KSA Interview Questions

The EL Hub has created a set of interview questions and evaluation criteria for each of the 26 knowledge, skills, and attitudes students can develop through experiential learning experiences at the University of Guelph.

Knowledge Domain

The ability to make sense of and apply concepts, theories, and practices of business, management, and finance.

Interview Question: Imagine that you are the CEO of a company, and an opportunity for a merger was presented. What are some reasons why this might be happening? What factors would influence your decision?

Rubric: Identifies multiple reasons for a merge. Defines factors that influence mergers. Answer is clear and thought process is shown, demonstrating critical analysis.

The ability to make sense of and apply concepts, theories, and practices from the arts and humanities.

Interview Question: Please describe how you would create a team environment where differences are valued, encouraged, and supported, and provide an example of when you have previously done this.

Rubric: Articulates principles of inclusion. Demonstrates ability to apply theory to real-world practice. Provides an example that supports evidence of this ability.

The ability to make sense of and apply concepts, theories, and practices from communication, scientific, mechanical, and design technologies.

Interview Question: Tell me about a coding project you are proud of. What sparked your interest in the project, and how did you overcome any challenges?

Rubric: Demonstrates genuine interest in the project. Clear explanation of coding and technical skills used to complete project. Demonstrates problem-solving when describing how challenges were overcome.

The ability to make sense of and apply mathematical concepts, theories, and practices.

Interview Question: There’s one box that has 12 black and 12 red cards, and a second box that has 24 black and 24 red. If you want to draw 2 cards at random from one of the 2 boxes, which box has the higher probability of getting the same color? Please explain your thought process.

Rubric: Examines the two options using probability concepts. Arrives at a clear decision. Explains thought process using plain language.

The ability to make sense of and apply scientific concepts, theories, and practices from the natural, social, and applied sciences.

Interview Question: Please provide an example of how you applied quantitative or qualitative research and evaluation methods for data collection and analysis. What did you learn from that experience?

Rubric: Provides clear example of research experience. Identifies how they completed data collection and analysis.Demonstrates thoughtful reflection of the experience.

Skills Domain

Communication Skills

The ability to exchange information and ideas with other people through speech, active listening, and non-verbal cues.

Interview Question: Please describe a time when you had to actively listen to someone else. Why is active listening important and how did you show them that you were actively listening?

Rubric: Describe understanding of active listening. Demonstrates understanding of importance of active listening. Identify at least three markers of active listening.

The ability to find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.

Interview Question: What do you think are important things to consider when creating marketing materials that are not only visually appealing but are appropriate for a wide audience? Can you provide an example of when you have done this before?

Rubric: Explains their definition of effective visual communication. Demonstrates understanding of accessibility in a communication context. Provides clear example of when they have done this previously.

The ability to communicate information and ideas through written or typed text.

Interview Question: How would you go about breaking a complex task into instructions for someone else on your team? Please provide an example of when you have done this previously.

Rubric: Explains how to create clear instructions through prioritization. Demonstrates understanding of written communication. Provides clear example of when they have done this previously.

Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

The ability to imagine and devise new ways of addressing problems, answering questions, or expressing meaning through the application, synthesis, or repurposing of knowledge.

Interview Question: Based on your understanding of the role, if you were given the opportunity to make any change to the [programs/projects/services] this role is involved, with what would you change and why?

Rubric: Identifies a potential change. Demonstrates understanding of the role. Provides explanation for the change. Demonstrates ability to identify a new creative or innovative approach.

The ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate situations, ideas and information.

Interview Question: Imagine that you and your teammates disagree on how to approach a task. How would you go about finding a solution? What have you done in the past when a disagreement occurred?

Rubric: Clearly describes their approach to finding a solution. Considers different factors involved in this situation. Identifies specific solution.

The ability to integrate and apply relevant information from a variety of sources into new or broader contexts.

Interview Question: If you were successful in being selected for this role, what is one way that you would translate your existing interests or knowledge into your work?

Rubric: Identifies related interests/knowledge. Demonstrates clear understanding of the role. Connects existing interest/knowledge with the role.

The ability to assess, prioritize, and evaluate potential solutions to problems by asking relevant questions, identifying root causes, and gathering facts.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you had to come up with a creative solution to a problem. What was the problem, how did you identify a solution, and is there anything you would do differently in the future?

Rubric: Provides context about the problem that needed solving. Explains how they evaluated possible solutions. Articulates what did/did not go well with the result. Demonstrates ability to identify and enact possible solutions to problems.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to identify sources of conflict and take steps to minimize or overcome disharmony.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a coworker or group project member. What steps did you follow to resolve this disagreement?

Rubric: Identifies steps for resolving a disagreement. Focuses on finding a mutual resolution to disagreement. Emphasizes importance of maintaining a positive workplace relationship. Demonstrates understanding of differing perspectives.

The ability to direct, guide, and motivate others to accomplish a common goal or purpose.

Interview Question: Imagine taking the lead on a group project or a collaborative task. How would you go about motivating others to accomplish a common goal? What values would guide your approach?

Rubric: Describes a plan for motivating a group towards a common goal. Pays consideration to different strengths and interests among a group. Identifies the values that would guide them as a leader.

The ability to communicate, interrelate, and function well in diverse social and cultural settings.

Interview Question: Imagine that you are approached by a team member who lets you know that you used a term that was not inclusive and carries a problematic meaning that you were unaware of. How would you respond?

Rubric: Describes how they would respond. Acknowledges the harm caused by using the term. Demonstrates willingness to learn and do better in the future.

The ability to contribute to the shared purpose of a group, network or partnership through a commitment to sharing power, resources, expertise, and perspectives.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time where you worked with a team to successfully complete a project. This could be a school project, volunteer experience, or work experience. What was your specific role, and what did you learn about teamwork from this experience?

Rubric: Provides clear example of a teamwork scenario. Explains their individual their role on the team and how they contributed. Articulates what they gained from this experience. Demonstrates ability to work well with others in a professional and positive manner.

Project Management Skills

The ability to make timely decisions based on thorough assessment of short- and long-term effects, recognizing political and ethical implications on those affected.

Interview Question: Tell me about a difficult decision you have had to make. This could come from personal experience, a job, or school project. What factors impacted your decision, and how did you evaluate which option to choose? Reflecting today on that decision, do you feel this was the right choice?

Rubric: Identifies a clear process for decision making. Defines factors that impacted the different options. Reflects on impact of decision and considers potential ethical implications.

The ability to locate, select, organize, and document information from a variety of sources using appropriate technology and information systems.

Interview Question: Tell me about the steps you take when writing a research paper. How do you organize information to ensure everything is properly referenced and is from a credible source? What tools or strategies do you use?

Rubric: Identifies relevant tools and showcases organizational skills. Demonstrates evidence of critical thinking when evaluating sources. Provides specific example to support these skills.

The ability to establish tasks and allocate resources to meet objectives, monitor progress, and revise plans to reflect new information.

Interview Question: Tell us about a time that you had to break down a larger project into smaller tasks. How did you break up the project, set timelines, and ensure that all tasks were completed? This can be an example from school, work, or volunteering.

Rubric: Identifies how project was broken down into tasks. Articulates how they set appropriate timelines to ensure project completion. Describes how they monitored completion. Demonstrates ability to navigate multiple tasks to complete a project.

The ability to manage several tasks at once, being able to set priorities and allocate time efficiently to meet deadlines.

Interview Question: If you were asked to complete a list of tasks in this role all due on the same date, how would you go about choosing which task to complete first? How would you ensure that all tasks are completed?

Rubric: Articulates their process for prioritizing tasks. Demonstrates good judgement with prioritization based on several factors (ie. urgency, who is involved, who benefits from task). Describes how they would manage their time to ensure tasks are all completed. 

Attitudes Domain

The ability to show flexibility and openness to changing plans, methods, opinions or goals in light of new information and changing circumstances. Ability to work both independently and part of a team.

Interview Question: Sometimes it is necessary to work in changing circumstances, where plans can change based on new information. When working as a team, what do you think is important when it comes to adjusting to situations that you don't have control over?

Rubric: Identifies a minimum of two considerations that are important. Articulates principles of effective teamwork. Demonstrates proactive, adaptable attitude towards uncertainty and change.

The ability to ask questions and demonstrate open-mindedness and inquisitiveness.

Interview Question: If you had to teach yourself a new skill, what would it be and why? Also, what resources would you use?

Rubric: Identifies something new they would teach themselves. Clearly explains what resources they would use to learn. Provides a reason for learning that demonstrates curiosity and enthusiasm.

A willingness to proactively take on responsibilities and challenges.

Interview Question: Please describe a time when you took the initiative to solve a problem. What impact did you make?

Rubric: Identifies problem that needed to be solved. Clearly provides example of how they solved the problem. Explains impact or result of solving the problem.

The ability to sustain interest, effort and motivation to persevere in accomplishing a task or goal.

Interview Question: How do you motivate yourself to keep going and reach a goal that may suddenly have become more challenging to reach?

Rubric: Provides a specific example instead of speaking in generalities. Articulates principles of intrinsic motivation when working towards a goal. Demonstrates keen attitude towards unexpected challenges.

The ability to set personal and professional goals, be accountable for actions, consider the needs of others, attend proactively to one’s mental and physical wellbeing, and work safely.

Interview Question: What does accountability mean to you? How have you been accountable to others in a previous experience?

Rubric: Provides sound definition of accountability. Identifies an experience where they demonstrated accountability. Demonstrates understanding of the impact they can have on others when it comes to upholding personal responsibility.

The ability to acknowledge and reflect on personal strengths, areas for development, values, limits, feelings, motivations, and biases.

Interview Question: If I were to ask a previous supervisor, coworker or group project member about a skill or personal quality that you could improve on, what would they say and why?

Rubric: Identifies a skill or quality they can improve. Demonstrates genuine self-reflection through taking on the perspective of others. Provides rationale or example for why they can improve in this area.

Experience Profiles