As a dietitian or nutritionist, you know your foods rich in vitamin D like the back of your hand. Tell the interviewer how you would educate the patient about the importance of eating foods rich in vitamin D. If mushrooms, fish, and pork doesn't appeal to your patient, stress the importance of taking a daily cod liver oil capsule. Feel free to share a story about a time you needed a patient to take in more vitamin D and what the outcome was.
"I have a great download available to my clients, for free, focused solely on vitamin D consumption. The recommendations in this download include mushrooms, eggs, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, and mackerel."
"First and foremost, I would recommend more natural sunlight if possible. Then, when discussing vitamin D rich foods, I would tell the patient to increase their fish intake; particularly salmon, mackerel, and tuna."
"My recommendation would be based on their food preferences. For instance, if the patient is vegan, I would not recommend the typical salmon, tuna, or eggs. In the instance of a vegan, natural sunlight is best and perhaps a good supplement. Also, mushrooms are high in vitamin D."
Share with the interviewer what you would like to earn. Be sure to keep it realistic. Another great way to share your compensation expectations is by sharing with the interviewer what you are currently earning and where you would like to be in your next position. Do your research on the location and see what the going rate is for your career field.
"I researched the area and, based on my years of experience, I think the range of $70k to $75k is reasonable."
"As I am new to my career and this industry, I am happy to negotiate my earnings based on your typical salary for this role."
"I am currently making $50,000 per year plus health benefits. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This is an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful nutritionist career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and go to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"
"I am a passionate, excited team player who loves to learn on the fly, take the lead when possible, and I have a proven track record of leading my clients to success. I'm loyal and have shown that through my decade-long career at one employer. I have risen through their ranks, and am ready to take on the next challenge. Outside of work, I love to travel and do DIY projects on my home."
This is where your 30 to 45-second elevator speech comes in! Take your time to tell the interviewer a bit about your work history, educational background, and something unique about yourself. Keep your answer short yet impactful. Wow the interviewer and set yourself apart from the rest of the competition.
"When I read the job posting I noticed that you were looking for someone with experience working with children. As you can see on my resume, I have ten years experience as a dietitian and 3 of those years was spent working specifically with children in a school setting. I have additional training in working with children affected by childhood obesity."
"In addition to meeting the educational requirements for this position, I also have a certificate in human kinetics. I have a unique understanding of how diet and movement work together to create successful plans for my clients."
"I am a unique hire because I have worked as a dietician in a public, and private, health setting. I am also bilingual in English and Spanish so I can easily connect with a wide variety of clients."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
"I have a couple of questions, thank you for asking! First, I am wondering if you can share with me why this position is open? Second, what timeline do you have in mind for filling this position?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working here? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
Workloads will increase and decrease as client demands change. How do you adapt to these changes?
"I fully understand that my workload will increase from time to time and I easily accept that. Personally, I prefer it when times are busy, so I definitely do not mind an increase in workload."
"In my current position, my workload changes depending on my current clients and their needs. I can adapt to those needs quickly and effectively. In these instances, I work overtime and am sure to meet my deadlines."
"My workload changes by the minute. Many of my clients have health emergencies and I need to adapt to those as they arise. I keep organized with google calendar and my iPad. What would I do without them!"
Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future.
"Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of positions that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular position would take my career exactly where it should be."
"Overall, I am satisfied with my career progression. Everyone, including me, hits roadblocks or setbacks, but I have been able to push through them and stay on track."
"I am pleased with the progress of my career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far."
In which manner do you prefer to communicate - written or verbal? Discuss your preference with the interviewer and support your answer.
"I prefer verbal communication because I feel that with written communication, a lot can be misread due to lack of tone, fluctuation, expression and body language. I will always choose a face to face conversation whenever possible."
"I like to leverage both methods of communications when dealing with business. Sometimes, situations call for verbal communications and other times, written. As a rule of thumb, I tend to practice verbal communications, with written follow up or vice versa. Utilizing multiple methods creates repetition and therefore, change."
"I do not lean one way or another when it comes to verbal or written communication. Both are equally important to me. If I have to choose just one, I will choose written communication as one can always look back on written communication for reference."
As a medical professional you know the importance of taking care of yourself. This includes not over stressing or overworking yourself. When you feel like your job is pulling you in a million directions then you need to step back, re-evaluate and re-attack. On those challenging days do you take some time to yourself to relax and do yoga? Do you spend extra time with your kids when you get home? However you choose to decompress on those challenging days be sure to let the interviewer know that it happens, you deal with it and you don't let it get you down. Ensure that your answer does not include a factor that would make you appear unfit for the position. (IE: a bus driver should not find driving to be the most stressful part of the job).
"The part of my career that brings me the most stress is when the patient schedule is running behind due to lack of hustle on my teams part. I like to be on time with my schedule to ensure that my clients properly assisted and not left waiting."
"As I am just starting my career as a nutritionist, I believe that this learning curve will bring me some stress, to begin with. Also, coming across new clients with situations that I have not researched fully yet. I look forward to this opportunity to learn and am prepared to put in the extra hours it will take to establish myself here."
"To be honest, I probably bring myself the most stress because of my drive and desire to be the best I can be. I manage this by focusing my energy on productive activities that are good for my career."
It seems like there is always a new magic pill or diet tea on social media that has all the answers. As a dietitian, you are only interested in the facts. Tell the interviewer about an author, credible site or another resource for accurate information that you enjoy following. It's a great idea to ask the interviewer about their favorite resources for up and coming industry news. You never know what you will learn!
"I remain current on the changing science of nutrition by reading multiple blogs, subscribing to a few notable podcasts, and through industry-related google alerts. When I come across a new study or interesting paper, I bring it to my colleagues to gather their thoughts as well."
"I have subscriptions to various journals, follow online sites as well as build professional relationships with my co-workers to keep current on the changing science of nutrition."
"Over the course of my twelve-year career as a nutritionist, I have become privy to many reputable journals and influencers in the dietary space. Some of my favorites include Robin Miller, Jack Norris, and Vesanto Melina. I follow their blogs, and other resources quite closely. Which are your favorite resources for staying up to date in this industry?"
The interviewer wants to see that you are keeping up with your skills related to diet and nutrition. Every day we are learning new things within the field of nutrition, and breakthroughs are happening regularly. When answering this question be sure to highlight the formal education you may be pursuing as well as the education you seek via your methods.
"Everyday I'm working on furthering my education. I'm in the process of working on my Master's degree in nutrition. I also learn through my clients' needs by researching new methods of assisting them. Last week I worked with an autistic child through PEC cards. I learned so much from the patient and this visual learning aid that I'll be keeping that experience in my toolbox."
"In addition to my recent degree in nutrition, I volunteer with community farmers and co-ops. I'm always learning new ways to bring fresh, local produce to clients."
"I am committed to continual learning and greater education. I take one new course every month, usually online, and related to a variety of topics on gut health, fighting cancer with food, the risk of nightshades with autoimmune disease, and how to encourage children who are picky eaters."
Now is time to pull that trick card from your sleeve! Are you interviewing for a position at a school or medical facility? Think about that last study or article you read that directly relates to the position you are applying to. Don't try to bluff your way through this question. Chances are they will know what article you are referring to. Take the information you read in the study and tell the interviewer why it interested you. Show the interviewer your enthusiasm to do amazing things at the new job and that you'll be using studies and articles you've read as your guide to improve in your career.
"I recently read a paper on the critical evaluation of the application of biomarkers in epidemiological studies on diet and health. The article went on to discuss one of the challenges of epidemiological studies is the challenge of accurately measuring the dietary intake of patients. It was fascinating to see how important diet is when it comes to participants."
"Just last week I read an article about high fructose sugar in the food that we eat. I'm currently working on a project at our local elementary school to help kitchens cook with fresher ingredients as well as cut out as many sugars as possible."
"I make sure to read a wide range of studies on a weekly basis. Most recently, I read an article on the connection between nightshade plants and inflammation. I have had my autoimmune clients off of nightshades for some time now, but it was interesting to see the effect these plants have on individuals with thyroid issues as well."
Oncology nutrition may or may not be one of your specialties. Tell the interviewer about your ability to design meal plans, low impact exercise plans and provide education to patients recovering from cancer treatments. It will be essential to be able to relay to the interviewer that you can educate and empower clients of all ranges. Be sure to end the answer with the positive outcome.
"I've had the opportunity to work with a few cancer survivors. The main thing I work on is healthy eating coupled with light exercise. Typically my older patients don't eat as much as they should so I provide a realistic meal plan that includes frequent but small meals. Because weight fluctuation is common during cancer treatment, I also get my patients set up with a low impact exercise plan. I've found that my older patients love to walk around their neighborhoods or join local walking groups."
"I would need to review the patients' complete medical records. I would consider her overall health and chronic issues before making any recommendations. Offhand, I do recommend to my senior clients to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. For cancer treatment, I recommend anti-inflammatory rich foods such as leafy greens, fatty fish like salmon, and berries."
"The American Cancer Association recommends a diet full of leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and unprocessed meats. For my patients who have recently gone through cancer treatment, I recommend this as well as to avoid excess dairy, soy, and refined sugars."
Of course, you're the best candidate! Your education, references, and resume show that your good on paper. How is your first impression? Did you introduce yourself with a firm handshake and a smile? This question is commonly answered with the standard confirmation of education. You'll need to explain this answer in a way that makes you stand out. Because you've done your homework on this particular facility, you know what their mission is, who their patients are and how your work experience will fit in perfectly.
"I will be the best dietician for your hospital because I already have a strong network of clients in this region. My reputation as a dietician is solid, and I also have experience working in a hospital environment. The learning curve, if hired, will not be steep."
"In addition to two years' experience in a hospital environment, I also just recently completed my Masters' in Oncology nutrition. I'd love to incorporate some of my ideas with your Oncology department and make an incredible impact for your patients, right away."
"I'm excited at the opportunity to work at your children's hospital. I've spent ten years as a dietitian within the school district and thrived in that environment. I was able to implement new programs, teach our children healthy eating habits as well as the importance of regularly exercising. I was recognized by the Superintendent of the school district for bringing a new and fun way for our kids to learn about eating right."
Many health professionals agree that working with a dietitian and nutritionist is top on the list for patients that are struggling with diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. When discussing medical nutrition therapy with your patient you are reviewing what they eat, their eating habits and providing a personalized nutrition treatment plan. If possible, tell the interviewer about a success story you have about patients cholesterol going down or patients being able to lower their hypertension medication.
"I worked with a patient that had diabetes. After working with him for six months on his diet and exercise, he was able to discontinue his medication and manage his diabetes through the new healthy living plan we worked on together. It was great to see him come so far and to be a part of his journey. This experience gave me a powerful interest in the area of nutritional therapy for diabetes."
"I'm particularly interested in how different types of food affect cholesterol in our bodies. On a personal note, I saw my mother reduce her cholesterol meds by 75% simply by making a few concentrated changes in her diet. I'm a firm believer of adjusting your diet instead of starting off with a ton of medication."
"I have a strong desire to work on cases of obesity in children. I am passionate about this cause and helping kids to create strong food habits from a young age. Childhood obesity is on the rise which means more adults on prescription medications, and more adults who will develop an obesity-driven disease such as heart disease and more. I feel that by working with children, I can make a bigger impact on the future."
It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but do assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position. Now is not the time to be clever and tell the interviewer that you plan on being in their position in 5 years. Too soon my friend. What you will want to tell the interviewer is that you would like to move up the ladder. Is there another department that interests you but you know you need the experience to get there? Would you want to teach more nutrition classes to audiences? Would you like to work more within the medical nutrition therapy field? Are you hoping to finish your master's degree?
"Ideally, five years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. I would like to gain experience giving presentations and leading nutrition challenges. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
"In five years I would like to be part of more community projects and events. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work here."
"Five years from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility."
As a dietitian, what types of projects make your eyes light up? Do you love working with kids? The elderly? Maybe you briefly worked on a project in college, and you're dying to start it up again and take it to a new level. Whatever you choose to discuss, be sure to let your passion come through in your answer.
"Outside of my work projects, I am currently working on a cookbook for vegans. Through my experience as a dietician, I have found there is a lack of tasty, full meal options for vegans. I plan to offer this cookbook as a free bonus to my nutrition clients."
"I love working on projects that involve the health of children. Their energy and desire to learn to make me love working on assignments with them. I'd also like the opportunity to work with our elderly population and perhaps mesh the two groups. Like, a cooking class where seniors are matched with kids, to teach them how to bake classic dishes."
"My passion project right now is my nutrition and lifestyle blog. I get about 50,000 unique visitors per month and am very proud of what I have built. This online audience tells me what people are most interested in learning and shows me where I need to research further. All of this comes back to my in-person clients and benefits them."
There are so many roads you can go down as a dietitian and nutritionist. Have you had the opportunity to work within gerontological nutrition, sports dietetics, pediatric nutrition, renal nutrition or oncology nutrition? Which interests you the most? If you hold a certification in one of these specialties, tell the interviewer all about it. If you've always wanted to work in a specific specialty, let the interviewer know that you're anxious to start and excited to learn more.
"I have considered specializing in sports nutrition but have not taken any continued education towards this goal. Do you offer tuition reimbursement for additional coursework for your employees?"
"I have considered becoming certified in a specialty. Because I have just graduated from school, I'd like to concentrate on becoming proficient as a nutritionist before I return to school."
"I have taken additional coursework in pediatric nutrition and have spent a great deal of time volunteering at our school's kitchens and the children's hospital. A specialty in pediatric nutrition is where I have set my sights."
As a dietitian and nutritionist, you instruct (provide information), guide (encourage the person to find his or her own goals and achieve them), and listen (understand the person’s experience and feelings). If your approach is too lax and it will seem as if you don't care about the patient. Too firm and you might intimidate the patient in question. Do you bring visuals to the session? Play a game? Whatever style you choose during your nutrition counseling session let the interviewer know that you give it 110%.
"I have more of a question and answer counseling style rather than lecturing my patient or telling them what to do. I encourage my patients to ask questions so that I can be sure that they fully understand what I'm asking of them and that they know the importance of eating right."
"My counseling style changes with each client I meet. I adjust my counseling based on their age, competency and the situation."
"My coaching style is very much consultative. I will give my patients the tools they need, after getting to know them very thoroughly. If they are struggling, I will dig deeper into the situation to find out what the roadblock truly is. For many of my clients, their greatest roadblocks are time, self-esteem, or lack of organization. I will help them to overcome these challenges and guide them to treat themselves better."
No one ever likes to be in a situation with a difficult client. With a calm, relaxed and collective tone, tell a story about a complicated patient situation. Be sure to let the interviewer know how you defused the situation and what the outcome was. Keep patient confidentiality in mind when answering this question and avoid sounding cynical when it comes to your patients.
"My most difficult patient was an elderly man that refused to eat right and take care of himself because he felt that he was too old to make a difference. After building a friendship with this patient he began to trust me, and my advice and his situation started to improve. He's been my patient for five years now and is doing better than I could have ever expected. His diabetes is under control, and he has greatly reduced his blood pressure and cholesterol medications."
"One of the most difficult clients I worked with was a child on the autism spectrum. I haven't had a lot of experience working with individuals of autism, so it was certainly a learning curve for both of us. My patient was a very picky eater and was highly particular when it came to the color, texture, and size of his food. Luckily, his parents were incredibly supportive and followed my recommendations to a tee. Gaining a greater diversity in patients will make me a stronger dietitian, so I welcome these challenges."
"I have been a nutritionist for the past eight years and have come across some very challenging folks! My most memorable client was a patient who was recovering from bulimia. The issue with patients with bulimia is that they are often very clever when it comes to hiding the evidence of their binges. They often don't even remember everything they have eaten because they tend to 'blackout' during binge episodes. Our center ended up referring her to a unique inpatient program geared only for people with eating disorders. She was able to be more closely monitored there, and found great success."
Companies will have confidentiality agreements for a variety of reasons. These could be to protect their trade secrets or to ensure that you do not bring clients over on the occasion that you leave their company. Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on confidentiality agreements.
"I never have, to my knowledge, broken a confidentiality agreement. Despite my reasons for leaving a position, I would never choose to hurt a previous employer in any way."
"No. I have only once had a confidentiality agreement and had no problem adhering to it."
"Confidentiality agreements are necessary and important to protect an organization. I understand the need for confidentiality and take those factors very seriously. I have never broken the trust of my employer."
Dietitians and Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition. Dietitians and Nutritionists promote and educate children and adults about food plans, nutrition programs, meal preparation and serving size. The goal of a Dietitian and Nutritionist is to encourage a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise. Dietitians and Nutritionists can be found in a healthcare setting, schools, nursing facilities and various other facilities. Dietitians and Nutritionists feel at home in the kitchen.
A Dietitian or Nutritionists have Bachelor’s Degrees and is recommended to have a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science. As a Dietitian and Nutritionist you have a passion for helping people. Your patients may be demanding, critically ill, terminal, or have mental health issues so patience is one of your characteristics.
To prepare for your interview you'll want to do your homework on the facility you are interviewing with. Learn about the patient population if you are interviewing at a healthcare facility. Are the majority of the patients diabetic, suffer from celiac disease or lactose intolerant? Is your interview within the school system where the school lunch program needs monitored and improved? Is your upcoming interview teaching nutrition classes for a major fitness center? As a Dietitian and Nutritionist teaching comes naturally. Tell the interviewer about the classes you taught, who your audience was and what the outcome was.