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Cutting Edge > Career Prep > Job Search > Interviewing > The Two-Year College Interview

The Two-Year College Interview

Details of the hiring process vary from institution to institution, and certainly no two interviews are identical. However, here are some general guidelines about what you can expect.
This webpage is based on advice Katryn Wiese, at the City College of San Francisco, and Mike Phillips, at Illinois Valley Community College, developed for the Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences workshops.

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What the Hiring Committee is Looking For

Again, every institution is different. But for many two-year college positions, the following considerations are key; demonstrating these will make you a very strong candidate:

Getting An Interview

At Illinois Valley Community College, the hiring committee designs a rubric directly from the job posting. All of the items listed are worth "points"; the more of these items you have, the more likely you are to get an interview. These same items are discussed by the committee after the interview. For example:

In short, you are most likely to get an interview if you can address all of the qualifications listed in the job posting and if you do so in a professional manner.

The Interview Process

Once all written applications have been reviewed, a certain number of applicants are invited to campus for interviews. The interview includes a teaching demonstration, a question and answer session, written questions, and possibly a meeting with an administrator.

The Teaching Demonstration

An impressive teaching demonstration will go beyond correct communication of content to highlight your strengths as an educator. Add information not included in the textbook for the course to show your ability to add value to your courses. More than anything, DEMONSTRATE your diversity of teaching methods. Each candidate for this position will be doing a teaching demonstration on exactly the same topic, so you want to think about how to stand out. Usually, you have to teach to an audience that cannot respond, but do so as if it were a real class – this can be challenging!!!

Question and Answer Session

Every interview will include a meeting with the hiring committee, at which they will ask you a series of questions to assess your qualifications for and interest in the job. Some questions address broad topics of teaching style or discipline knowledge, while others are very specific to the content covered in a course. At most community colleges, the hiring committee asks every candidate the exact same questions, in the same order. In many cases, they "grade" your responses according to a rubric. This makes it especially important to answer the questions you are asked. Anything provided beyond the question will not be considered in your rankings.

Here are some sample interview questions, for an environmental science faculty position at Illinois Valley Community College. (Note the first two questions; these set the tone for the interview.)

Other possible interview questions:

Written Questions

Many community college interviews include time for you to answer written questions. These typically cover similar material as the question and answer session, but give you the opportunity to demonstrate your writing and organization skills.

Preparing for the Interview

Much of this advice is simply common sense, and applies to all interviews, everywhere. Nonetheless, it is essential!


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