How To Prepare For UK University Lectureship Interview

Preparation towards the interview for a UK University lectureship should include questions about research and thesis. Here are some sample questions from academic interview panels.

The Academic Faculty and other representatives on the interview panel will have followed the selection criteria set out to all prospective applicants. All candidates who have made the short-list for a University lectureship will have a doctorate or equivalent experience and will be expected to answer questions about their research program.

Any candidate on the short-list could be appointed to the lectureship on the day of the interview, so in their preparation, stronger candidates will include responses about research in equal measures to stock teaching questions.

“Because interviews are so predictable, they’re controllable” writes Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. in The Complete Q & A Job Interview Book (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2000). An authority on the interview process and best-selling author, Jeffrey G. Allen continues “Only the places and face change – not the words. And you can have them all embedded in your subconscious, ready for instant replay at the drop of an interesting job lead”.

The Interview

Expect an interview for a UK lectureship to be at least 45 minutes long and to cover questions relating to teaching, research and administration. The Chair of the academic interview panel or committee usually starts the interview with general questions followed by a set of questions about teaching from student representatives, the Director of Education, Head of Teaching Unit or Department Chair.

Once the questions on teaching practice, teaching preparation, teaching-related administration have been posed, supervising research students may conclude this section of the interview:

  • Outline how you would approach supervising an undergraduate project to completion.
  • Describe how you would approach supervising a Master’s dissertation.
  • How would you describe your philosophy of research supervision?
  • What do you see as the main role and responsibilities as a supervisor?
  • What do you see as the main responsibilities of a student?
  • In your opinion how do you offer the best supervision possible?
  • How do you encourage and motivate students to complete within the designated time?

In many interviews for a UK lectureship, a set of questions relating to research – asked by the Director of Research – usually follows.

Sample Interview Questions

Only one person’s efforts on the day of the interview can be prepared for. Sample questions about the research contribution of lecturers to academic university departments are summarized below:

  • Describe briefly your research career to date.
  • Give an example of an aspect of your research that defines distinction in your field.
  • How would you describe the research that you do?
  • What collaborations or networks are you tapped into?
  • What attracts you to conducting research at [name of university]?
  • What attracts you to conducting research in [subjects or discipline]?
  • How do you go about submitting research applications?
  • What is your strategy for generating income to fund research?
  • Describe how you would work with other colleagues in the [organizational unit where post is based]?
  • What do you think will be the next hot topic in your area?
  • What opportunities do you feel there would be for multidisciplinary research?
  • What opportunities do you feel there would be for interdisciplinary research?
  • What experience do you have of working with industry?
  • How do you feel that your work can be commercialized?
  • What experience do you have of working in the community?
  • If selected for this post, what program of research would you imagine establishing?

If the overall expected time for the interview is one hour, prospective lecturers should prepare for 20 to 25 minutes of questions and answers relating to research. If the candidates were asked to submit one or two research papers with their application for the lectureship, questions relating to their published research will be the initial lead.

By preparing answers to academic panel questions about research in equal measures to teaching, candidates for lectureships can ensure that they will perform well in a university-based interview.

Author’s bio:

Beatrice Howell, writer and editor for

A high qualification, experience in students’ newspapers, Beatrice works with dissertations, essays, articles, reviews, summaries and other students’ work, helps in university selection and preparation to entry exams.

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