You applied for the job and they noticed you. Now, the company wants to get to know you more during an interview to see if you’re the right fit for their organization. NutritionJobs reached out to many wonderful dietetic professionals to get the best job interview tips from the pros. Here’s the advice you need to prepare for the interview. – Sarah
One of the most important things a job applicant can do is to be on time. If it is an in-person interview, arrive a few minutes early. Showing up (or calling if it is a phone appointment) at the right time immediately sends the message that you are able to organize yourself and keep commitments. Arriving early will allow you to take a few moments to breathe and relax so you can make a winning impression!
Faye Berger Mitchell, RDN, LDN,
You must know the company – put on your researcher hat and learn as much as you can about the company or employer as possible. In my many years in management, conducting hundreds of interviews, those candidates who came prepared to answer questions about the background and history, accomplishments and challenges, and with their own informed opinions about how they, as an employee, could bring value to the company or employer, were the candidates that got the second interview – or were hired.
Susan Burke March, MSEd, RDN, LDN, CDE
Craft a brief, yet thoughtful “story statement” about yourself. Inevitably, the first question you’ll be asked in an interview is “tell me about yourself.” Rather than give a boring answer about your education or latest job, reveal a bit about what has influenced, motivated, and inspired you. Then, connect it to why you’re interested in (and would be perfect for) the specific job position. This approach helps to spark a connection with the interviewer. And it shows you’re a person, not a resume.
Laura Chalela Hoover, MPH, RDN
Be passionate and like what you do. Might sound obvious, but employees can see through this right away. You might not meet all the check boxes when applying for a job, but what will differentiate you from the other applicants will be your sincere passion and enthusiasm. Don’t just tell an employer you’re excited to work there, but rather show them you are prepared and dedicated.
Marina Chaparro, RDN, CDE, MPH
What I have found to be true is that you need to remain true to yourself. If you limit your job search to those you truly feel passionate about, if you believe in your ability to fill the position with vigor, and if you can picture yourself growing in the position, your enthusiasm for the job will radiate through you during your interview. Your future employer will take notice and desire that spark for their own team.
Jessica Corwin, MPH, RDN
If you are not interviewing with the individual who would be your immediate supervisor, ask “What can you tell me about the individual who would be my immediate supervisor?” A follow-up question could be, “Tell me about their management style.” The answers to these questions can provide a wealth of information to help you determine if the position is a good fit for you.
Linda S. Eck Mills, MBA, RDN, LDN, FADA
Always voice what’s in it for them and why you are the solution to their problems (or objectives or mission).
Marjorie Geiser, MBA, RDN, BCC
In addition to knowing about the company, pay attention to the culture of the organization to ensure it is a good fit for your work ethic and personality. Observe how people interact with each other, note what types of personal electronics are being used (or not), see what style of dress you will need to mirror, and ask value questions to assess if the company is embodying their mission statement.
Anne-Marie Gloster, PhD, RDN
Learn how to work a room. Employers want to see that you can communicate effectively and that others feel comfortable being around you. Practice the art of conversation. It’s becoming harder to find in our technology addicted world. Remember, the interview process is really not about you but the value you can bring to a prospective business or organization. If you take a genuine interest in others by asking lots of questions this helps build honest rapport that will go a long way to help you land the job.
JJ Mayo, PhD, RDN, CSCS
Research the company and the position. Be aware of what they want and need from you. Make sure you illustrate to them why you are their ideal candidate for this role. Tell them how and why you bring a uniqueness to their vision. Be yourself, and be passionate. Make sure when you leave they are certain that there is no one better for this position than you.
Jennifer ODonnell-Giles, MS, RDN, CSSD
Know everything you can about the job and the company. Know as much as you can about the person interviewing you. Smile. If you’re truly interested it will show.
Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RDN, LDN
Know what the hiring person is looking for. If you’re a fit, let them know why, with confidence, that you’re the best fit for them. Expect to get the position if you really want it.
Jan Patenaude, RDN, CLT
I sit in on many interviews and the biggest piece of advice that can make an applicant look like a rock star is to research the company he/she is applying with. Know that company better than they know themselves.
Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT
Get absolutely clear about the value you will be able to deliver for the company. Then convince yourself that you are without a shadow of a doubt the absolute best candidate they could ever hope to find. Once you get there, just act and behave accordingly.
Dr. Wolf J. Rinke, RDN, CSP
Let the employers know, “I am flexible and I like change.” This is important because the world is constantly changing and this assures the employer you can handle it.
Marianne Romano, MPA, RDN
Prepare for the “what’s your weakness?” question. So many people give a canned answer like “I’m too type-A” or “I’m a perfectionist.” It’s not as much about admitting your weaknesses, as it is about showing how you have overcome them. What did you do to improve? What progress have you made? Be sure to share all these thoughts to make your answer strong.
Alissa Rumsey, MS, RDN, CDN, CNSC, CSCS
Always assume that the first person you meet (even if it is the secretary greeting you) is part of your interview. Go in with confidence and dress for success. Be on time for the interview and always follow up to thank the person for their time.
Sharon Saka, RDN, CDN, CDE
Know your Big Why before heading into an interview. Take some time to do a free writing exercise answering questions of why you are a nutrition professional and why the position you are applying for answers your Big Why. Answering these types of questions help you speak with confidence and passion in your interview. It’s about making this job a perfect fit for both you and the employer.
Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE
Thank you to all the fabulous dietetic professionals who provided us with your must-know interview tips.
Here are additional resources to ace the interview and land your dream job:
- 15 Sure-Fire Ways To A Successful Job Interview
- Interview Guide For Nutrition Professionals
- Interviewing Guide For Employers
Sarah Koszyk is founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog focusing on recipes, family health tips, and videos with kids cooking in the kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach specializing in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.