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Veterinarian Interview
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29 Questions and Answers by Darby Faubion

Updated December 18th, 2018 | Darby Faubion has been a Nurse and Allied Health Educator for over twenty years. She has clinical experience in several specialty areas including pediatrics, medical-surgical, critical care, and hospice.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 29
If you were responsible for interviewing job applicants, what characteristics would you like to see in a candidate?
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How to Answer
There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.
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1.
If you were responsible for interviewing job applicants, what characteristics would you like to see in a candidate?
There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers."
Darby's Answer #2
"If I were hiring someone, I would look for someone who is passionate about the job and about patient care. I also feel that being approachable and willing to learn is very important."
2.
What kind of pets do you own or have you owned in the past?
Interviewers often ask what kind of pets a veterinarian candidate has. This is not a prerequisite for the job but does show that the roots of your interest in caring for animals run deep. This is an opportunity for the interviewer to find out what interests you.

Darby's Answer #1
"I think a better question would be 'what animals do I not have?' I have two cats, three dogs, horses, and my husband raises cattle. My family jokes and says I have to take care of other people's pets to be able to afford my own."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have two boxer dogs. They are my babies! I have considered adding another puppy to the family, but haven't made that commitment yet."
3.
In your opinion, what personality is best suited for a veterinarian?
Each person you meet has his own personality. Certain jobs require specific characteristics of those who are performing the job. The interviewer really wants to know what you would consider a valuable characteristic or trait of someone who is a nursing aide.

Darby's Answer #1
"Being a veterinarian seems to be a world of its own sometimes. We take care of some of those who can't speak and are unable to care for themselves. I believe that someone who works in this specialty needs to be very compassionate and know how to exercise patience."
Darby's Answer #2
"I believe veterinarians, should have a caring and compassionate personality. Our patients are not able to communicate what hurts or that they are afraid the way people can. We have to be able to observe and make judgment calls based on symptoms only."
4.
What makes you feel motivated to do a good job?
This question is practically begging you to highlight your positive attributes. So don't give a vague, generic response; that tells the interviewer very little about you. Instead, try and use this question as an opportunity to give the interviewer some insight into your character, and use examples where possible.

Darby's Answer #1
"I've always been motivated by the challenge of a tough situation. While I was in veterinary school, I volunteered as an activities aide at a nursing home. During that time, I came across a particular patient who refused to participate in any activities. I was told he was 'always gruff and impossible.' I talked with him and was able to find something we had in common, which calmed him down. After the patient saw me make an effort to better understand his situation, he became much more agreeable to my aide. I love facing and overcoming challenges on such a personal level."
Darby's Answer #2
"The feeling of knowing that I have the chance to improve the quality of life for someone really motivates me. Pet owners trust us daily with their animals and expect us to do all we can to make sure they are healthy and well cared for. There is just something about knowing that I can have a small part in the life of someone who is trusting me to care for something that is so valuable to them."
5.
How do you approach offering support to families who are demanding or are facing uncertainty with the health of their pets?
When a pet is sick or injured, pet owners are often fearful because of potentially uncertain outcomes. Family and patient supporters are naturally concerned and often anxious. Communicating your compassion and knack for comforting others will show an interviewer how well-rounded you are as a veterinarian.

Darby's Answer #1
"To those who are unfamiliar with veterinary medicine, this may seem like an odd statement, but caring for family members often requires as much patience as caring for their pets. They are naturally afraid of a possible difficult outcome. I always try to speak kindly and offer time to answer questions. While every day does not offer as much free time as others, a few minutes can often make a big difference to a concerned family member."
Darby's Answer #2
"I know what it's like to be worried about a pet that needs care. People who are not animal lovers don't always understand it, but it can be a very stressful time. I always try to remember how I felt when I was the one in need of support and to treat those family members with the same kind of respect and kindness that I wanted."
6.
Our veterinarians usually rotate on-call schedules to care for animals that must be cared for after hours. Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
Being flexible with the schedule you are willing to work is always a plus. However, many people work more than one job or have a one parent home which requires them to have a flexible schedule. Others simply prefer to work one shift rather than another. Being upfront with the interviewer about what schedule suits your preference could help prevent conflict later on. It is easier to plan a schedule you can agree on than it is to fix problems that arise due to fear of being rejected. Be honest and direct.

Darby's Answer #1
"I am not married and have no children at this time. So, I am pretty flexible with my schedule. If I had a choice, I would prefer the late shift, as I am a bit of a night owl. However, I am excited about the opportunity to become a part of this team and am willing to work where I'm needed."
Darby's Answer #2
"While I am not opposed to working overtime or extended schedules such as holidays, I would like to have the opportunity to spend time with my small children, as well."
7.
We are hoping to hire two new full time veterinarians soon. What are your thoughts on someone with the same credentials, but more experience, making more money than you?
Most employers do offer higher salary incentives to get more seasoned employees. This is not meant to devalue a person's knowledge or experience, but rather paying for more experience. It is important to note that the interviewer is not saying you will definitely make less than someone with more experience. Many times this question is to see how you respond and how badly you want a position. If an employee is willing to put in the work and earn the pay increase, employers often see them as someone worth investing in. This is a good time to ask what the beginning salary is and discuss options that are negotiable such as benefits and paid time off.

Darby's Answer #1
"I realize that salaries are often determined by the amount of experience an applicant has. I appreciate the fact that employers recognize experience as a factor in determining pay and am willing to show that I am worthy."
Darby's Answer #2
"I don't have a problem with someone who has more experience than me making a higher salary. I respect the experience that others have and know that I will have to prove myself."
8.
How do you feel about performing job duties that are not listed in your job description during hectic times?
Being willing to lend a hand on hectic days tells the interviewer that you are committed to this job. Be careful when answering, though, that when you say you are willing to do things that are not in your description that these things are covered in your scope of practice.

Darby's Answer #1
"I realize that there may be times that extra duties may be required of me. I have no problem doing additional jobs as long as it is something that I have been trained to do."
Darby's Answer #2
"I actually look forward to being able to learn and assist with extra responsibilities. I also realize that not every job that needs to be done in a clinic may be listed in a job description."
9.
Being a veterinarian must be both rewarding and heartbreaking. How would you describe what you do?
The interviewer understands that a day in the life of a veterinarian can have several emotions. Questions like this give you an opportunity to let the interviewer see a side of you that is 'reachable', so to speak. When something that can be rewarding can also be heart-wrenching at times, but you press on, this shows your true love for what you do.

Darby's Answer #1
"It's often both things at the same time. In the emergency room, we see everything from a mild case of the sniffles to life-threatening trauma, poisoning and even cancer. You have to be ready for anything at all times. With that said, we see a surprising amount of normal, routine stuff."
Darby's Answer #2
"You are right; there are days that one case makes you feel like you can walk on water and the next one makes you want to shut the door and cry a while. One of the most heartbreaking things isn't the horrible trauma case--I can usually fix that. Rather, it's a dog who had early signs that we could have picked up on but now things have gotten so serious that it's very difficult to treat. The other thing that's incredibly heartbreaking is when finances come between a pet and the family and getting the pet better."
10.
Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next 2-3 years that may prevent you from continuing employment here, if offered a position?
While committing to a long-term employment contract may not be required for employment, a potential employer still wants to know if you plan on staying and becoming established or if you may have potential plans for change later. It is important to be honest, even if you feel like you may not be able to commit to long-term employment.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have no plans of relocating and all of my family live close by. I have traveled before and have come to a place in my life where I want to find a stationary position and grow with a company. With those things in mind, I do not see a predictable circumstance that would cause me to be unable to continue employment."
Darby's Answer #2
"My goal is to find a position that will allow me to work long term. I do not anticipate any significant changes that would affect that. I have family that lives nearby and close ties to the community."
11.
What are your thoughts about pet owners promoting breeding instead of promoting adopting pets from shelters or rescues?
This is a touchy subject for many people. Although the interviewer wants your opinion, and you should be honest, remember to be tactful and respectful, regardless of your personal thoughts.

Darby's Answer #1
"I know that people have different opinions about this. While I understand the argument for both sides, I am not sure if I feel one way or the other completely. I do feel that if someone is going to breed animals, they should be well educated on the breed, have a strong relationship with a veterinarian and a good record of care for their animals. I also have a very soft heart for rescues. I honestly believe that this is something that is a personal choice, but one that should be considered carefully."
Darby's Answer #2
"I have to admit, I have not had a lot of experience with people who are breeders. I have, on the other hand, spent a bit of time working in shelters and rescues and am passionate about helping to rehome animals in need. Having said that, I feel like the decision to breed is something that an individual family needs to make."
12.
What made you choose the field of veterinary medicine?
With all of the career choices available, the interviewer wants to know why veterinary medicine was the choice for you. You don't have to have some elaborate answer, but a simple 'I love animals' should not be the extent of your answer, either. If you have a personal story, this would be a good time to share it.

Darby's Answer #1
"From the time I was a kid, I loved animals. I grew up on a farm and was taught to care for them. As I got a little older, I was taught how to give animals their immunizations and other medicines and helped deliver new animals when needed. I knew I wanted a career working with animals and have never regretted choosing veterinary medicine."
Darby's Answer #2
"When I first began researching careers, I actually thought I wanted to be a pediatrician. My love for medicine stayed at the forefront of my plans, but my love for animals caused me to shift my final career choice to veterinary medicine."
13.
What sets you apart from other veterinarians, and why are you the best candidate for this job?
In most cases, more than one candidate is interviewed for a position before an offer of employment is made. This is your chance to tell the interviewer what makes you a better choice. However, remember that being confident and being conceited have a fine line of separation. Highlight your strengths, but remember to be humble.

Darby's Answer #1
"I believe my dedication to my studies and the compassion that I have for others is something that will make me an asset if I am given the opportunity to work here. I look forward to being able to become a part of a team and becoming an asset to the teamwork that needs to be accomplished."
Darby's Answer #2
"I am passionate about learning more about veterinary medicine and want to work in a place where I can stay for the long-term and become a strong part of a team. I believe my history of dependability and my drive to work hard will make me a great candidate for this position."
14.
Has there ever been a time that you considered a different career?
Many employee candidates are unsure of how to answer this question. Most feel that if they say they may have other interests that the interviewer will not recommend them for employment. This is not necessarily the case. This is simply an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know your interests.

Darby's Answer #1
"I have never considered any career other than veterinary medicine. While I may consider taking additional classes at a later date, perhaps for a specialty certification, I have no intention of changing my career path."
Darby's Answer #2
"Actually, I had initially thought that I would become an attorney. There was just something about veterinary medicine that seemed to call me. I love what I do."
15.
What are some things that you like to do outside of work?
No matter what profession a person chooses, everyone needs some time to unwind and relax. Psychologists today say that a healthy balance in life allows a person to recharge and refocus which can result in better productivity at work. The interviewer simply wants to know what you do for you. Maybe you have a favorite pastime or hobby. This is yet another way for the interviewer to get to know you as a person.

Darby's Answer #1
"One of my favorite pastimes is writing. After a busy day at work, I like to journal or write articles for a blog that I author. Both of these forms of writing allow me to release any feelings of frustration I may experience, especially after a stressful day or a difficult situation at work. The writings in my journal are private and my way of 'letting it all out.' The blog articles, on the other hand, are my way of using creative writing to share stories with my followers."
Darby's Answer #2
"I really enjoy working out at the gym and, I also take a kickboxing class twice weekly. After a good workout or class, I always feel like I can rest better and wake up energized and ready for the next day."
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29 Veterinarian Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. If you were responsible for interviewing job applicants, what characteristics would you like to see in a candidate?
  2. What kind of pets do you own or have you owned in the past?
  3. In your opinion, what personality is best suited for a veterinarian?
  4. What makes you feel motivated to do a good job?
  5. How do you approach offering support to families who are demanding or are facing uncertainty with the health of their pets?
  6. Our veterinarians usually rotate on-call schedules to care for animals that must be cared for after hours. Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
  7. We are hoping to hire two new full time veterinarians soon. What are your thoughts on someone with the same credentials, but more experience, making more money than you?
  8. How do you feel about performing job duties that are not listed in your job description during hectic times?
  9. Being a veterinarian must be both rewarding and heartbreaking. How would you describe what you do?
  10. Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next 2-3 years that may prevent you from continuing employment here, if offered a position?
  11. What are your thoughts about pet owners promoting breeding instead of promoting adopting pets from shelters or rescues?
  12. What made you choose the field of veterinary medicine?
  13. What sets you apart from other veterinarians, and why are you the best candidate for this job?
  14. Has there ever been a time that you considered a different career?
  15. What are some things that you like to do outside of work?
  16. With animal abuse being highlighted more in the news and on social media, do you believe legislation and consequences for committing such acts are heading in the right direction?
  17. Have you ever worked with people who have diverse backgrounds or beliefs?
  18. What is your least favorite thing about being a veterinarian?
  19. Do you or have you ever participated in volunteer work?
  20. What are some things that you like about what you do as a veterinarian?
  21. What kind of coworkers do you find difficult to work with?
  22. Working in a veterinary clinic can be stressful at times. What are some ways that you prepare yourself for potentially stressful situations?
  23. What would your response be to a client who wants to euthanize her pet because they can no longer care for it?
  24. What would you describe as your biggest weakness?
  25. Do you feel like you are a good communicator and capable of building strong relationships with peers and clients?
  26. What would you do if you suspected that an animal you are treating was being abused?
  27. Share a difficult case you worked as a veterinarian.
  28. In your position now, knowing what you do, what would you say to someone who is just now starting a career as a veterinarian?
  29. What are your thoughts on mandatory spaying or neutering laws?
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