These days, it is fashionable for some CS departments to pre-screen faculty candidates with a phone interview. These can be stressful if you are not well-prepared, but they are usually easy to get through with the right amount of preparation. My first 2 interviews or so was not successful, but the rest went smoothly. This is because, in most places, you’ll get asked the same questions over and over again. Below is a list of questions that I got asked. Note that some questions are specific to my research area, but you get the idea, the panel of interviewers (there is usually a bunch) will ask you about your particular work.
Disclaimer: some of these questions that I actually got asked were from Philip Guo’s faculty job application guide (an awesome guide that is, alas, no longer available online.)
- What strengths will you bring from your end to our department?
- How do you rank our department in the list of departments you applied to?
- If we gave you an offer, what is the probability you would join us?
- Given your research had industry adoption, why choose academia?
- What are your research interests?
- What is your teaching experience?
- What constraints do you have if we were to invite you for an interview (which faculty to meet)?
- What are you currently trying to do to make software systems more reliable and secure?
- What kind of members you would like to have in your lab? What skills do they need to possess?
- What will your NSF CAREER grant be (or NSERC Discovery Grant for Canada)?
- Software fails all the time, why do you care about finding bugs?
- What were the main challenges or hard parts in your dissertation work?
- What makes your dissertation more than merely a collection of tools built for specific audiences?
- Why should anyone care about your dissertation work?
- What type of research environment would be your ideal in a department?
- How will you mentor undergraduate students?
- What type of research group do you envision forming?
- Why is your field important and where is it going?
- What do you see yourself doing in 10 years, and why?
- Why should anyone care about your future research agenda?
- What classes will you be able to teach with a bit more preparation?
- What new classes will you be able to create?
- What’s your overall teaching philosophy?
- Give me a summary of your work.
- Who do you consider the best people in your field?
- How can your results help me in my own research?
* What are you looking for in a school? Why did you apply here?
- What is the most interesting part of computer science besides your own area?