Initial Publication Date: April 22, 2008

Two-Year College Interview Questions

This page is based on a handout prepared by Eric Baer, from Highline Community College, for the 2005 workshop on Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences. All of these questions have been used in community college interviews; a typical interview would consist of a total of 8-10 such questions.

Jump down to questions about

Education and Experience

  • To help us get to know you better, would you briefly tell us about your education and experience and specifically how it relates to the _______position at ____Community College.
  • Could you tell us about your experience and how you feel it applies to this position and what do you have to offer to the community college student?
  • Can you tell us about what led to your choices of ____ as a field and teaching as a profession?
  • Within___________ what is your strongest area of expertise, how did you acquire it, and how have you been able to apply it?
  • What skills will you bring to us at _________ Community College and how do you see these skills fitting into our current offerings?
  • The lack of time and resources makes it difficult to pursue significant professional research at a community college. How do your background and future goals fit into this reality?
  • What activities and experiences do you have that would strengthen your candidacy for this job?
  • Please describe your leadership and management style, giving us examples that demonstrate this style.
  • What have been some of your most satisfactory professional achievements?


  • Tell us about the best teacher you had. How do you demonstrate these qualities?
  • What three personal or professional values do you think are important for an instructor? How do you exhibit these characteristics?
  • What is your educational philosophy and how do you implement this philosophy in the classroom?
  • What do you believe are the key components/courses that should be included in the __________ curriculum/program. What is your vision of the program 5 years from now?
  • What are the key concepts that should be included in any beginning ______________ course?
  • What do you want your students to gain from taking a ________________class? What kind of qualities and values do you wish to instill in them?
  • What techniques have you used to assure effective communication?
  • Describe how you would approach teaching a college-level geology class and, especially, focus on the outcomes which you expect from a college-level geology learner.
  • Of the classes we offer (Geology 101, etc.) which do you feel qualified to teach?
  • What forms of technology do you feel you would need to successfully teach Geology at _________?
  • What do you find most challenging in teaching ____________, and how do you meet these challenges?
  • What is the most interesting thing to you about teaching _______________________?
  • Describe your most inspiring teacher and indicate why you found that person to be inspiring.
  • How do you see the_____________ field changing and how do the changes impact the curriculum you teach?

Local Geology

Eric writes, "There may be specific questions about either local geology or specific classes. For example, I remember being asked about water issues in Los Angeles at one community college interview and about ophiolites at another." In short, be prepared to demonstrate your expertise by answering relevant questions about the local geology.

Community College and Fit

  • What do you understand the community college philosophy to be and how do you feel about that philosophy?
  • How interested are you in becoming involved in a learning community, linked courses, or team teaching?
  • Community Colleges are unique learning institutions as compared to four-year universities, for instance. What contributions will you be able to offer the ______ Department, the_________ Division, and the campus in general?
  • If you were selected for this position, how would you see yourself in the wider scope of campus activities, outside of your role in the classroom?
  • What values or qualities would you bring to __________ Community College that would make a positive contribution to the campus? Give us examples of how these values are manifested in your teaching, the work of your students, and in your work at your current institution and its outlying community.
  • Some of the courses offered at _________ Community College are a reflection of the faculty interests. For example, a course in marine geology may be scheduled because a certain instructor likes to teach it. What do you see as a positive and/or negative effect of this arrangement?
  • Would you please outline for us your professional goals for the next 5 years?
  • Our classes begin at 7:00 a.m. and go on until as late as 10:00 p.m. Are you flexible as to the hours when you would be willing to work?

Working With Diverse Populations/Students

  • Would you share your experiences working with a diverse population and provide us with any specific examples of how your personal knowledge, influence, or expertise has helped women or persons of color advance in_______________________ or other areas?
  • You will have students in your classes from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of abilities. What are some strategies you might use to enhance the learning opportunities for all of them?
  • How would you deal with the diversity of age, preparation, motivation, and backgrounds of your students?
  • What experience and/or studies prepare you to promote the value of and work with a multicultural population?
  • What challenges does a culturally diverse classroom present to a teacher, and how do you meet these challenges?

Dealing with Situations/Problems

  • A student comes into your office and says he or she is thinking about being a geologist. How will you respond? What questions would you ask and what advice would you give?
  • Please describe a teaching project or new curriculum element that you tried to implement that did not work. Describe why it failed and how you would successfully implement it.
  • What is the most difficult student problem you have had to deal with? How did you resolve the problem?
  • Some of the current concerns on the community college level involve student retention. What would you do to encourage retention?
  • A student is not prepared for classes, is not getting homework completed, is not attending class daily, and cannot understand why _________ is such a difficult subject. What advice do you give?
  • A student received A's in other classes with the same effort and is getting C's in _____________________ How would you respond to this student?
  • Can you give us specific examples of how you have accommodated students who lack language and reading skills, are too immature, and are generally under-prepared academically for college level courses?
  • What does grade inflation mean to you? If there is a problem, do you have suggestions for its solution?
  • Describe the worst working or teaching situation that you have been in. How did you handle the problems of that situation?
  • What kind of concerns or apprehensions do you have about the position?
  • What do you think will be the hardest part of your first year of teaching?
  • The following is a hypothetical statement by an instructor. "State law requires the use of lab safety eye wear, but several of our lab exercises do not involve hazardous materials, so I don't require my students to wear their protection in those situations." Comment on your reaction to this statement.

Role of the Faculty

  • What values or qualities would you bring to _______ Community College that would make a positive contribution to the campus? Give us examples of how these values are manifested in your teaching, the work of your students, and in your work at your current institution and its outlying community.
  • Aside from the teaching of classes and holding of office hours, what do you think are the components of a faculty member's job?
  • What is your idea of what shared governance means? What are you doing in your present assignment that demonstrates your commitment?
  • As a faculty member at ___________, you will be called upon to work in many group or team situations, both within your department and across campus. Please share with us what strengths and skills you bring to team work and what strengths and skills you look for in your fellow team members.
  • Describe some project that you have been involved in where you had to work collaboratively with your colleagues?


  • If we could bring your most recent supervisor to this room for a private conversation, what would he or she tell us are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your recent supervisor describe the quality of your work and your attitude on the job?
  • What would your last class say if we asked them about your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your present students describe you?

Wrap Up

  • Besides your expertise in your field, what would you bring to __________ Community College that you feel makes you an attractive candidate?
  • Is there any other information you would like to share with us?
  • Do you have any questions for the committee?