1. Why do you want to become a RA?
Most students apply becasue they want to get free meals, accommodation and stipend. Or they like the RA role because it offers an easy way of blending into the community, and getting to know the other students.
But you should rather say that you want the position to give something back to the community, that you feel like representing the students, and helping them.
You can also say that you try to learn the basic working habits while studying, and that the RA position is perfect for building a sense for responsibility–something you will benefit from later, as an employee.
2. Why do you think you can be a good resident assistant?
Tell them that you have a good understanding for the ins and outs of life at the dormitory. You can also say that you believe to have the right personality for the position, and good communication skills, and an ability to work independently.
Alternatively you can say that you have read the job description carefully, and believe to be a perfect match for the job. One way or another, try to speak with enthusiasm and confidence, so they feel that you really believe to have all it takes to work as an RA, and to do a good job…
3. How do you imagine your typical week, from the position of a resident assistant?
Try to show them that you plan to actively help with social, academic, and personal adjustment of students to the residence hall and University.
The key is to simply show that you won’t just wait for a phone call, or a knock on the door of your room. Say that you will participate in the weekly staff meetings, ask students for feedback and ideas for improvement, design decorations, help with organizing events, be always available on the phone, etc.
4. What is the most difficult aspect of working as RA, from your point of view?
The job is not always easy. Sometimes you will answer phone calls late in the night, or you will have to report a friend who had a party in the room (well, at least you will have an obligation to report them, and whether you will follow it or not is your choice).
In your answer, you should show the hiring committee that you understand the complexity of the position, and that you know it won’t be always easy. Tell them that you are ready for all aspects of the job and won’t let your emotions to interfere with the decisions you will make from the position of a resident assistant.
Screening and behavioral questions
- Why should we choose you, and not one of the other applicants? (Emphasize your greatest strengths, and the experience that makes from you a great candidate for the job. Tell them about your desire to make a positive difference, and your honest interest in the life at the dormitory.)
- Describe a conflict you had with another student in the past. (Say that you understand that conflicts belong to the job, and that you try to solve each conflict in a constructive way, the most appropriate one. Stress that you do your best to avoid useless conflicts, and stay on the top of the game.)
How do you imagine combining your student and RA duties? (Tell them about a job you had in a past, or any other responsibility (taking care of a child, volunteering work), one that you managed to handle while studying. Show them that you like to be busy, that you are not a time-waster, and know how to prioritize your tasks.)
- What motivates you in job? (Good feeling from helping the students, learning new skills and preparing for the actual employment market, a purpose in the community, etc.)
- Tell us about a goal you achieved recently. (Try to talk about a selfless goal–helping one of your friends to pass an exam, improving something in your dorm, or in your room back home, doing something good for the class, etc. Show us that you do not think only about yourself and your career.)
- What can you improve about this building?
The more people apply, the more complex the interviews will be.
If you would like to learn how to answer the common screening and behavioral questions, and how to win the hearts of your interviewers, check out our Interview Success Package. You will find it handy now, and also a few years later, when you will apply for an actual job…
Alternatively you can continue your interview preparation with one of the following articles.
Prepare with Interview Penguin
- Body language in an interview – What do your gestures and movements say about you? Can we control our non-verbal communication? Understanding of your body language will help you also in your oral exams at school…
- Physical, mental, practical preparation – Interesting insight on the interview preparation. Do everything right and improve your chances of succeeding at the end.
- What to bring to the interview with you – Learn what documents to take to the interview with you, and how to present them to the interviewers.