An Academic Career

Your questions

Your chance to ask the panel

Asking questions at the end of an interview can do two things:

  • give you information which will help you decide whether this job is for you
  • give the interviewers an indication of how interested you are in this job

Before the interview, generate a list of questions which you can ask - you could take a list into the interview with you so you can refer to it if your mind goes blank. However, before launching into a long list, check how much time is left for the interview and prioritise your most important questions.

Areas you might cover

  • Clarify, for example, the division of tasks within the department - hours assigned for research, teaching, personal tutoring responsibilities, etc.
  • Ask for more detail about specific research projects and what gaps they are seeking to fill within the department
  • Links with other disciplines, faculties and institutions.
  • For an established project team, you may want to find out more about how the team works - eg how they divide up the work, what the timetable is like, what issues arise from collaborative/multi-site work.

Areas to avoid or treat with care

  • Questions on basics which you should have found out about before the interview - for example, the department's strengths and current research and the courses they teach.
  • Details of salary - you will want to know this, but think of the rather mercenary impression it will create if you raise it at interview (at least in the UK). It may be more appropriate to ask about this outside the interview. It is also common that the interview panel are not the group who set the salary, so they will be unable to give you a satisfactory answer.
  • Questions about car parking and catering - not very strategic.