Tips on Applying for Faculty Positions

Tips on Interviewing for Faculty Positions

Come prepared with your own questions!!!

  • Bring a notebook and a pen
  • Prepare some questions that show you have been investigating them

Questions asked during interviews

  • Why this university and what/how can you contribute? What makes you different from the other applicants?
  • For how long your research plan will last? And what is your strategy to come up with a new research plan that will keep the lab running for the next 20 years?
  • Do you have industrial partners?
  • What is your strategy for funding? Which proposals did you write?
  • What is your strategy for publications?
  • Did you look at the disciplines that our group/department teaches? Which lectures can you teach?
  • What is your experience in lecturing? What is your teaching approach?
  • What is the publication you are the most proud of? And why?
  • What was in your contribution in this publication? As a first author, what did you do?

I thought this was a weird question, but I think they really want to know the obvious: that (in the ideal case) you proposed the idea, implemented, validated and wrote the paper. I think they wanted to catch up people that just implemented something that the last author came up with.

  • How do you prepare a laboratory experiment to explain the lecture on the topic of AAAA (e.g. control with time-delay)?
  • Right at the beginning of your work here you are given two PhDs in the area of your choice. What research do you propose for them?
  • What is your approach to advise students?
  • What would be your first steps once you start here?
  • What size of group are you going to build and who would be part of the group?

The time frame can change but you should prepare an answer for different time frames. For example, what is the group size in 5 years.

  • How do you deal with stress? What are the most significant sources of stress for you?
  • How would you handle a situation where you are working on an important paper and there is a deadline but you also have to do teaching? You would not have enough time to do both?

I (Joni) answered that I would ask help from students or other people. For example, let students do part of the teaching.

  • How many Master students can you supervise per year?
  • What is the connection of your research to the existing research at the university? How does it fit in? How does it expand the expertise at the university?

Send an email to say thank you after the interview

  • What is a good thank you template?
  • Should this email be sent individually or to the whole panel?

Tricky thing

  • Before the interview they will introduce themselves. It is hard to remember all the names. Even if you look in the website prior to the interview, there may be some generic people from other departments.
  • Later we want to thank them via email, but if you dont remember the name, that can be tricky. How to deal with this situation?


  • In Edinburgh I (Guilherme) was given the opportunity to indicate the people I wanted to talk to in a one-to-one basis. This was an optional step, but not doing it may show you are not interested in the position. It also gives the chance to have a second impression on the faculty since during interview everything is tense and formal, but in a one-to-one you see how friendly they are.