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What to expect in an interview for Research/Graduate assistant position


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I've only had one real interview for an RA position (of the 4 I've held so far) and the prof spent most of the time explaining the project and what would be involved. Then, based on the experience I had listed on my resume, she asked specific questions about how my past experience would help me complete the job she had in mind.

Good luck!

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booksnlooks described all of my interviews for similar positions perfectly! (Note: mostly undergraduate research assistant positions but the one graduate one I did was exactly the same).

To expand more on my experience with the "specific questions about past experience", I've usually been asked if I could do something or explain a simple concept. They are often clarification of something on my CV/resume. For example, one interviewer asked a question like "Do you know how to program a routine in C that would solve a matrix equation?". They didn't ask me to code it up on the spot though. It was a clarification on whether or not my computer science / linear algebra class covered that topic. Sometimes they would ask if I understood some fundamental concepts required for the project. A good way to say yes is to briefly explain your (basic) understanding of the concept. 

Finally, they will also often ask if you have questions and will usually expect you to ask questions! This is an important part as it shows you are interested and have been thinking about the project in mind. If you are interviewing for a specific project, be sure to read up on it and come up with some big picture and basic questions. If you don't know ahead of time, pay close attention during their description and ask thoughtful questions. Often times, the professor will end up deciding between many people who are all qualified for the position, so being interested/excited about the work can go a long way too!

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