15+ Best RA (Resident Advisor) Interview Questions & Answers

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If you're looking for RA (or Resident Advisor) interview questions and answers to help you with your upcoming interview, look no further. We've compiled the absolute best RA interview questions to help you get prepared and ace your interview session.

What Is An RA?

The role of an RA (Resident Advisor) is to look over the resident life staff and hall residents and ensure that the quality of their experience within the institution meets quality standards. Life staff or hall residents are sometimes referred to as dormitories and those who stay within dormitories. It is a core part of the RA (Resident Advisor) to look over the well being, morale, culture inclusivity, physical and social qualities of those who are on campus.

Why Become An RA?

Becoming an RA (Resident Advisor) can be a vital part of the resume. Because it encourages you to help with everything and anything people related. Conflict management, people skills, and general accountability or responsibility come with being an RA (Resident Advisor). It is considered to be a leadership role. And those who can clearly portray how they used their time as an RA (Resident Advisor) for greatness can absolutely place this as their first collegiate or postgrad-level position as experience.

17 RA (Resident Advisor) Interview Questions & Answers

1. What is the reason you decided to become a resident advisor?

When it comes down to it, many students will try to take on the resident advisor role because it offers many benefits, from free food to stipends to networking opportunities.

Look for answers that show a genuine interest in giving back to the school community and its students. Interviewees that also express an interest in representing students and aiding them in their academic journey can also be prime candidates.

2. What do you think your average week will look like as a resident advisor?

I plan on helping students with everything I possibly can, from social opportunities to academic help. I believe that adjusting as an individual in a new university should be done as quickly as possible to seamlessly blend into the school’s culture. To help students with this, I’ll have to make myself available as often as possible. I’ll also be participating in staff meetings as often as possible, ask for feedback from my mentors and other students, stay available via phone and email as much as I can outside of class time, and help staff with event organization.

3. Why do you believe you would be an ideal resident advisor for our school?

I have a fairly decent understanding of what it is like to live in the dormitories. I also believe that I have a great approachable presence that can make students feel a little more at ease when asking questions or looking for help. I’ve read the description of RA duties extensively, and I definitely have the necessary skills to excel in this position. I have a passion for this position as well, as I love being in a leadership position and working with other students.

4. What aspects of being a resident advisor do you imagine are the most difficult?

Answers for this question will vary depending on the interviewee. Look for answers that express that the resident advisor job is not an easy free ticket to money, food, housing, etc., and can actually be quite time-consuming and difficult. Also, look for answers that show a sense of responsibility. For example, the resident advisor may have to report a friend of theirs in the dormitory for having a very loud party.

5. What do you believe you can do to improve our school/this particular building?

Answers will vary depending on the school. Ideal answers will show a certain amount of research on a particular building or school. If a student has been a part of the university or building for quite some time, they should know the ins and outs quite well and express what can be done better.

6. Describe an academic goal that you recently reached.

Look for answers that are selfless in nature, as a certain level of selflessness is required of a resident advisor. This can include a recollection of helping a fellow student with a difficult exam through tutoring or reaching a volunteer goal.

7. What motivates you to succeed in a workplace or academic setting?

I enjoy the feeling of pride when I see students I’ve helped reach their academic goals. My community means a lot to me, and I want the people in my circle and myself to succeed. I also love learning new things, especially when they relate to my actual major’s employment market.

8. In what ways do you believe you can blend your resident advisor duties with your student duties?

I’ve worked part-time jobs in the past while attending school, so I think that has given me an advantage when it comes to balancing. I have experience with balancing work and school duties efficiently. Because being a resident advisor involves my school and its student specifically, I think of it as a more immersive academic experience. One that allows me to consider other students and help others, rather than just myself.

9. Describe how you settled a conflict in the past between you and another student.

Of course, answers will differ between students. The ideal answers will show that the prospective resident advisor understands that conflicts happen at any job, including academic assistance. Look for answers that mention using communication techniques to solve a conflict constructively and a lack of interest in starting those conflicts.

10. What sets you apart from the other RA applicants?

I have many strengths and skills that relate to exactly what the job description requires. I also have the experience required to transition into this position seamlessly and with little training. I have a great desire to make a difference, and I really want to help students with their life in the dorms.

11. How would you work to build relationships with students in your position? What would those relationships be like?

Trust is key between a resident advisor and students. It’s a leadership position as well as a guidance position. My job is to be there for the students for many different things, from homework help to adjusting to life at the dorms. I think it is vital for a resident advisor to know how to keep friendships and resident advisor responsibilities separate, which can be difficult. However, platonic, positive, professional, and service-based relationships are key between a resident advisor and a student. My job is to help them in the context of being at the dorms.

12. Let’s say you need to organize a residence hall program on your own with a meager budget. How would you go about this?

I don’t think this would be too difficult to do. Programs should be organized to help students connect on a deeper level and put themselves out there. Programs like this are simply opportunities for friendship and networking. I think with a low budget, I could put together a trivia night, game night, or “themed” gathering with decor easily purchased from a local dollar store.

13. How would you help settle an issue or disagreement between two roommates as a resident advisor?

Solving conflicts between dormitory residents is a big part of being a resident advisor, so it is definitely important to have a conflict resolution strategy. To begin, I would list to each of the students’ side of the issue. Then I would try to encourage and lead a dialogue between the two students to determine the problem's real source. By encouraging them to communicate, I would try to get them to a mutually beneficial resolution. Sometimes, helping roommates draft a contract for their living situation can be a great way to solidify boundaries and rules in a co-living setting. Afterward, I would check up on them to see how everything is going.

14. How will you adjust your academic schedule and lifestyle to fit the resident advisor position?

I need to be busy; it’s just my personality. I really thrive when I have many demands and am faced with the challenge of time management. However, this position will be a priority, and I will adhere to any deadlines.

15. How will you improve and promote diversity in your building/dormitory?

The answers will vary depending on the prospective advisor. Listen for answers that mention the importance of diversity and how it enriches campus culture and creates inclusive atmospheres in the dorms. This can be done by holding cultural events, organizing diversity classes, and providing marginalized students with opportunities to be heard. Another element to look for is the resident advisor’s dedication to taking complaints about hate-related abuse and incidents in the dormitories extremely seriously.

16. When have you had a successful outcome in a situation where you had to be a leader?

Answers should include references to being level-headed and exercise good communication skills. A leader is very different from a “boss,” and it can be very apparent when a prospective leader has considered themselves the latter. Leadership is about teamwork and a greater goal, so any reflective answers that involve teamwork should be noted.

17. How would you help a student feel better about missing their hometown or feeling homesick?

I would do my best to express empathy and compassion for this situation. We’ve all felt homesick at one time or another, and a lot of these students are very young and leaving home for the first time. It can be a scary and disheartening experience for some. I would listen to them intently and ask questions that show that I have been listening to them, rather than just hearing them. I would then offer them a personal story of how I dealt with homesickness so they wouldn’t feel alone. If necessary, I would provide them with easy-to-access mental health services offered by the campus or online.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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