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Epidemiologist Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass

Updated August 17th, 2018 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.
Job Interviews     Careers     Sciences    
Question 1 of 30
Are you aspiring to return to school for your Ph.D.?
View Answer
How to Answer
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.
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Answer Examples
1.
Are you aspiring to return to school for your Ph.D.?
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.
2.
What is the most fascinating disease you have studied in your epidemiology career thus far?
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.
3.
What is the most challenging part of supervising technicians and other Epidemiologists?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
4.
Are you experienced in speeches and presentations? How do you prepare for these?
Hopefully one of your weaknesses isn't public speaking. If public speaking isn't a strength be sure to mention it but add that you are working at it improving yourself and getting more comfortable. Tell the interviewer what your tricks are to professionally deliver information to the audience. This is not the time to tell the interviewer that you picture everyone naked.

Anonymous Answer
"I am a confident public speaker. As a dental surgeon, I used to consult with my patients a lot. During my Master's program, I have had done lots of presentations with 12-15 people group. I try to make my presentation simple. I do a lot of research before the presentation & utilize different communication techniques to make presentations fun, interesting, and engaging."
Rachelle's Answer
Fantastic answer! You obviously know what it takes to engage an audience.
"I am a confident public speaker. As a dental surgeon, I used to consult with my patients a lot. During my Master's program, I delivered many presentations to groups of up to 15 people. I try to make my presentations simple. I do a lot of research before the presentation and utilize different communication techniques to make my presentations fun, interesting, and engaging."
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5.
What made you choose to become an Epidemiologist?
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.
Anonymous Answer
"As you see, I was a dentist in Bangladesh. Since then, I always wanted to learn about the situation when an epidemic occurs. For example, how does the health department handle the situation like Dengue fever or Ebola? How do they plan or work? I wanted to learn & that's why I choose to become an epidemiologist."
Rachelle's Answer
Learning and growing your knowledge are excellent reasons to pivot your healthcare-related interests. Your passion for epidemiology seems very genuine, which the interviewer should appreciate. I have offered a slight revision below.
"I was a dentist in Bangladesh. Since becoming a medical professional, I have always wanted to learn more about epidemics and what occurs when an epidemic arises. For instance, how does the health department handle a situation like Dengue fever or Ebola? How do they plan their approach and their work? I wanted to continue to learn and be challenged, which is why I chose to become an epidemiologist."
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6.
In your opinion, what are the 3 most important skills that a successful epidemiologist should possess?
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.

Heather's Answer
"The three most important skills that I will bring to the position is critical thinking, instructing and having a strong science background."
7.
Describe your experience using health survey data.
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.
8.
What is your leadership style?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"My leadership style is flexible & adaptive that best suits the nature of the project & not to impede it. From my experience, I feel that there is not a single “one size fits all style” that works in all situations. Leaders must adapt to a style that is necessary to lead the team toward achieving the goals of the project."
Rachelle's Answer
Very well said! It seems you are a strong leader who is highly self-aware.
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9.
How would you design a surveillance system for young children?
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.
10.
Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
As an Epidemiologist, your research can help millions of people and impact serious changes in the world. Focus on telling the interviewer how you positively made a change.

Heather's Answer
"I really connected with people in my last presentation in our community to positively impact the overall health status. I had numerous people compliment my presentation skill, the information presented and that it was all easy to understand."
11.
Give me an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
As an Epidemiologist, you make take risks in your job, within your research or how you present information. Whatever your risk was, tell the interviewer about it with confidence. Tell the interviewer that you take risks to think outside the box and get people thinking.

Heather's Answer
"Studies show that there is a connection between smoking and lung cancer. I took the risk to focus my energy on the connection between second-hand smoke and lung cancer. My risk paid off and my research was published last year."
12.
Walk me through how you prepare technical and research reports and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
13.
Which industry related current event interests you the most?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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?"
14.
Do you prefer a research or clinical setting?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
15.
How well do you work with people?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
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30 Epidemiologist Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.
Interview Questions
  1. Are you aspiring to return to school for your Ph.D.?
  2. What is the most fascinating disease you have studied in your epidemiology career thus far?
  3. What is the most challenging part of supervising technicians and other Epidemiologists?
  4. Are you experienced in speeches and presentations? How do you prepare for these?
  5. What made you choose to become an Epidemiologist?
  6. In your opinion, what are the 3 most important skills that a successful epidemiologist should possess?
  7. Describe your experience using health survey data.
  8. What is your leadership style?
  9. How would you design a surveillance system for young children?
  10. Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the actions of others.
  11. Give me an example of when you took a risk to achieve a goal. What was the outcome?
  12. Walk me through how you prepare technical and research reports and communicate the results to individuals in industry, government, or the general public.
  13. Which industry related current event interests you the most?
  14. Do you prefer a research or clinical setting?
  15. How well do you work with people?
  16. As an Epidemiologist, what do you believe is your best asset?
  17. Explain what are the measures can be taken to control communicable disease?
  18. Explain what is reservoir.
  19. How strong is your knowledge in toxicology?
  20. What type of data analysis are you most familiar with?
  21. Tell me about a disease you have recently investigated. Were you able to discover any breakthroughs?
  22. Tell me about a public health report you contributed to.
  23. What are the types of public health surveillance?
  24. What are your thoughts on the Ebola epidemic?
  25. How do you ensure successful communication with others, even if they are are not easy to get along with?
  26. What are your long term goals in epidemiology?
  27. Would you consider your ability to analyze data or information a strength?
  28. How do you manage stress in your daily work?
  29. What do you like least about being an Epidemiologist?
  30. What is your philosophy towards work?
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