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Monthly Poll | Interview Questions

By SRAI News posted 02-09-2022 02:33 PM


Monthly Poll | Interview Questions

In December, we asked you to share your thoughts about engagement in this remote and hybrid environment.  We also asked you to tell us if you think of yourself as an extrovert or an introvert and your thoughts about the quantity of intentional engagement efforts at your institutions.  A shocking 87% of respondents see themselves as introverts and 57% thought the amount of engagement was just right with an additional 29% that wished for more engagement.  

You told us that you’re keeping regular meetings but being intentional about things like asking everyone to keep cameras on and making space for personal and professional conversations.  One respondent shared that they have a Friday Peaks and Pits meeting to debrief and discuss what went well and what didn’t go quite so well during the week.  It offers their team members a chance to share task progression but also vent about any roadblocks faced and overcome that week. 

This month we’re starting an article series about the career of RA, so we’d like to hear more about the interview questions that have resonated with you.  My favorite interview question to answer is about my organizational skills.  I’m a master color coder and have been since I was in school.  But one of the most insightful RA interview questions I’ve ever been asked prompted me to share how my potential supervisor would know if I were stressed.  I had to think for just a moment and then I answered based on my previous experiences with high stress situations, like preparing for the LSAT, managing major personal life changes, drinking too much coffee like every young Seattleite barista.  I told my interviewers that they would probably hear me complain about my back hurting because I carry stress in my neck and shoulders or my eyelid would just twitch periodically, as it does when I’ve had entirely too much coffee.  We all chuckled.  

I had been in RA for 6 years before this interview which was for a different RA position at a different institution in a different state.  7 more years in this field and it occurs to me just how poignant this question was.  We do work in a career that most of us perceive as high stress.  And having a supervisor that wanted to know what my signs of stress are wired me to not only think about my own stress levels, but made me think about watching for those signs in my co-workers as well.  

What has struck you as the most significant interview question that you have asked or been asked at each of stage in the RA career path?

Authored by Heather Brown, Grants and Contracts Administrator
Duke Human Vaccine Institute