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Resident Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. How would you build relationships with students as a resident assistant, and what would be the nature of those relationships? See answer
  2. Give an example of a residence hall program you could organize with a budget of only $15. See answer
  3. How would you handle a conflict between two roommates? See answer
  4. How will this position fit in with your lifestyle and college schedule? See answer
  5. How would you promote diversity in your residence hall? See answer
  6. Describe a time when you were a successful leader during a stressful time. See answer
  7. How would past roommates describe you? See answer
  8. If a resident tells you they're feeling homesick, how would you handle the situation?
  9. Are you dependable?
  10. Do you understand the role of a mandatory reporter?
  11. What skills do you have that would make you an excellent resident assistant?
  12. How have you handled conflict in your personal life in the past?
  13. What extra-curricular activities are you involved in on campus?
  14. Describe an icebreaker activity you might hold for your floor the first night of the semester.
  15. Are you comfortable public speaking?
  16. What programming or behaviors did your freshman year resident assistant perform that you liked or didn't like?
  17. Are there any college policies you disagree with? If so, which ones?
  18. How important is responsibility for a resident assistant?
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8 Resident Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How would you build relationships with students as a resident assistant, and what would be the nature of those relationships?

A:

Building a foundation of trust is critical to an RA’s success in building community, providing assistance for residents, and enforcing the rules of the hall. This question reveals insights about how a candidate will form these positive, meaningful relationships – and how they define those relationships. What to look for in an answer:

  • Desire to interact with different types of people
  • Ability to draw the line between friendships and RA responsibilities
  • Approachable and friendly personality

Example:

“I would personally introduce myself to everyone on my floor and let them know that they can reach out to me at anytime. I think it’s important to be highly visible and down-to-earth so that residents feel comfortable coming to me with their issues. Although my goal is to form friendships with residents, my responsibility as an RA would be to remain professional and enforce the school’s policies.”

Q:

Give an example of a residence hall program you could organize with a budget of only $15.

A:

Programs promote an engaging, supportive residence hall community that fosters lifelong friendships and encourages new students to get involved. Ask this question to determine a candidate’s ability to plan budget-friendly activities that meet the needs of a diverse group of students. What to look for in an answer:

  • Creativity
  • Organization skills
  • Enthusiasm

Example:

“I recently organized a trivia night with my badminton club that was a big hit, so planning events with limited resources is something I enjoy. As a resident assistant, I would organize activities that encourage residents to connect on a deeper level, like poetry slams.”

Q:

How would you handle a conflict between two roommates?

A:

Handling sticky situations between residents is one of the most challenging parts of the job since it requires RAs to mediate conflict and come up with solutions that work for everyone – usually under a great deal of pressure. This question helps you find out if a candidate has a plan of action and knows how to be an effective, confident mediator. What to look for in an answer:

  • Conflict management techniques
  • Conflict management techniques
  • Leadership skills

Example:

“First, I would listen to both of the residents’ concerns one-on-one. Then, I would facilitate a dialogue between the roommates to find the root of the problem, encouraging them to talk through solutions. I would also help them draft a roommate contract. Once the conflict was resolved, I’d regularly check in to ensure everything was still going smoothly.

Q:

How will this position fit in with your lifestyle and college schedule?

A:

Balancing the time requirements and responsibilities of an RA role with academic and extracurricular commitments is tricky. This question gauges a candidate’s understanding of the life of an RA and helps demonstrate their motivations, as well as their ability to realistically take on the role. What to look for in an answer:

  • Desire to make the job a priority
  • Understanding of the role’s demands
  • Time management skills

Example:

“I like staying busy and feeling like I have a purpose. Although my major is challenging, I pride myself on my ability to prioritize and stick to tight deadlines. Last semester, I took 18 credit hours, played intramural softball and volunteered on the weekends, but I still had free time that I wanted to apply to something meaningful. That’s why I’m interested in becoming an RA this semester.”

Q:

How would you promote diversity in your residence hall?

A:

Celebrating people from different backgrounds is essential for achieving an inclusive and respectful campus climate. This question reveals a candidate’s awareness and appreciation of diversity. What to look for in an answer:

  • Belief that campus life is enriched by diversity
  • Desire to promote inclusion
  • Open-mindedness

Example:

“My mission would be to embrace diversity and create a welcoming environment for everyone. I’d educate residents on diversity by holding multicultural events, conducting monthly diversity classes and ensuring that I’m constantly finding new ways to combat discrimination on campus.”

Q:

Describe a time when you were a successful leader during a stressful time.

A:

Resident assistants must maintain a secure dorm environment, respond to crises and address policy violations – all of which require strong leadership skills. This question highlights a candidate’s past leadership experiences and reveals if they have what it takes to effectively lead a large group of students. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to remain level-headed
  • Communication skills
  • Past leadership experience

Example:

“When I worked at the college bookstore last year, our computer systems failed, making it impossible for students to buy textbooks. While our manager was getting the system fixed, I stepped in. I tasked the best communicators with speaking to frustrated customers and formed a team that wrote student’s orders down and pulled books from the shelves so when the system came back up 30 minutes later, it was a quick and smooth experience.”

Q:

If a resident tells you they’re feeling homesick, how would you handle the situation?

A:

For many freshmen, moving away from home for the first time is an emotionally jarring experience. RAs can help make a student’s first year more comfortable by offering support, encouragement and useful tips for dealing with the emotions of college life. What to look for in an answer:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Customer service skills
  • Knowledge of mental health resources

Example:

“I would reassure the student and talk about my personal experiences with homesickness. I would encourage them to come to floor events, tell them about clubs they could join and give them an individual tour of the campus to put them at ease. If they were still feeling homesick, I’d help them make an appointment at the counseling center.”

Q:

How would past roommates describe you?

A:

Most resident assistants in a college or university setting will have limited external work experience. As such, asking questions about their interpersonal relationships is a good way of determining whether they have the appropriate demeanor and skill set to manage the role of resident assistant. Asking about past roommate interactions is a great choice, because many college students, especially in their first year, do not choose the people they live with, giving you a more realistic portrait of the resident assistant candidate's relationship-building skills.

A strong answer should include elements like:

  • Recognition of positive character traits
  • Description of the candidate's outgoingness
  • Understanding of the candidate's growth

An excellent answer to this question might resemble this example:

Example:

"Last year, I was roommates with Sam, someone I'd never met before. I was a little nervous to move in because, as a freshman, I'd never shared a room with anyone before. However, Sam was so great — even though we had very different upbringings and backgrounds, we found lots of things to bond over, like our love of macaroni and cheese and going to the library on Sunday mornings to do our homework.

Sam would probably describe me as a bit shy, but I've definitely found my voice since starting here. Sam would also probably say that I can be too trusting at times, but that my heart is always in the right place."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021