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Residence Life utilizes new interview process for hiring

March 26, 2009

Residence Life staff used a new interviewing process to hire 42 new resident assistants (RAs) and 23 new desk assistants (DAs).

Residence Life staff interviewed 105 students for 40 minutes in the new interview process called a “multi-interview rotation.”

“It was basically a more sophisticated version of musical chairs. When the music started, it was time to move on to the next pair who was going to interview you. The mood was relaxed, a lot less stressful than I had expected it to be,” new RA Stephanie Marchiafava said.

There were four eight-minute interviews with students seeing two different Residence Life staff members at each rotation. The process of hiring was completed in a single weekend, where in earlier years the process was dragged out for two weeks.

“It gives us a great opportunity to see many different students all in the same weekend,” Assistant Director of Community Development and Education Kristie Feist said. 

Students found that the new process of hiring was very relaxed and easy-going.

“This unique way of hiring was very good. I felt very relaxed and comfortable with the layout and everyone made me feel very welcome. I’m looking forward to starting,” new DA Alexander Nichols said.

During the interview process, Resident Life staff asked questions relating to why the students wanted the position, what would make a good RA/ DA, questions about previous guidance abilities and encounters with conflict.

“The questions were mainly about our past leadership experiences, how we typically handle stressful situations or what we would look to promote in the dorms, e.g. inclusiveness, diversity, etc.,” new RA Colin Seaborg said. 

Marchiafava said that the hardest question was about defining ethics, since everyone has their own definition.

For some students, the RA and DA positions can have perks. As college tuition is climbing, a semester stipend and free room and board makes a big difference.

“To me, it seems almost like getting a scholarship for community service. I will be helping out fellow students on campus and working on homework in the downtime, all while getting paid more than I did at my minimum wage summer job,” Nichols said.

Being an RA or DA also allows students to interact with each other. 

“I had such a rewarding experience. I met many new people and had such a great time planning programs, making door decorations and meeting all the people in the hall,” returning RA Katie Barthel said. 

The new RAs and DAs will begin their training with the Residence Life staff at the RA camp to be held this spring. The training is to introduce the staff to the department and each other. An extensive training program takes place one week before classes begin in the fall.

“I love everything about RA camp—meeting the new RAs, playing tons of fun games, team building exercises, leadership talks and activities. It’s also a great bonding time with your new staff,” Barthel said. “I am very excited to go again this year.”