Too many candidates talk about prospective teaching as if its value were entirely self-evident, or they simply lean on the intrinsic intellectual interest of the topic. Instead, think in terms of outcomes and learning objectives, because evaluation is integral to good teaching. What will the students get out of the course? What work will you set, and how will it be assessed? What skills will they acquire? How will it complement the rest of their studies?
I would be happy to contribute to some of the existing courses you run, such as x and y but I also have a few ideas of my own that I feel would appeal to students in the x year of their education. [Describe the course] I feel that it would fit into your curriculum particularly well because it complements your other courses in x field but is unique because it covers an earlier time period or uses different resources [examples].
Keep it brief. Give a definition related to actions and results.
This is key, because it's one of a few typical interview questions that gives you a chance to really sell yourself and all your relevant skills. Regardless of whether or not you have any professional experience in a similar role, you can still talk about the skills you picked up during your degree, an internship or part-time job.
If you've already been offered an interview, the chances are that the interviewer is aware of what experience you have and sees potential in you. With this in mind, refrain from making excuses for holes in your skillset, and instead try to provide examples of times when you've utilized the skills they're looking for in a different context. If you're a new graduate, now's the chance to highlight all the ‘transferable skills' you gained during your degree, such as analytical ability, written and spoken communication skills and IT mastery, to name but a few.
What happens if your hypothesis is wrong? Your experiments fail? You can't get access to the archive you need? Your grant is unsuccessful? Don't pretend that your research is impervious to failure. Doing so will probably come across as denial or, worse, a lack of self-awareness. What matters is how you handle setbacks, and how you plan to overcome predictable hiccups.
‘in the next year I will be finishing up the revisions on my manuscript for x book which is due for publication on x date. I have several other projects on the go that I wish to pursue after that [give details]; if my funding applications to the x and y grant bodies are successful I should be able to see those projects to publication by [give date].'
Interviewers don't recruit candidates who see themselves in solipsistic isolation. So, based on all your preparatory research into this employer, identify the specific ways that your work aligns with their needs and priorities. Think about: particular specialisms, research clusters, possible collaborations, undergraduate or graduate curricula, interdisciplinary links with other departments, outreach initiatives, etc. Don't turn this into a conceptual answer – ground what you say in a couple of specific, tangible examples.
List three or more attractive factors and only one minor unattractive factor.
This might be your highest-impact paper, but it doesn't have to be. What counts is that you give a sound rationale for your choice. Perhaps you're proudest of the paper which marks a transitional moment in your research or your career. Or perhaps it's the paper that you know had a direct, positive impact on someone else's work. It doesn't matter, as long as you've thought it through.
This can be one of the trickier common job interview questions, especially if your resounding motivation is just to be able to pay the bills one month from now. Here you should remind yourself that although bill-paying is a high priority, passion and interest in your work is even more important. Even if that passion and interest comes from high-earning potential!
To answer this question, put money to the back of your mind and focus on why the job advertisement appealed to you personally. For instance, let your interviewer know if you're interested in the work the company produces, the culture it offers or the progression the role promises.