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63 questions that graduate assistantship interviewers often ask

63 questions that graduate assistantship interviewers often ask

Graduate assistants usually work in administrative or research positions at colleges or universities while they are getting their master’s or doctoral degrees. Because of this, graduate assistantships are often very popular and rewarding jobs that draw people with a lot of skills. If you’re a graduate student looking for a job as an assistant, you might find it helpful to look over the questions that hiring managers often ask during interviews. In this article, we list 63 different interview questions for a job as a graduate assistant. Some of them have answers and explanations that can help you get ready for your interview.

General questions to ask for an interview for a graduate assistantship

Here are some common questions that may be asked of people who want to be graduate assistants:

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
  2. Tell me about your dream job.
  3. What makes you the best person for the job?
  4. Why would you want to work in this department?
  5. How did you hear about this job opening?
  6. What kind of things do you like to learn in school?
  7. What are your long-term goals for your job?
  8. What skills do you have that make you good for this job?
  9. How much money do you want?
  10. What do you need to do with your time as a full-time graduate student?
  11. How familiar are you with our department?
  12. Can you describe your expectations for professional development?
  13. Do you have a mentor in the area you are studying or researching?
  14. How would your boss explain how you do your job?
  15. Tell me what you think a typical day as a graduate assistant would be like.
  16. How do you define success?
  17. What keeps you going as a graduate student?
  18. What’s the best thing you’ve done in your career so far?

Questions about your past and present

Hiring managers for graduate assistantships may ask candidates the following questions about their education and past jobs:

  1. What did you study as your major when you were in college?
  2. Why did you decide to work in the field you do now?
  3. What about this graduate school made you want to go there?
  4. How did you decide what to write your dissertation about?
  5. What do you think you’ve brought to your field so far?
  6. How did you run things before?
  7. As part of your job, have you ever done research?
  8. What kind of skills do you have for running a business?
  9. Have you ever gone to school full-time and worked as a professional?
  10. Have you ever been in charge of something in your school?
  11. Have you worked as a mentor or given advice to college students before?
  12. How much do you participate in the life of our university?
  13. What time-management skills have you learned so far in your career?
  14. Can you tell me about a time when you had to work hard but still got the job done?
  15. Have you ever had a fight with someone at work? If so, what did you do to fix it?
  16. What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far as a graduate student?
  17. How do you think the best things can be done?
  18. How would you explain what you do at work?

Related: 10 Questions to Ask at an Interview for Grad School (With Sample Answers)

More in-depth questions for a graduate assistant

In an interview, candidates for a graduate assistantship may be asked the following detailed questions:

  1. What do you hope to learn or get out of being a graduate assistant?
  2. What about you makes you different from the other candidates?
  3. As a graduate student, what do you want to do with your life?
  4. Tell me about a time you did the right thing.
  5. How do you handle very tight deadlines at work?
  6. Have you ever suggested a big change to a policy or procedure that was put in place successfully?
  7. Can you think of a time when your morals or ethics were tested?
  8. How do you figure out how to fix things?
  9. How do you get things done when you’re doing more than one thing?
  10. Tell me about a time when you paid close attention.
  11. How important do you think it is for a business to communicate?
  12. What have you had to get through in your life that was hard?
  13. How do you currently do research?
  14. How do you keep track of how well you are doing?
  15. As a graduate student, how do you decide what to do first?
  16. Tell me about a time when you looked at a hard problem and thought of a different way to solve it.
  17. Do you think it’s important for academics to work together?
  18. Tell me about a time when you were a good coach or mentor.
  19. What new skills have you learned in the past few years that could help you in this job?

Interview questions for a graduate assistant job, with examples of how to answer them

Here are eight questions that hiring managers may ask graduate assistantship candidates during an interview, along with explanations of why they ask them, tips on how to give a good answer, and sample answers to help you get ready:

Why do you want to work as an assistant to a graduate student?

This is a question that a graduate assistantship interviewer might ask to find out why you want one. Because there can be a lot of competition for assistantships, it’s important to show that you want the job for more than just the money. This will show the person who is hiring you that you are a good fit for the job. In your answer, tell them why you want to work for that department, how the assistantship fits into your overall career goals, and what kind of experience you hope to get from it.

Here’s what I mean: “I think working as a research assistant in the history department will be a very rewarding experience that will help me improve my professional skills and learn what it’s like to work with smart academics. Also, this assistantship fits perfectly with my plans to become a history professor and do more research, so I think this could be a turning point in the direction of my career.”

How do you plan to juggle your responsibilities as a student and as an assistant?

Work and getting a graduate degree can be hard to do at the same time. An interviewer might ask you this question to see how well you can handle stress, manage your time, and do more than one thing at once. In your answer, tell us how you organize your work, keep track of your progress, and make sure you’re doing what’s expected of you as a graduate student.

Here’s what I mean: “Even though it can be stressful to work as a professional and take advanced classes at the same time, I’ve found ways to organize my work and keep up with my graduate student responsibilities. I keep a detailed calendar, set reminders for my current responsibilities and deadlines, and use mobile to-do lists to keep track of my progress daily, weekly, and monthly.”

3.What do you want to get out of talking to professors and other staff members?

As a graduate assistant, you might have the chance to get to know faculty and staff members on a professional level. This question could be asked by the interviewer to find out how you would use this chance to network. In your answer, tell us how you would help professors and other staff with their work while also building professional relationships with them to make your own experience better.

Here’s what I mean: “As a graduate assistant, I want to help faculty and staff members reach their own research and administrative goals. I see this job as a chance to make useful connections, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone in the department. I’m also looking forward to getting to know professors in the department who are interested in the same things I am.”

4. What are some of the ways you handle stress?

As a graduate assistant, it’s important to know how to deal with stress because you may have to juggle different school and work responsibilities. This is a question an interviewer might ask to see how you deal with stress now and what you do to get rid of it. Talk about what you do to deal with stress and not get too busy as a graduate student in your answer.

Here’s what I mean: “I take dealing with stress very seriously and have come up with a few ways to calm down when I’m working hard. I try to be as organized as I can, especially when I have a lot of requests, and I try to pay attention to what I’m doing at work. I also try to find a good balance between work and life so that I have time to relax after I’ve done my best work at work.”

5. What do you do when someone gives you good advice?

Students often get their first job experience through graduate assistantships, which helps them build their skills and grow as professionals. So, an interviewer might ask you this question to see how well you know yourself and how open you are to criticism. Talk about how much you value constructive feedback and how you use it to improve at your job in your answer.

Here’s what I mean: “Both from my peers and from my bosses, I really value and welcome constructive feedback. Most of the time, I look at feedback as a chance to evaluate my performance, grow professionally, and improve my skills. So, whenever I get feedback that helps me get better, I try to use it to figure out what I can do better and add it to my approach.”

6. What would you do if you didn’t like how your boss ran the business?

During your time as a graduate assistant, you might have a fight with one of your coworkers or your boss. So, an interviewer might ask you this question to see how you deal with disagreements. In your answer, explain how you would talk about the problem and come up with ways to solve it while staying professional.

Here’s what I mean: “Even if I didn’t agree with what my boss was doing, I’d make sure to act professionally and with respect. I think I should talk to my boss, sit down with them, and agree with their point of view so they know I care about what they think. From here, I would explain my own point of view and try to work with them to come up with a different way to do things that we could all agree on.”

7. What kind of work experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for this assistant job?

Many people who want to be graduate assistants have work experience in research, teaching, advising, or management that makes them qualified for the job. This is a question an interviewer might ask to find out how much experience and skills you have. In your answer, talk about the jobs you’ve had in the past and how the skills you learned at those jobs might help you do well as a graduate assistant.

Here’s what I mean: “Before I went to graduate school, I worked as a program coordinator for the office of multicultural affairs at Benton University for three years. Before this, I worked in their sociology department as a research manager and did administrative work. I think that both of these jobs helped me improve my communication, social, and organizational skills, which I think will be useful as a graduate assistant.”

8. Give me an example of a mistake you made and what you did to learn from it.

As was already said, graduate assistantships are often important ways for students to learn and grow professionally. So, an interviewer might ask you this question to see if you are willing to learn from your mistakes and if you can deal with problems at work. In your answer, give an example of a time you made a mistake, took responsibility for it, learned from it, and used it as a chance to grow.

Here’s what I mean: “As a graduate student, I think it’s normal and even helpful to make mistakes because they help me learn and grow in my career. When I was a teaching assistant last year, I made a lot of mistakes when figuring out students’ test grades, which could have had a big effect on their GPAs. Luckily, a student noticed my mistake and told me about it. I double-checked my work, changed their grades right away, and used the situation to come up with a standard way to figure out grades so there wouldn’t be any differences in the future.”

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