Sample Interview Questions
This list of sample interview questions will help you to begin preparing to succeed in the interview. You may be asked questions similar to these in type or in content, or you may be asked different questions. Since every job opportunity at the University of Toronto is posted and comes with a specific job posting and job description, the questions you will be asked will relate directly to the qualifications required and the responsibilities of the job. It is important to read the job posting carefully, find out as much as you can about the position and then begin to develop your own list of questions to expect.
Click on the headings below to see some sample questions and to print off a list that you might want to prepare.
Please select from each group and select print to have a printable version.
Please introduce yourself to us?
Why are you interested in this position at this point in your career?
What do you know about this department/unit/faculty/division?
How does this position fit with your career goals?
Why are you the best candidate for this role?
How do you like to be managed?
What would you enjoy most about this position?
What would you find challenging about this role?
What are two of your weaknesses and how do you manage them?
What are your top strengths?
How would your colleagues describe you?
Do you have any questions?
Why are you leaving your current role?
General Probing Questions
Give us an example that demonstrates your ability to multi-task while meeting multiple and challenging deadlines.
Tell us about a time when you and your supervisor disagreed? How was it resolved?
Please provide us with an example that demonstrates how you have integrated the principles of equity and diversity into your work? (You may further be asked: What was the issue that you addressed? What was your process for addressing it? What feedback did you receive?)
Tell us about a busy work week and the tools you used to stay organized? (You may further be asked: What made the week busy? How did the organizational tools assist you? How did you feel about how you handled the week?)
What is the most difficult decision that you have made in your current position? (You may further be asked: What was the decision and what made it difficult? What was the impact of that decision? Having had time to reflect, was it a good decision?)
Can you give us an example of a time when you contributed to the effectiveness of your department? (You may further be asked: What was the situation? What was your contribution? What was the impact of your contribution?)
What is the most complicated accessibility case that you have been involved in? (You may further be asked: What was the situation? What was your role? What actions did you take? What did you learn?)
This position requires administrative support for several courses in the faculty. Describe an experience where you handled multiple competing deadlines and how you handled them.
You are in the process of sending out information about an upcoming deadline to students when a faculty member realizes her materials are not ready to post on Blackboard, as she made an error. She seems to react with panic, what would you do?
What aspects of an administrative job do you find most stimulating and why? What aspect do you least enjoy and why?
This position requires a great deal of managing materials (e.g. course and curriculum materials, manuals, examinations etc.). How has your previous experience prepared you for this type of work?
Tell us about a challenging enquiry you received from either a faculty member or from the public. How did you handle it?
Imagine that a student/staff/faculty member is taking up more of your administrative time than you think is appropriate, how would you handle the situation?
Tell us about a situation where you demonstrated exceptional customer service skills. What did you do? What was the outcome?
Describe the most challenging situation you have encountered in scheduling a meeting or other event. How did you handle it?
What 3 words would you use to describe your administrative skills?
How would you describe your technical skills? Tell us about the AMS systems with which you have worked and your level of expertise in each of them.
How do you remain up to date on UofT policies?
What is the greatest amount of pressure you have been under in recent years? (You may be asked: What was the situation and what made it high pressure? How did you handle it? How did you feel about how you handled it?)
Student Academic/Student Life
This position requires student advising skills. A student comes to your desk and tells you that he is worried about his financial situation and the ability to continue on as a graduate student. How would you handle this scenario?
Imagine that a prospective student phones you to find out how to apply to a graduate degree in this Department. What would you tell them about this graduate program? What resources would you direct them to and why?
Tell us about your experiences advising students on completing their degree requirements?
Tell us about a challenging student academic issue that you handled and how you resolved it.
What 3 words would you use to describe your student advising skills and why?
You are in the process of processing admission files and a prospective student demands to see the Chair/Registrar because they were declined admittance. How would you handle this situation?
You are in the process of sending out information about an upcoming deadline that needs to be sent immediately when a student comes to you panicked that they will not be able to complete their degree. What would you do?
Imagine that a student comes to your office and requests special consideration, as they missed writing a final exam. How would you handle this situation?
What do you know about this program? What would you tell a prospective student about this program?
Tell us about a time you encountered a difficult student and how you handled it.
How do you ensure that your events are culturally sensitive to a diverse group of students?
Describe a time when you went out of your way to help a particular student. (You may be asked: What was the situation? What did you do? What was the student’s response?)
You receive a call from a parent wanting to know if his/her daughter has passed the term. The parent is very persistent and wants her daughter’s grade reports. How do you deal with the situation?
Describe a situation where you counseled a student who was angry or upset. (You may be asked: What was the situation? What was your approach to counselling the student? What was the outcome?)
You are in the process of completing a report that is due today when a faculty member realizes that they have an important deadline to meet tomorrow and come to you distressed and asks for help. What would you do?
Imagine a senior research associate comes to you requesting that you prepare a cheque for them for an upcoming conference as their Principal Investigator is away and cannot sign. How would you handle this situation?
Tell us about a time you uncovered an error in a budget report? How did you handle it?
Describe your budgeting and forecasting experience?
Describe how you have previously developed a budget for a capital project and the steps you took to ensure it was accurate and comprehensive?
How do you remain current on U of T financial policies?
Tell us about your experience with research grants? How do you ensure that they are processed to meet both the University and Grant funding agency requirements?
Describe your experience with preparing payroll? What levels and types of employees does your payroll experience include?
As the Finance Director you need to ensure the day to day operations of the faculty run smoothly. Tell me about a time when you introduced a new system or process that improved efficiency and effectiveness.
Tell us about the largest and most complex financial plan or budget that you have worked on. (You may be asked: What made it complex? What was your responsibility? What, if any special considerations did you need to make in your work? What was the outcome of your work?)
You will be providing IT technical services to a diverse client group. What type of help desk experience have you had?
Tell us about your technical expertise in this area? Have you worked with these systems? If so how?
This is a high volume position in which you will be receiving client requests through an online technical support and tracking system. Describe your experience with providing timely service to clients?
Tell us about a time when you detected a possible security breach and how you handled it?
How do you learn about new technology at UofT?
Tell us about your role in ensuring the network and server infrastructure is well maintained.
What is the most recent leading edge technology that you have learned on your own initiative and outside of your role here
Tell us about a time you anticipated a security breach that could have resulted in unauthorized access to confidential information. How did you handle it?
This position requires exceptional project management skills. Tell us about a project where you encountered significant challenges and how you managed them?
How would you approach evaluating a variety of different technical options to better improve a system for our users?
Tell us about a time you were in the process of developing a website and you encountered difficulties. How did you handle? What resources did you utilize?
How do you learn about the latest systems and technologies available that might be relevant to UofT?
Give us an example of a contribution you have made that could be described as leading edge or innovative?
How would you begin to work on the transformation of this Department’s web presence and what tools would you utilize to support the process?
How has your previous communications experience prepared you for this role?
This position involves developing a variety of communications materials for the Faculty/Department. This includes the website, producing copy and preparation of publications. Tell us about your experience with these aspects
How would you evaluate our communications and marketing? What analytics would you use to measure effective communications strategies in this role?
Describe a difficult story which you had to write. How did you manage the expectations of the different stakeholders?
Tell us about a communications strategy you developed that demonstrates creativity?
Do you have a vision or ideas to enhance our visibility? Please provide details of how you would implement your ideas.
How would you ensure a communications strategy is leading edge considering rapidly changing demographics and new technologies?
Tell us about a time you pitched a successful story? How did you arrive at the story and what was the outcome?
Tell us about a challenging writing project and the steps you took to produce a successful outcome?
What are 2 of the best practices that you employ when utilizing social media?
How would you evaluate our various publications? What strategies do you find effective to communicate technical information to a non-technical reader?
This position requires you to meet regular deadlines while dealing with competing demands in a fast paced environment. Tell us about an intense experience that demonstrates this ability
Describe a social media initiative in which you were involved. What were the challenges and was the impact of it on your team’s success?