Common Academic Jobs Interview Questions and Answers Tips

Timothy Ijoyemi

Tim has more than 10 years experience in HE. He has a strong passion for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in HE. With equivalent experience in recruitment in HE, he has also developed a range of expertise in HE talent acquisition.

At one point in the course of your academic career you will have to sit before a panel of interviewers. It is a good idea to know what sort of questions to expect at such academic interviews. When you are adequately prepared for an interview you are more likely to feel comfortable before the panel and answer questions with confidence.

In this article we have compiled a list of some commonly asked academic interview questions for lecturer positions, together with suggestions on what answers interviewers usually expect. Please keep in mind that there are several ways to correctly answer these questions. The tips suggested in this article are just meant to give you clues to what your answers to the interview questions should be and to help you articulate your response to the questions.

Common Academic Interview Questions

Generally, academic interview questions usually span several broad aspects to evaluate your suitability for the job. You will be asked some general research questions, about your research, your strengths and capabilities, your supervisory/teaching roles, how you fit into the position, etc. Here are some likely questions you should anticipate during an academic job interview.

  • Questions About Your Research: Some questions that you might be asked regarding your research include: what makes your work unique from other existing research, how is your research innovative, who and what influences your work, what significant contributions/impacts have you made with your research, which is your best research work/publications so far, what current research are you working on, how do you work as an independent researcher, what is your proposed research, what do you aim to achieve, what relevance/purpose do you envisage that your findings will serve, what if your hypothesis turns out wrong.


  • General Research Questions: What are the current issues in your research area, how is your work in alignment with current research trends in your area, how feasible is your research project, why did you choose the technique you are using, what resources do you need for your project and how are you going to manage limited resources, how does your research serve the society at large, who are the key researchers in your research area, who are your main competitors, how do intend to perform better than your competitors, how what are your career goals for the next 5 years, what do you see yourself doing 10 years from now, do you think this job is going to help you achieve your career plans.


  • Tips: Look forward into the future and draw up an ambitious but also feasible research plans. Don’t sell yourself short. Talk about crucial topics you plan to work on, research funding you look forward to getting, publications and benefits you are looking at adding to the populace through your research. Give the questions a great deal of thoughts before the interview day. Try not to sound vague or uncertain. Draw up concrete plans, assign dates to the steps and confidently demonstrate that you have a great, well thought out career path.


  • Questions On How You Fit In: Why do you want to lecture in this institution, why do you prefer here above other schools, what value will you add to the institution, why do you think you are the right person to fill this position, how do you intend to fit in departmental activities, apart from research and teaching what other contributions will you make to the department, does your research create opportunity for multi-disciplinary collaborations, who would like to collaborate with and why, have you participated in any committee work and what was your experience.


  • Tips: The interviewers want to know your views on the values and integrity of the institution, and what are the things that make you want to be a part of them. Research about the university and make sure you know much about the department so as to be able to provide great answers to the questions. Read up on the job specifications for the position you applied for and align your answers to prioritize the requirements and portray yourself as the most suitable candidate for the position. Mention any administrative experience, or at least mention skills you possess that guarantee you will perform well in admin duties.


  • Questions About Your Supervisory Or Teaching Roles: What do you think of the teaching profession, what is your teaching philosophy, give an account of your teaching experience, how do you develop a curriculum, do you have experience in supervising students’ project, how did you manage your role as a supervisor, how would you interview a prospective postgraduate student, do you have experience working with a research group, how would you handle disagreements within a research group, how many people do you feel comfortable working with in a research group.


  • Tips: Let your answers showcase your enthusiasm for teaching, understudy the department’s current curriculum and research strides and tailor your answers to fit in. Show your keenness to introduce new courses and willingness to adapt to the department’s teaching requirements.


  • Questions Regarding Your Skills And Abilities: How do you manage your time daily, how did you manage your research work, what can you describe as the most productive/rewarding period in your career, what will you do on your first day at work, tell us about a research challenge you have faced and how you handled the issue, why do you think you are the right person for this position, what makes you think you are ready for the position, how will you continue to run your research work if you are offered this position, do you have experience with gaining funding, where and how will you apply for grants, what are your alternatives for funding, who is funding or has funded your research and why do you think they chose to fund your project, how would you convince a funding body to fund your research.


Getting an academic job requires preparations as the field is actually very competitive. It all begins with  learning the nitty-gritty on how to become a lecturer in the UK. Knowledge of commonly asked academic interview questions gives you a cutting edge over other applicants. See more tips for success in academic interview.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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