When you attend the grad student meeting, you can feel free to ask the candidate pretty much anything you want, as long as your questions are appropriate. Here are some starter ideas for things that we as grad. students might be interested in. They're good for keeping the conversation going if it starts to lag, but keep in mind that not all questions will be appropriate for all candidates.


  • What is your advisor/group like? How did you find that style?
  • What do you think your own advising style will be like, relative to that of your own advisor?
  • What's the one thing that will differentiate your advising from that of your advisor?
  • How closely do you work with your own advisor? Daily/weekly/monthly meetings? Do you write the papers, or does s/he? Is it joint? Does the advisor look at code, or simply give high-level direction? How do you see this happening with your own students?
  • How might you advise a student who does not react well to (whatever style the candidate has described)?
  • How might you deal with an advisee who for whatever reason isn't performing at a level that you consider to be acceptable?
  • How might you deal with an advisee who is performing acceptably academically, but with whom the personal relationship is uncomfortable or stressful?


  • What types of collaborations have you worked on in the past?
  • How do you see yourself fitting into the (approrpiate research area) group here at UW? How are you different from the existing faculty? How does your work complement theirs?
  • Do you see yourself collaborating with corporate interests like Microsoft, Intel, Google? What advantages and pitfalls do you see in such collaborations?
  • Do you see yourself commercializing your research, and if so how do you see yourself meeting the demands of commercialization while maintaining your role as a faculty member?


  • What teaching experience do you have?
  • Have you had the chance to supervise any undergraduates or younger grad students? How were the experiences different?
  • What is the most difficult teaching experience you've encountered? What would you do to avoid it, or what might you have handled differently?
  • How might you deal with a class in which the students have widely varying backgrounds or skill levels?
  • What type of new class can you see yourself developing at UW?


  • What is the student community like in your department? How do you wish it would have been different, or what would you have liked to change?
  • Have you participated in any non-research activities in your department over the course of your graduate career?
  • How do you feel about graduate student involvement in running a department? Is it beneficial? Does it hinder the faculty? Does it take away from valuable research time?
  • What experience do you have dealing with diversity issues in computer science?


  • Why are you interviewing in academia? Why do you want to be a professor?
  • Why UW?
  • What was the most difficult experience you encountered in your graduate career? What might you do as a faculty member to help your own students avoid such a situation?
  • What was your favorite graduate student experience?
  • Beyond your research strengths, what would you add to our department?
  • What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you as you transition from student to faculty?


  • Why are you choosing to leave your current institution/situation? (Be very tactful about the way you ask this!!!)

...you get the point. The meeting is our chance to get to know the candidate, and you get to ask more or less whatever you want in order to make that happen. A lot of times it's not the actual answer that is important, but the manner in which the candidate responds and shows (or doesn't) his/her enthusiasm.

As a final note, please remember that there are a few topics that we aren't officially allowed to ask the candidate about. Do not ask them anything personal, such as whether they are married, have a two-body problem, have children, etc. While these questions are generally not offensive, they can unintentionally put the candidate in an uncomfortable situation--the interview is the first step in our attempt to recruit them to come to UW, so we don't want to do that!