Resident Assistant Interview Questions With Example Answers

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A resident assistant (RA) helps students with their academic and personal challenges and encourages their participation in social activities. Both graduates and undergraduates are eligible to apply for RA roles that can help develop relevant employment skills. Knowing how to answer interview questions may help you prepare for your interview and answer questions to the best of your ability. In this article, we look at the job description and roles of an RA and give some examples of common interview questions and possible answers.

Related: How To Crack A Job Interview

Why do recruiters ask resident assistant interview questions?

When recruiters are assessing prospective candidates, they usually base resident assistant interview questions on the role and responsibilities of the position. A resident assistant (RA), sometimes referred to as a resident mentor, handles student mentorship, ensures students are aware of the residence codes of conduct and promotes social activities. So, common interview topics include academic background, previous leadership roles and whether they have experience as part of a team responsible for implementing a project. Other areas that the recruiter may ask about are communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills.

General interview questions

Below are some generic questions that recruiters might ask. Although they may not directly relate to the job, they can help the recruiters get to know more about you. They include:

  1. How does this job fit in with your career goals and aspirations?

  2. Can you tell us about a recent professional achievement?

  3. What professional achievement are you most proud of?

  4. What do you consider your strengths?

  5. What are some areas that you would like to develop?

  6. Are you a team player or do you prefer to work alone?

  7. Where do you see yourself in five years?

  8. How did you get to know about us?

  9. Why would you like to work here?

  10. Do you have anything you would like to ask?

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How To Get The Job

Interview questions about background and experience

Below are questions recruiters could use to evaluate your work experience:

  1. Why do you work as an RA? Have you considered other career roles?

  2. What, in your opinion, is the most challenging aspect of working as an RA?

  3. What steps would you consider if a student refused to follow your instructions?

  4. What methods do you think are effective when implementing a rule?

  5. How do you try to balance being approachable and friendly to foster a sense of community while still enforcing the residence rules?

  6. How do you look to make the resident hall more welcoming to students with unique backgrounds?

  7. Can you give an example of an activity that would keep students more involved during floor events?

  8. Give some examples of why you think you might make a good RA.

  9. Have you been a mentor to someone? If so, can you give an example of some good advice you gave?

  10. Is there something you have learned since becoming an RA that you have found useful in the job?

  11. Describe a situation where you feel you coped well under pressure.

  12. Tell us about a major challenge you faced at your previous job and how you managed it.

In-depth interview questions

Interviewers may ask the following questions, depending on where you are applying or the number of applicants:

  1. What do you consider the most effective strategy for implementing a rule or regulation?

  2. How do you balance reaching out to students and trying to build a community by enforcing the rules?

  3. How do you plan on making the residence hall more inclusive for all kinds of students?

  4. How would you deal with a student who refuses to follow your lead?

  5. Can you give us an example of an activity you'd like to implement and that may help you build a stronger community?

  6. Can you mention a piece of advice that you would've found useful before working as a resident assistant?

  7. How do you intend to combine your academics with being an RA?

  8. What attributes, skills or qualities may make you stand out from other candidates?

  9. What value do you think you can add to this institution?

  10. Have you ever been someone's coach or mentor and can you describe the experience?

  11. How do you handle stress?

  12. What motivates you?

Read more: Tips For A Successful Skype Interview

Resident assistant interview questions with example answers

Below are some questions with possible answers for each:

1. As an RA, how would you deal with an emergency?

An RA is often the first person a student approaches if they have an emergency or problem. Recruiters who ask this question may have an interest in your ability to remain calm but still follow rules under pressure.

Example answer: 'I would examine the situation first and decide what I considered the best course of action. Next, I would likely notify my manager, giving them a quick summary of the issue and wait for their advice. I may also report to the relevant authorities if it is an emergency that could have serious consequences.'

2. What unique qualities help make a good RA?

Recruiters ask this question to determine whether you are aware of the essential qualities of the role. When answering this question, it is always helpful to highlight your communication and leadership skills and your ability to manage a wide range of people. Try to further emphasise your strengths, technical know-how and how they align with the job responsibilities. You could also share an experience of something positive that you brought to a previous job and how you can bring value to this one.

Example answer: 'An important characteristic of an RA is good leadership, trying to serve as a role model for the students. As a good resident mentor, it is important that you are able to communicate effectively and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. I believe I have these qualities, and they have helped me build relationships with people in the past, especially students.'

3. If you are friends with a resident, how would you look to prevent favouritism?

The main purpose of this question is to assess your ability to remain professional even when you have a close relationship with a resident. Recruiters ask this to assess your capacity to put personal feelings aside and treat everyone equally.

Example answer: 'It is my responsibility to keep track of all residents' behaviour and take any appropriate action if they appear to have broken any rules. I would also try to ensure that my friend knows that any rule that applies to other residents applies to them too.'

Read more: How To Use The STAR Interview Response Technique

4. If you got this job, how would you build positive relationships with students as a resident assistant?

Recruiters usually ask this question to assess the candidate's ability to connect with people quickly and be approachable to students, while maintaining professionalism. You can answer by outlining these qualities.

Example answer: 'I understand the importance of building relationships with students and for that reason, I would begin by introducing myself to every student. My approach would be an open one, as I attempt to build trust and make residents feel comfortable coming to me with various issues. I would also be mindful to balance between my professional duties and cordial relationships.'

5. Describe a time that you faced a tough decision.

As an RA, there may be times that call for you to make a difficult decision. This could range from resolving resident problems to deciding the course of action you might take when a student commits a minor offence to maintain the school's high standards. Interviewers ask this question to find out your approach to dealing with such a situation.

Example answer: 'On one occasion, I had to decide whether to tell the school management about a young girl I caught smoking behind the hostel. If I had disclosed this information, they might have asked her to leave the residence hall. I realised she was going through a difficult time, and this was an isolated incident. So instead of reporting her, I referred her to a counsellor.'

6. How do you intend to combine your academics with being an RA?

Aim to give some examples of occasions when you balanced outside activities with your studies. Use this opportunity to emphasise your organisational and time management skills and your ability to prioritise tasks.

Example answer: 'A few months back, I had a biochemistry test the morning after a campfire night I organised for with the students but that did not stop me from getting a B+ on the test. Most times I have strict weekly schedules and a rough idea of things I want and need to get done in a month. With structures like this that I have put in place for myself, it is easier to balance out all my responsibilities. I do not deny that it could be challenging but over time, I have learnt to keep it all in check. Moreover, asides from my RA role, I do not have major commitments in other extracurricular activities.'

7. Describe how you would resolve a conflict between two students.

The way you deal with disagreements can show your leadership capability. Recruiters may want to see your approach to diffusing potential conflicts.

Example answer: 'First, I would listen to both students' sides of the story to identify the cause of the issue. I would then bring them together so both could give their points of view. After doing my best to identify the cause of the problem, I would try to settle the dispute and continue to speak with them regularly to ensure there were no ongoing issues.'

Explore more articles