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Environmental Scientist Interview Questions

25 Environmental Scientist Interview Questions
Question 1 of 25
When have you had to change a major component of your project, due to new information being presented?
How to Answer
Being able to swivel the focus of your project is a necessary skill for your success as an environmental scientist. Talk to the interviewer about a time when a significant change occurred on a project. How did you handle the implementation of the new information?

Answer Example
"I had a large project last month that was nearly complete when the client called to say that some of the needs provided were incorrect. Because of this, our team had to re-do the entire proposal. It took us an additional four days of work but, in the end, the client was delighted with our work, and it resulted in new opportunities for them."
Entry Level Example
"Last year we saw new federal regulations come through which affected 80% of our ongoing projects. We had to adjust our plans; however, we were able to deliver a timely product that met federal regulations."
Experienced Example
"All of the time! As an experienced environmental scientist, I see many projects that need to be revisited and nearly scrapped in their entirety, at times. It can feel defeating; however, there is always something to learn through these events."
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Question 2 of 25
What do you like most about being an environmental scientist?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know what you enjoy most about being an environmental scientist. This is likely the factor that will continue to motivate you on the toughest of days.

Answer Example
"What I enjoy most about being an environmental scientist is that I am paid to do what I love! Being on top of environmentally related issues and finding solutions for them, is all very exciting to me. The ever-changing landscape of the environment is fast-paced and keeps me engaged on a daily basis."
Entry Level Example
"The one thing that I like most about being an environmental scientist is the fact that I love the research involved. I am a strong researcher and look forward to utilizing this skill with your organization."
Experienced Example
"I love so many aspects of my role as an environmental scientist. If I had to choose one, it would be the fact that I get to help a variety of important ecosystems. Our planet needs us, and it's important that we continue to help it."
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Question 3 of 25
What is the most challenging part of supervising environmental technicians and junior scientists?
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How to Answer
As an environmental scientist in a leadership position, you may find that you have difficulties with your employees. A few challenges you may face are balancing being the boss and being a friend, interpersonal conflict on a team or having employees with bad attitudes. Show the interviewer that you are capable of handling challenging leadership situations. If you have not been in a leadership role, talk about an example you have had in the past from a great supervisor. State that you would like to emulate that person's leadership style.

Answer Example
"The most challenging thing about supervising technicians and other junior scientists is figuring out what style of communication works for each person. Also, finding out everyone's motivators can be a challenge at first."
Entry Level Example
"I have not been in a leadership position as of yet; however, I have had some great leaders as examples in my past. My most recent supervisor was excellent at keeping the peace in a high-stakes environment. He knew everyone's motivators and worked with those when he wanted better performance."
Experienced Example
"I love being a leader and the challenges that come with it. I would say that the most challenging aspect of leading other scientists is to get past everyone's ego. I am not negatively mentioning this - it's just a simple fact the when you have a room full of highly educated people, and Ph.D.'s, ego's can get in the way. I overcome this by showing up with a humble attitude and being a practical example to my team."
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Question 4 of 25
What made you choose to become an environmental scientist?
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How to Answer
Th. It can be anything, ranging from your parents, some relative, your school teacher, or even your curiosity towards the current changes in the environment etc. Whatever is your reason, be honest about it and inform it to the interviewer in a nice positive manner.
Sometimes, money is also our motivation behind making a career choice but this is not something that you might want to use for this answer. So, use something that sounds unique and assures the interviewer about the fact that you are in this profession to make a change and not just for the money.

Answer Example
"I want to become an environmental scientist because I have always been curious about the recent changes in the environment and I wanted to do my share of duty towards improving the situation as much as I can."
Entry Level Example
"I grew up with both parents as a scientist, and my mother specifically was an environmental scientist. She was so passionate about her work that it inspired me to follow in her footsteps. I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and look forward to starting a long and fruitful career with your organization."
Experienced Example
"I have carved a very successful career for myself, within environmental science, over the past decade. After graduating high school, I spent one year traveling to a variety of undeveloped countries. This trip changed the way that I thought about the way we consume and pollute in our more developed countries. This was when I decided that I could make a difference by working in environmental science."
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Question 5 of 25
When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work?
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How to Answer
Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace.

Answer Example
"Experiencing a setback is always disappointing and can be a bit disheartening, especially when research hours are lost for example. I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my manager and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!"
Entry Level Example
"In science, seā€‹tbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way."
Experienced Example
"Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to something even better."
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Author of Environmental Scientist Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 11/04/2014
Last modified on: 08/30/2018

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About Environmental Scientist

September 12th, 2018

Environmental scientists are dedicated to protecting the environment and improving human health. These specialist scientists work with local and state governments, and scientific, technical and engineering services where they may advise policymakers, oversee the cleaning up of polluted areas or reduction of industrial waste. They use their extensive knowledge of the natural sciences to determine data collection methods and develop plans to fix, prevent or manage water or air pollution and other environmental issues.
A bachelor's degree in a natural science will help you gain entry into the field but will have limited opportunities. Higher education will open up more opportunities and higher income potential. Self-discipline is important for this role and so are good analytical, problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills.
Why are you interested in becoming an environmental scientist? That is likely to be the first question any prospective employer will ask you. Their main purpose in asking this question is to determine whether or not you are passionate about the environment and conservation. Other questions they will ask you will typically relate to your career goals and your job knowledge. To get a better idea of the types of questions that interviewers ask candidates at environmental scientist interviews, go to Mock Questions.