understanding sources of inspiration is important. Who has inspired you in your life and why?
  6. Why do you want to work as an academic advisor?
  7. What are your favorite resources for helping students discover potential career choices?
  8. As an academic advisor you will often be privy to sensitive situations. Do you think honesty is always the best policy?
  9. Do you consider yourself a team player? Why?
  10. Tell me about your leadership qualities and how those help you with leading your students.
  11. How familiar are you with the undergrad and graduate programs at our school?
  12. How do you like to encourage ideas in others?
  13. When given your advisory roster, how much of each student's background do you like to learn?
  14. Walk me through your approach with students who are undecided on their major.
  15. Under what circumstance would you suggest a student change majors?
  16. What would you do if a student on your academic roster was failing a course?
  17. What is your current salary?
  18. How often do you take work home with you?
  19. Tell me about yourself.
  20. When have you worked among a diverse group of people?
  21. Presenting accurate reports and documentation is an important part of being an academic advisor. How would you describe your written communication skills?
  22. How would you describe your work ethic?
  23. What do you know about the culture at our school?
  24. How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?
  25. 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?
  26. If asked, how do you believe your coworkers would describe you?
  27. 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?
  28. What questions do you have for me?
  29. How often do you monitor the progress of the students on your academic roster?
  30. What do you find most rewarding about being an academic advisor?
  31. In your opinion, what are the top 3 functions of an academic advisor?
  32. What unique qualities can you bring to our school?
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