We all have weaknesses of some sort and that is absolutely okay to admit. Talk to the interviewer about what you feel your greatest weakness is and be sure to discuss what you are currently doing, or willing to do, to improve. Be sure to avoid an answer that would be crucial to your success in this role (IE: I want to be an RA but I have a fear of people).
"I feel that my greatest weakness is that sometimes I can be a bit too blunt when it comes to truth-telling. Many of my peers appreciate it but some do not. I am working on my ability to add sensitivity to my delivery when I speak and so far, so good!"
Assure the interviewer that you have a keen interest in this role and discuss what initially attracted you to this particular job posting.
"I would like to be an RA because it will help me to exercise my social, counseling, and mediation skills on a daily basis. This position immediately appealed to me not only because I love this school but because I truly care about the student body."
What steps have you taken in your time as an RA to ensure that your opinion is heard, and respected? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to command the respect of your supervisors, peers, and residents.
"I do feel that others respect and listen to me; primarily because I do not demand respect. I earn it. I am a kind and empathetic person who leads by example. People trust me and they like me."
No establishment is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Discuss with the interviewer any ideas that you have had when it comes to improving campus life. Be sure to avoid complaining. Make this discussion a constructive one.
"One area of improvement that I would love to focus on, should I be chosen as an RA, would be the amount of community related volunteer work our students do. Although there has been significant improvement over the past 3 years, I still see opportunities for us to be better."
Show that you are prepared for the interview by having an immediate answer. The only wrong answer here is simply, "I don't know." In most interviews, you will get one or two personal questions to see how you present yourself. You want to be able to articulate yourself well, responding politely and even passionately when appropriate. A good way to respond to this question is by sharing about a person who has been a positive influence on you and your career. If your dad motivated you to push through to finish your education, talk about how that impacted you. Who showed you that it was possible to overcome even the greatest obstacles? Who taught you the skills that brought you where you are today?
"I don't know."
The best thing that you can do when asked about your salary expectations are to be open and honest about what you are currently earning, and where you want to be in the future.
"I can share with you what I am currently earning, and where I would like to be in my next position. Currently, I am earning a base salary of $78K plus an annual bonus opportunity of an additional 10%. Last year my earnings were $85K and I'd like to earn a bit above that in my next position."
It is immensely important to accurately communicate information in the workplace. Discuss with the interviewer how you go about doing so.
"When I receive new information from my supervisor I will run my understanding of it by the supervisor to ensure that my interpretation is correct. After that, I will relay the information formally (in writing) to my team. This eliminates word of mouth and misinterpretation surrounding the issue."
Being able to problem solve and think outside the box when it comes to changing situations is a very valuable skill set. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to create a variety of potential scenarios.
"I feel that it is very important to create alternative scenarios in all situations. One cannot guess what will happen in the end so it is great to be prepared for all possible outcomes."
Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness...all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer. If you do have volunteer experience: "For the past 8 months I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been a really fun experience and rewarding at the same time." If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is very important to take care of the needs of family."
"For the past 8 months I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been a really fun experience and rewarding at the same time."
It is important, for your success, that the hiring manager knows how to keep you motivated and excited to come to work every day. Share with the interviewer what they could do to ensure that you are happy and productive.
"I am most motivated, on the job, when tasks are organized and the vibe is positive. I really value strong teamwork and good leadership."
Talk to the interviewer about any interest that you have in creativity and how you have implemented that desire in the workplace.
"I do consider myself to be a creative individual. One example of this would be the telephone sales scripts that I crafted for our inside sales team. They were lively and effective, and sales increased by 23% in the first 90 days of implementation."
Everyone has had a failure at one point in their career. Do not hesitate to describe a failure. The key to a great answer, is how you learned from that failure and were able to improve yourself because of it. Try to keep the failure to one instance and stay away from financial mistakes you made at your previous employer. Example, do not tell the interviewer you forgot to order new inventory and which costs your company fifteen thousand in lost sales. Instead, try to keep it career related. Example, I was offered a position at XYZ that would have gained me management experience in my career, but I turned down the offer in fear I was not yet ready for the position. In hindsight, I believe I was more than capable to run XYZ's department, and regret not accepting.
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 need to leave out the 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. We recommend keeping it under a minute. Focus on your interest or passion for the field, your education and accomplishments. Keep it relevant! 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. It's okay to be a little mysterious. Leave the interviewer wanting more!
This question is intended for the hiring manager to get to know you, outside of your resume. Choose a topic that you are very knowledgeable in and be sure that your passion comes through. You could choose a sport, a genre of movies, a book that has recently inspired you, music, cooking, dance. Literally, anything!
Your ethics may be tested from time to time. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of resisting the temptation to act unethically. How will you set an example to the residents?
"Last year during finals it was brought to my attention that the answers to one of my final exams had been leaked. Someone on campus was selling it to students and a friend of mine purchased the answer key. He offered to give it to me for free and I declined. It was a tough choice because this was a class that I was struggling in a little bit. I studied extra hard instead and am happy that I did not give in to temptation."
What sets you apart from your competition when it comes to landing this particular position? Discuss with the interviewer why you think you are the #1 choice for this role.
"I am the best person for this position because I have attended this school for 3 years and I am well known to the student body. My grades are very high and I would be a strong role model to the other residents."
As an RA, you will be required to plan activities on a regular basis while keeping in mind an appropriate and manageable balance for the residents. Discuss with the interviewer how you plan to do this.
"When I organize and plan my work, I first look at the big picture and the schedule of others involved. I will map out a plan, and create a schedule for myself to follow. I have always been very good with keeping to a schedule so this method is very effective for me."
Are you able to enforce rules and regulations when necessary? Assure the interviewer that you are capable of commanding the respect required to be an effective RA.
"I have always found that an effective method of enforcing rules and regulations is to simply abide by them yourself. Don't make it an option and most people will follow your lead."
Highlight some of your great experiences during college and be sure to include how your RA was an influence to you during your time in residence.
"I had a very positive college experience and I attribute that to the fact that I was very involved in the college community. Personally, I had an excellent RA who ensured that everyone felt included."
As an RA you will need to have a lot of spirit and passion for this establishment. Discuss with the interviewer some of the reasons why you chose this particular establishment for your post-secondary education. Show them that you are passionate for their school!
"I chose this university for my post-secondary education because this school runs deep in our family. I am the 4th generation to attend school here and couldn't be prouder. I have a lot of passion for this school which is another reason why I would make a fantastic RA."
Are you often complimented on a particular characteristic or quality? Is there something about you that really makes you stand out from the crowd? Talk to the interviewer about what you feel is your greatest strength and how you feel it will be an asset to them should they hire you.
"My greatest strength is in my listening skills. I feel that there is a great deal of wisdom that comes with you observe vs. talk. This strength would be particularly helpful in my role as an RA because so many students need a trustworthy and listening ear."
As an RA you will often have situations involving high amounts of pressure and expectations. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of handling this.
"I work the best under pressure! When there is a deadline I tend to act fast and work smarter. I am certainly not afraid to face a challenge and am confident that I could handle the pressure that comes with this particular position."
As an RA you will often need to think quickly and creatively when it comes to problem solving. Talk to the interviewer about a major problem that you recently solved, being sure to highlight your ability to remain calm under the pressure.
"One major problem that I recently encountered was this summer when I was involved in a car accident while on my way to work. To make matters worse, it was my first day on the job! I had to reach my new employer, remain calm, deal with the accident, police and then later that day - my insurance company. It was incredibly overwhelming but my ability to remain cool was recognized by my new boss and she allowed me to have a fresh start a couple of days later."
As an RA you will be seen as a leader. What does this mean to you?
"To me, strong leadership is to willingly take the role of a guide and mentor. True leadership is to remain a steadfast resource to those that need you. Leadership requires consistency and integrity."
As an RA you will need to exercise a great amount of patience from time to time. Assure the interviewer that you are a patient individual.
"I do consider myself a patient person but certainly not a pushover. I have a clear idea of when additional patience is required of me."
As an RA it is very important that you embrace diversity. Talk to the interviewer about what this means to you.
"To me, diversity means acknowledging and accepting a full range of genders, sexual preferences, cultures, and races. Embracing diversity is incredibly important and would certainly be a focus of mine should I be the successful candidate."
As an RA it is your responsibility to ensure that your community of residents are involved and engaged. Talk to the interviewer about how you would handle residents who were disinterested in what you had planned for them.
"I understand that not everyone will feel like participating 100% of the time. If I noticed particular residents who were always opting out I would talk to them one on one. Perhaps it's a social anxiety issue or they feel swamped with homework. I would uncover the issue and help them out from there.We want everyone's college experience to be a positive one."
Residential Advisor often known as "RA" is a career opportunity that involves the coordination of residential or private activities in schools, colleges or similar establishments. Such activities may include order supplies, repairs, maintenance and as well as counseling resources when needed.
The primary responsibility of the Resident Advisor is to oversee client care and provide a physically and emotionally safe environment by policies and procedures as it relates to substance abuse and behavioral health treatment. They have several responsibilities such as providing emergency first aid and medical assistance when needed, enforcing rules and regulations to ensure smooth and orderly operation of dormitory programs.
Expectations for this position vary depending on where a Residential Assistant is woking but qualifying for an interview; one must have a variety of skills such as leadership, approachability, and responsibility. Before an interview, a prospective Residential Advisor should think about what type of community would be a good fit for them, reflect on their personal characteristics, skills, and knowledge and also talk with current Residential Life staff to learn about the many aspects and expectations of the position.
A Residential Advisor must be proficient in crisis intervention and management, interact with participants in a responsible and empathetic manner to establish and maintain a mutual relationship.