Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 33

The Questions We Ask

RA EXPECTATIONS AND
COMPETENCIES
RAs are an influential population of student
leaders on college campuses (Healea, 2006)
who live and work with students in residence
halls. This part-time job provides student
staff the opportunity to be front line leaders
(Deluga & Masson, 2000) while also serving
as vital links between college students and
universities (Jaeger & Caison, 2006). The
responsibilities and expectations established
for RAs range from maintaining campus
residence halls, enforcing policies, developing community, and assisting students
(Healea, 2006). Successful RAs can foster
an atmosphere of academic, social, cultural, and emotional growth in their respective
residence halls. Throughout the academic
school year, RAs apply virtuous behavior
and character to inspire students on college
campuses with whom RAs regularly interact
(Healea, 2006). This requires a large investment of time by the RAs (Terenzini et al.,
1996) and an ability to make connections
to ensure students have positive residential
experiences.
	
RAs are expected to have more interaction with students than professional student
affairs educators, parents, and faculty members. With near-daily exposure to those who
live in their communities, RAs encourage
students toward academic, social, cultural, and emotional growth (Wu & Stemler,
2008). RAs possessing the ability to relate
closely with students by offering resources
on how to be involved, how to excel in classes, and how to become a leader on campus
are desired. Terenzini et al. (1996) found
that when peer interactions involve educational or intellectual topics, the effects are
almost always beneficial to students. For
that reason, departments seek candidates

30

The Journal of College and University Student Housing

who can effectively lead floor study hours,
specific learning community initiatives, and
target-based programs for their floors.
	
The most successful RAs are approachable, can comfortably interact with their
peers, and proactively take a leadership role
with residents (Deluga & Masson, 2000).
Literature indicates hiring departments are
likely to look for RA candidates who are role
models, leaders, resourceful, able to enforce
policies, and competent in programming
(Healea, 2006; Upcraft, 1982; Wu & Stemler,
2008). However, there is little literature on
interview questions used in hiring qualified
candidates.

STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS
Structured interviews have been shown to
be a better assessment measure during interview processes compared to unstructured
interviews (Levashin et al., 2013). According
to Hartwell et al. (2019), the most common
structured interview questions are situational, past behavior, background, and job
knowledge. Situational interview questions
allow for candidates to answer questions by
describing how they would respond to given scenarios (Huffcutt et al., 2001) while
" past behavior " (or " behavioral " ) questions
ask candidates to discuss how they handled
situations in the past while citing examples
(Huffcutt et al., 2001). Background and job
knowledge questions are designed to understand how well candidates understand the
work they will do and what past experiences would contribute to their success in the
position (Hartwell et al., 2019). In housing
literature, Berg and Stoner (2016) found
structured interviews were more predictive
of future performance than group interviews
or application essays. However, while there
is significant universal research on employ-



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3

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