Be Prepared for the Interview
Having secured an interview, now is the time to impress the interviewer and convince them that you are the one for the job. Your resume has obviously impressed them enough to invite you for the interview. Below are a few key points to help you in preparing for your interview.
- Research the role and the company thoroughly. It can help convince an interviewer that you are enthusiastic and really interested.
- Check where the interview is, how you get there and give yourself too much time. Do not be late, but if you are held in an unforseeable traffic jam then telephone in plenty of time and explain the situation.
- Know the format of the interview and who will be attending. Are there tests, a panel of interviewers or are you expected to prepare for a presentation? If there are tests, don’t be afraid to ask what kind and whether you can get a sample copy. When scheduling the interview you might ask what you can expect during the interview. The interviewer will most likely be impressed with your forward thinking.
- Make sure you have some relevant questions to ask. This will show enthusiasm and that you are interested in the company and the position.
- Have some examples of achievements in your work and private life. These should demonstrate your suitability for the position. This is a great time to present your professional portfolio (see below).
- Photocopy your resume before you submit it so that you can prepare for the interview, especially if you have tailored it for the company you are interviewing with.
Think about your answers. Then write them down and practice saying them aloud. Your answers should be forthright, informative and consise. Imagaine yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and what you would want to know from a candidate like yourself and what those specific questions might be. You can also ask the interveiwer ahead of time what types of questions you can anticipate in yoru interview.
To get into to practice you may want to schedule informational interviews with related companies. While the company will not engage in asking you the below questions, it may give you the opportunity to get accustomed to an interview-style meeting with other professionals in your field.
- Why do you want the job?
- What can the company offer you?
- What can you offer the company?
- What are your weakest and strongest points? [Identify how can you sell your weak points to the employer. For example, if you are required to have managerial experience but cannot demonstrate this, you may be able to say that you have received management training and are looking forward to developing what you have learnt.]
- Think of a decision that you made within the last year that you are very proud of. Describe it. We all make decisions that we wish we could take back. Describe how you handled that.
- Tell me about a time when you worked with others who did not work well together. How did you deal with that?
- Tell me about a time when you saw an opportunity to improve something when no one else thought it needed improvement. What did you do?
- How do you prioritize multiple and conflicting demands? Give me a recent example.
- When were you most satisfied/dissatisfied in your work?
- Why should you be considered for this position?
- What are your short term (1 year) and long term (5 year) career goals?
- Be prepared for seemingly unexpected questions too. The interviewer may want to test your ability to think on your feet when they ask, “how do you want to be remembered when you die”, or “describe your perfect day”.
Clinical Dietitian Position Questions
In addition to the above you may be asked to discuss specific questions related to medical nutrition therapy.
- Describe your nutrition counseling recommendations for a 35 year old male recently diagnosed with AIDS who lives alone and is currently unemployed.
- A physician prescribes a 500 mg sodium diet for a 65 year old female with congestive heart failure. How would you respond to the physician’s order?
- A 70 year old male with acute renal failure on mechanical ventilation recently had a g-tube placed. What form of medical nutrition therapy would you recommend?
Clinical Management or Food Service Management Position Questions
In addition to the above general questions you may be asked to discuss specific questions related to leadership.
- Tell me about a time when you had to concede your individual objectives to what was best for the department, company or facility.
- Tell me about a time when you motivated your employees or peers to adopt your ideas. What did you do and what were the results.
- How do you go about building trust with others? Give specific examples?
Dietetic Technician Position Questions
In addition to the above general questions you may be asked to discuss specific questions related to medical nutrition therapy and nutrition assessment.
- An 85 year old female post CVA has estimated caloric needs of 1600 calories. In your assessment you have identified a trend for weight loss. What would your nutrition recommendations be?
Diet Clerk or Assistant Position Questions
In addition to the above general questions you may be asked to discuss specific questions related to menu correction, trayline checking, or patient contact.
- How would you correct a menu for a vegetarian on a high protein high calorie diet who doesn’t consume dairy products.
Following up with your interviewer shortly after your interview demonstrates your devotion and honest interest in the position. Be sure to send a note within a week after your interview thanking your interviewer and expressing your intentions related to the position.
Unless specific instructions for your next follow up meeting have been made, it is appropriate to contact your interviewer after your interview within the week to express your interest in the position and your hope for a “next step”. Conversely, it is equally important to state that you would like to decline your interest in the position within a relatively short amount of time after your interview. Remember, the field of dietetics and nutrition is a small world so be mindful of maintaining positive relationships and not burning any future bridges.