Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 64

Factors Residence Life Professionals
Consider When Selecting Teams
of Resident Assistants
SIGNIFICANT LITERATURE exists exploring interview and selection processes

broadly, but little research specific to Resident Assistant (RA) interviews is available.
Studies on RA interview processes include quantitative studies connecting interview
scores to job performance or discussions of bias within processes. The purpose
of this qualitative study is to interview residence life professionals (RLPs) who
interview, select, and place RAs on teams to understand what criteria they consider
throughout the RA hiring process. This study explores the thought process of RLPs to
understand the qualities they seek in RA candidates on an individual basis as well
as when building teams. We will specifically discuss the factors and findings related
to placing a team in this article. Through generic qualitative interviews, fifteen
RLPs share their experiences and criteria. When building teams of RAs, RLPs are
interested in teams being representative of the student population in demographics
and identity, having versatile teams with a variety of skills and personalities, and
teams that can work well together. Implications for practice are discussed in an
effort to reduce bias in the interview process and ensure that RLPs are measuring
the skills and qualities they are looking for in an RA within interview processes.
We then share recommendations for future research to increase the body of
literature on RA interviews and selection.

R

esident Assistants (RAs) serve a crucial
function and fulfill many roles in supporting students on college campuses
(Blimling, 2010; Blimling & Miltenberger,
1990; Boyer, 1987; Murray et al., 1999). RAs
are representatives of the institution and
help keep campus safe for students (Letarte,
2013). With such a high level of responsibility, residence life professionals (RLPs) invest
a significant amount of time and resources

on RA recruitment and selection each year to
hire the best candidates (Berg & Stoner, 2016;
Jaeger & Caison, 2006; Smailagic & Wiggin,
2014). Students selected as RAs need to be
well-equipped to be successful in the role after training (Jaeger & Caison, 2006).
	
However, little research exists regarding
what qualities make a successful RA and RA
team. The available research in this area is
quantitative, primarily focusing on how can-

Volume 47, No. 3 * 2021

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

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