Successfully Ace Your Dietetic Interview
The competition to get into a dietetic internship program is fierce. The application is just the first step. Acing the interview can be the determining factor in getting accepted. Proper preparation and a “winning” attitude can assist with getting into your internship of choice and being that perfect standout candidate. – Sarah
NutritionJobs interviewed dietetic internship program directors to find out what they look for in a candidate. Here are our results on how you can successfully ace your dietetic interview:
2 Top Characteristics Of A Qualified Candidate:
- Enthusiasm & Eagerness: Melinda Johnson, MS, RDN, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of DPD Program at Arizona State University, recommends showing enthusiasm and pep in order to remain pleasant during the interview and memorable afterwards. Also, portray an eagerness to learn because the entire internship process is a time of learning. The directors want to know that is your intention during the program.
- Communication Skills: Wanda Siu-Chan, MS, RD, Dietetic Internship Director/Lecturer at San Francisco State University, states proper communication skills with the ability to answer questions in a clear and calm manner is essential.
2 Tips To Stand Out During The Interview:
- Special Qualifications: Johnson advises to emphasize your special qualifications that make you different or unique. For example, are you bilingual? Have you completed any special research projects or past business ventures that were nutrition related? Determine your specialty and how you can bring this to the internship program.
- Confident & Relaxed Attitude: Siu-Chan informs that a calm and confident demeanor can help stand out. Be cautious of your nerves getting the best of you. Relax and take a few deep breathes prior to the interview. Focus on your achievements and how you can apply these to your various rotations. During the interview, don’t be afraid to pause and think before answering a question.
3 Preparation Tips:
- Practice: While Siu-Chan stresses there’s no way to know exactly what questions will be asked during the interview, both Siu-Chan and Johnson advocate practicing typical dietetic questions with a friend in order to stay relaxed and confident. The more relaxed you are during the interview process, you’ll be able to think better and answer the questions with clarity. “Practices help you refrain from freezing up,” adds Johnson. If you need a brief moment to think of the answer, that’s OK. The more you practice various scenarios prior to the interview, the more confidence you’ll have during. In your practice responses, include examples of how your experiences and achievements assisted with you learning what you needed to know.
- Questions: Prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer to show you are interested and that you’ve done your homework on the internship program.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: Be prepared with knowing your strengths and weaknesses and how you can use them to excel during your internship.
3 Cautions To Avoid During The Interview:
- Poor Presentation: Johnson says to show up to the interview looking professional in appropriate dress with a friendly attitude and a smile. Act like you really want to be there.
- Dropped Calls: Siu-Chan notes that if you are doing an interview by phone, make sure to be in an area with proper coverage and in an environment without distractions or noise.
- Inappropriate Questions: Johnson informs to refrain from asking questions such as “How much time off will we get?” Questions like this make it seem as though you are not really interested in the internship and more interested in vacation. Remember: you want to show the program director you want to be there.
Remember: You are qualified to get past the initial application. You can ace the dietetic internship and get into your program of choice. Remain cool, calm, collected, confident, and prepared.
For additional resources for the internship process, click HERE.
Best of luck!