Following up on a blog post titled 10 Secrets to Recruiting & Screening for Great Resident Advisors, I thought it would be helpful to create a post and “Individual Interview Questions for Student Leaders” free handout related to the interview process for all student leader positions. Crafting appropriate interview questions for interviews can be challenging, particularly if you do not already have an existing interview protocol already created. Consider the following for your next interview process:
- Make the interview process itself an educational experience for the student. I had a colleague at a previous institution who set up resume writing and interviewing workshops prior to the actual interview process. Student candidates were invited to attend these short (30 minutes) workshops that were held in a lecture hall. Tips and suggestions were given to students related to interview practice, appropriate dress, follow-up, and information on how to seek out services at the career center for additional help and preparation. Even if they did not get the job, they still walked away with invaluable life-long skills that will help them after they leave college.
- Student leader interviews SHOULD NOT be an officially sanctioned “hazing” experience. The goal is to illicit important information to see if a candidate is qualified and prepared for the student leader role and not to make them “pay their dues” in order to get the job. You want to make the experience as educative and positive as possible. Keep in mind that most of us student affairs professionals got our jobs after a typical phone interview and a visit to campus with various meetings. If your student leader hiring protocol is more involved than what you went through to get your own position, you may want to rethink the process. (Remember that they are students.)
- When crafting questions, first list the qualities and skills that you need these student leaders to possess. Then develop your questions to assess for these particular attributes. For example, if you are hiring campus tour guides, you would list qualities such as: enthusiasm, ability to remember many facts and details, sociable, and quick to think on their feet. A question like “How would you respond to a parent touring the campus who asks what students can do on the weekends?” gets to the heart of their ability to think on their feet and demonstrate if they are knowledgable of campus activities and services. Not only are you going to see if they give an appropriate answer unrelated to partying, but to see if they can actually list activities available on the weekends.
- Test interview existing student leaders. When you have your questions selected, do a test run with the student employees you already have. If your current student staffers are stumped by any of the questions, it is going to be certain that new candidates will not be able to answer them either. Get their feedback on their own interview process and what they think is important to include in an interview. They are out in the field actually doing the job so respect their experience and utilize them as an added resource. Additionally, include them in on the interview process as well so this becomes educative for them. Not only can they list this on a resume, but they will be able to implement what you taught them if they end up in hiring roles themselves in the future.
Click to receive a free “Individual Interview Questions for Student Leaders” handout, which lists 30 different interview questions that can be adopted for your own interview processes.
Please feel free to share this resource with your colleagues.