A surveillance system is used to examine public health issues across several years, track trends, compare health among groups of people, and determine whether something is improving or worsening for a specific group of people. As an Epidemiologist, would you choose active, passive or sentinel surveillance system? Whichever you choose, tell the interviewer why and what the outcome was.
The interviewer is asking you to walk them through your process of preparing research to present it to a crowd. The interviewer is asking you this question to evaluate your organization and presentation skills.
"When preparing reports I put together an outline of my research. An outline allows me to fill in the blanks as I research and determine what the outcomes are. I use this outline to help me stay on track. I also use this same outline to give my presentation."
To prepare for this question you will want to do your homework on the company you are interviewing with. If they expect you to work in a research and clinical setting than the answer to their question is 'both.' Tell the interviewer good points about each setting.
"I enjoy working in both types of settings. If I had to choose one it would be clinical. I love being able to interact with patients."
There are so many different types of diseases you have studied over the years it may be hard to narrow it down to just one study you were part of. Choose one field that spoke to you personally. Tell the interviewer about a study you were a part of and how you played a part in it. Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity, prescription drug overdose, teen pregnancy and tobacco use are a few topics you may choose to talk about.
You work great with people! This question may stump you, but as an Epidemiologist, you may work on your own more often than in a group. The interviewer wants to hear that you work well with all types of people from patients to other healthcare professionals.
"I love working with people. I'm flexible and approachable in the workplace, understanding that things can change quickly. I encourage open communication with my coworkers and address the concerns they may have."
The employer is looking to see the range of responsibilities you have been given in your previous roles. Your answer could potentially reveal the size of clinics/clinical trials you have been involved with. It's best to answer this one with specifics and then end with a question for the interviewer.
"In my last position, I was most often exposed to sequential analysis. What type of data analysis is most often utilized in this company?"
This question is also known as 'what is your greatest strength'. This is one of the most common questions during an interview so you will need to have your answer memorized so the way it is worded doesn't throw you off guard. Struggling to come up with your answer? Think about the common praises you received in past performance reviews, or ask a respected colleague for their opinion.
As an Epidemiologist 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.
"The most challenging thing about supervising technicians and other scientists is figuring out what works for each person depending on communication style, motivations, and preferences."
As an Epidemiologist, you may have had a part in controlling communicable diseases. Tell the interviewer your role in educating the community, helping stand up treatment centers, educating proper sanitation and hygiene and providing medical, food and water supplies. Share a story of when you had to apply these measures in a real-world situation.
Researching how diseases start, spread and die is something you do on a daily basis. You know that reservoir is used to refer the habitat of an infectious agent where it thrives, grows and multiplies. The reservoirs can be a human reservoir, animal reservoir, and environmental reservoirs. Tell the interviewer about a recent study you were part of, what the reservoir was and how you controlled it.
If you have no intentions of returning to school don't be concerned about it hurting your chances to land the job. When answering this question, put a positive spin on it and let the interviewer know that you want to become an expert at your job and improve your public speaking skills before you enroll in a Ph.D. program.
Healthcare-associated infections. heart disease and stroke or HIV. Tell the interviewer what disease you recently researched and what the outcome was. Tell the interviewer what your role was if you worked on a team. Tell the interviewer about any breakthroughs you all discovered and if you were published.
Prescription drug overdose. Teen pregnancy and Tobacco use are just a few public health reports that you may be passionate about. Tell the interviewer about a study you were part of or a report that you had published. Tell the interviewer what it was about, what you discovered and what the impact was.
This question is similar to 'tell us about yourself. The interviewer is asking you this question to hear a bit more about you. Keep your response relevant and work-related. You can choose to tell a quick story that relates to why you chose to enter the public health career field. The great thing about this question is that you can really show your passion for the career field. Show the interviewer that you're good at your job and love coming to work each day.
Having a positive philosophy when it comes to work is incredibly important. Tell the interviewer that you chose a career that you love and enjoy coming to work every day.
"My philosophy, when it comes to work, is to do my best every single day. I never procrastinate and always approach a challenge with an open mind. My motto has certainly helped me work my way through many challenges in the workplace."
Don't get caught up in this answer by answering negatively. Avoid being negative about past co-workers or supervisors. Tell the interviewer about a dislike, how you identified it and how you changed it. Don't worry if you weren't able to fix the situation, by sharing your role in the story will show the interviewer that you are looking to improve areas of the job.
We all experience stress on a daily basis...but how you relay this to the interviewer will say a lot about you. Steer clear away from the time that you lost your cool and raised your voice- we all have days like that but now is not the time to bring it up. Tell the interviewer how you manage your work stress and don't take it home with you, as well as not bringing your home stress to work. Here's a sample answer: "Every morning I start my day with 30 minutes of yoga. Yoga helps me clear my mind and start my day."
"Every morning I start my day with 30 minutes of yoga. Yoga helps me clear my mind and start my day."
As an Epidemiologist, you know that analyzing data and information is key to your research. If you are a numbers person this is your question! Tell the interviewer the steps on analyzing data and how it has been important in your findings. Tell the interviewer how you have gone to get lengths to collect this data and analyze it.
"At the end of the day, numbers don't lie. Analyzing and presenting data has given me the opportunity to prove to even the biggest skeptics that something is possible."
This question is being asked of you to see what you will bring to the table. Choose three skills that you posses and be ready to give an example or brief example of each.
"The three most important skills that I will bring to the position is critical thinking, instructing and having a strong science background."
The interviewer is asking this question to see if you have served in a leadership role or if you are up for the challenge. Tell the interviewer if you've had the opportunity to lead others and what the outcome was.
"I'd like to think of my leadership style as innovative. I believe that failures don't impede progress, the team gains job satisfaction and enjoyment and it creates an atmosphere of respect for others' ideas."
When answering this question you'll want to highlight goals you'd like to accomplish over the next 5 to 10 years. Tell the interviewer if you'd like to become published, work on a specific high-profile project, bring new programs to your community or be in a leadership position. Whatever goal you choose, make it work related.
"My long-term goals are to continue to positively impact our region’s health status through collaborative programs with communities, hospitals, and medical practices."
Effective spoken communication requires being able to express your ideas and views clearly, confidently and concisely in speech, tailoring your content and style to the audience and promoting free-flowing communication. Sometimes in the work area, this isn't as easy as it should be. Personality conflicts may get in the way of effective communication. Tell the interviewer how you present correct, clear and concise information to your team.
Now is your chance to share your opinion on a topic you are passionate about as an Epidemiologist. Tell the interviewer how you think it was originally transmitted, how you think it was brought to the states and how you think it can be cured.
"Most people think the Ebola epidemic started with a young boy playing in a hollowed out tree that was inhabited by bats. While I agree, I also think it spread like wildfire because of poor economic standing of these countries and their inability to get good medical care."
As an Epidemiologist, you know that active, passive and sentinel are three different types of surveillance. Tell the interviewer a bit about each type of surveillance and how you've used each in your job. Tell the interviewer how much time and resources you've found that each needs.
The interviewer is asking this question to hear about a time you utilized a health survey in order to compile data and conclude results. Tell the interviewer why you chose to survey the community on the particular health concern, how you collected the data and what the outcome was.
The way in which you answer this will be an indicator of your engagement level when it comes to this industry and your career. This is where it is very helpful to conduct research on the organization prior to your interview. Tie your answer into the current activities of this organization. Consider asking a question as a way to start an engaging conversation with your interviewer about current events in your industry.
"I am so happy you asked me that! I was recently reading an article on how some hospital academic departments are starting to employ clinical research associates in clinical trial units and I would love to know what your thoughts were on this?"
As a public health professional, you analyze and develop programs that protect the health of individuals, families, and communities in the United States and abroad. Using education, development of healthy lifestyles, research and program implementation, Epidemiologists are agents for disease prevention and health promotion. From food poisoning to an influenza outbreak, you are the detective for the community to investigate the cause of disease and control its spread. You conduct fieldwork to determine what caused disease or injury, what the risks are, who is at risk and how to prevent further incidences.
Your biochemistry and molecular biology training will be your guide as an Epidemiologist. Your experience will lead you to the initial discovery and containment of an outbreak, such as avian flu or mad cow disease. Strong quantitative skills, including biostatistics and computer applications, are skills needed to be a successful Epidemiologist. Public speaking and program management are also skills needed in fostering health promotion and disease prevention and assessing the quality of health care in the community.
To prepare for your interview, you'll want to do your research on the company. Know what outbreak they are focused on learning more about or population they are serving. Come to the interview with resume in hand, references ready and relevant stories to share. If you haven't been out of school for long, refer to studies you were apart of or published work. If you've been in the career field for awhile highlight what you've been a part of and how you impacted the findings.