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Veterinary Technician Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Health    
Question 1 of 25
What are some goals you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
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How to Answer
First of all, what are your goals? Maybe you want to work at a zoo. You might even aspire to work in veterinary internal medicine. This question may seem overwhelming as you are entering your first job in a new career. Take heart! It's okay if you don't have your future all figured out! Here's a way to answer it:

"I really enjoy helping sick and injured animals in emergency situations. Right now I am refining the skills that would help me work in critical care."

You may be asked a follow up question like, "Why do you enjoy emergency medicine?" or asked to give an example of a situation. Talk about the details. What skills and knowledge will you gain from this job you're applying for that will help you to accomplish your goal? Knowing how this new position will fit into your career goals and articulating that to your interviewer will help you score extra points!
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Answer Examples
1.
What are some goals you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
First of all, what are your goals? Maybe you want to work at a zoo. You might even aspire to work in veterinary internal medicine. This question may seem overwhelming as you are entering your first job in a new career. Take heart! It's okay if you don't have your future all figured out! Here's a way to answer it:

"I really enjoy helping sick and injured animals in emergency situations. Right now I am refining the skills that would help me work in critical care."

You may be asked a follow up question like, "Why do you enjoy emergency medicine?" or asked to give an example of a situation. Talk about the details. What skills and knowledge will you gain from this job you're applying for that will help you to accomplish your goal? Knowing how this new position will fit into your career goals and articulating that to your interviewer will help you score extra points!
Rachelle's Answer
"I really enjoy helping sick and injured animals in emergency situations. Right now I am refining the skills that would help me work in critical care."
2.
If a vet asked you to do something that was outside of your job description, how would you respond?
Tricky question, eh? Here's the deal: if your boss asked you to do anything outside of your job description just say, "Yes!" As a vet tech you will have a wide range of responsibilities already, but there may be times when you're asked to do something an assistant typically does. You might even be asked to take care of something a veterinarian does! When asked to do something you don't know how to do, now that's a different story. "Sure, can you show me how to do it? I have an idea, but I could use a little help." While we encourage an enthusiastic YES to anything your boss asks of you, use discretion. Make sure it's a task you're knowledgeable about it enough to give it a go. If not, don't be afraid to ask for help!
Rachelle's Answer
"Yes!"
3.
Tell me about a time when you provided excellent customer service.
Before you give an example, think about what excellent customer service means to you. Does it mean making the customer happy? What skills are required?
Rachelle's Answer
"I was working at a restaurant and one of my customers had a food allergy, a broken wrist and rowdy kids. I made sure the kitchen was cautious with her food order and I made sure the kids were entertained. I did my best to make the experience as easy for her as possible. She was pleased with her experience and told my manager too."
4.
Why are you the best person for this position?
Interview tip: Walk into the interview knowing you are the best person for the job and be able to tell them why. Other candidates may offer more experience and a broader spectrum of skills, but you offer something unique that will make you an asset to the company. Remember that! Now, how do you talk about it?

"My compassion for animals and my commitment to accuracy and precision make me excellent at my job. I care about quality and understand the importance of efficiency. I am also easy going and fun to work with."

The more you know about the company, the culture and the veterinarian, the more you will know what to share when asked the question. You want to highlight the areas of your skill that you know are important to them. And if you know how much they value teamwork and positive attitudes, talk about how you embody those values.
Rachelle's Answer
"My compassion for animals and my commitment to accuracy and precision make me excellent at my job. I care about quality and understand the importance of efficiency. I am also easy going and fun to work with."
5.
How do you handle stress?
Picture yourself pinning down a large pit bull who is peeing all over the table while you administer anesthesia as cats cry in the background, the phone is ringing off the hook, and you can hear a small terrier whimpering and banging itself against the kennel. Your job will be stressful. Knowing how to handle stress will help you to navigate the ups and downs in a constantly changing environment. Take some time to think about what you would be able to do when you are busy at work feeling your heart rate rise and your nerves begin to shake. Your coping skills outside of work might be difficult to apply, as you can't stop what you're doing and run to yoga class. However, you can take deep breaths and allow yourself to take a break in between patients. You can laugh about the fact that you are covered in dog shit and you can enjoy the company of your coworkers. Getting through the tough parts of your job requires you to have a good perspective and be able to make light of situations.
6.
Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
When you start a new job, you may be excited about the company and the people you'll get to work with, but there are some unknowns you can't predict. It's up to you to roll with it or get frustrated. Maybe your boss implemented a late or tardy policy that you didn't agree with. Or it could be that you only had 15 minutes to assess a patient and you thought you needed at least 30 minutes. How did you handle it? Being passive in these situations isn't necessarily the best response, but you also don't want to get upset in front of your boss. We recommend a peaceful solution. Calmly offer your stance, but be okay with your boss's reasoning, even if it doesn't make sense. You have to pick your battles. How have you done this in the past?
7.
Give me an example of a time when you failed.
No one wants to show weakness in an interview. Talking about failure seems like it might hurt your chances of getting the job, right? Wrong! If you can talk about a time you failed with precision and poise, you may help your chances! Here's how:

1) Think about a time when you made a big mistake at work. What happened? Did you forget something important? Was it a careless mistake?
2) How did you handle it? Did you apologize? Did you make things right? What were your choices? Sometimes you can't fix the problem but you can definitely learn from it.
3) What did you learn? Going forward, maybe you will read an email over a few times before sending it. Showing you care enough about the quality of your work and how it affects your coworkers is a hard quality to find!

Prepare an example and recite it to yourself until you feel confident talking about it in your interview. Focus on what you learned and try not to get caught up in the details of what went wrong.
8.
What specialized area did you focus on during your studies? Why?
Do you prefer working with small animals or large animals? Are you most interested in biomedical research or clinical pathology? What area of veterinary medicine is most interesting to you?

"I enjoy the challenge of performing surgery on small animals. There are so many details to think about, like how much anesthesia to administer with the least side effects."

As you contemplate why you chose that particular area of focus, think about the skills it takes to perform something like surgery on a cat. What are the qualities that will make you a pro as you perfect these procedures?
Rachelle's Answer
"I enjoy the challenge of performing surgery on small animals. There are so many details to think about, like how much anesthesia to administer with the least side effects."
9.
How would your co-workers describe you?
You may be carefree and fun-loving with your friends on the weekends, but at work, you are focused and professional. The interviewer is interested in your personality and how you will fit with the team. As you prepare for this question, picture a few scenarios that have occurred in your current or previous position. How did you respond? Are you reliable and on-time? What are some of the qualities that are important to you in a coworker? Think about how you embody those qualities and share 2-3.
10.
What 3 qualities in a veterinarians do you most admire? Why do you feel these qualities are important?
"I think communication skills, decision making skills and compassion are all important qualities of a veterinarian. They have to be able to explain what they need from their techs and assistants, and handle customers. They need to make quick decisions and care for animals as well as their staff."

These are just a few examples we think are important. From your experience, what matters most to you? Maybe business skills or dedication rank higher for you. Think about which qualities matter to you most and why.
Rachelle's Answer
"I think communication skills, decision making skills and compassion are all important qualities of a veterinarian. They have to be able to explain what they need from their techs and assistants, and handle customers. They need to make quick decisions and care for animals as well as their staff."
11.
Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
Vet techs are expected to give great care to their customers and their animals. They need to be flexible, hard-working and willing to deal with the smelliest, dirtiest of situations. They need to be accurate, decisive and smart. With all of these qualities in mind, think of an example that might apply to your new role. Examples of providing amazing customer service to turn an upset customer into a happy one or staying late to finish a project when everyone else went home are both great ways to show you went above and beyond. Take some time to prepare a couple of examples you might use in your interview.
12.
How will you handle euthanasia?
Do you remember when your dog Skippy was taken to the vet as a child and he never came home? How devastating to lose a pet. They become a furry family member on four legs. Your ability to relate and show compassion to pets and customers will help you throughout these situations. Putting an animal to sleep is sometimes the most compassionate choice when they are suffering. Consider responding in this way:

"When I am forced with no better decision but to euthanize a beloved pet, I take time to talk with the owner and explain the situation. I give them choices and time to think it over. I am sensitive to the customer and the animal's needs and I try very hard to not get emotional."
Rachelle's Answer
"When I am forced with no better decision but to euthanize a beloved pet, I take time to talk with the owner and explain the situation. I give them choices and time to think it over. I am sensitive to the customer and the animal's needs and I try very hard to not get emotional."
13.
Tell me about time you had a conflict with a team member. How did you handle it?
When you're working closely with your team in a small room with dogs barking and the smell of cat urine, you will need to be able to maneuver through conflicts easily. Here's an example of how to approach this question:

"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I asked her to coffee so that we could chat outside of the workplace. After talking with her, she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."

Give a REAL example. Breakdown what happened and how you handled it professionally. Focus on the solution, not the conflict. If you wish you would have done something different, share it. Showing you can learn from past conflicts shows maturity.
Rachelle's Answer
"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I asked her to coffee so that we could chat outside of the workplace. After talking with her, she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."
14.
How do you handle an unhappy customer?
A customer at a vet clinic could be unhappy for a number of reasons. It's up to you to resolve any mistakes within your power and appease the customer to keep them coming back. In your experience with customer service, which skills have helped the most? Listening is the best place to start. Sometimes all your customer needs is to express themselves. Pets are a very sensitive subject. You may have done everything perfectly, but George the cat is still suffering from feline leukemia. You can't cure George, but you can listen to the owner. Think of an example of when you had an unhappy customer. What did you do?
15.
How do you determine the best treatment for an animal?
There's a lot of pressure to choose the right action to take when an animal is being treated for an illness or injury. Sometimes you walk a thin line. How do you assess the situation to choose what's best? Luckily you have the help of your partner in crime, the veterinarian, to assist you with decision making.
More Interview Q&As
Explore expert tips and resources to be more confident in your next interview.
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Suggested Career
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25 Veterinary Technician 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. What are some goals you would like to accomplish in the next five years?
  2. If a vet asked you to do something that was outside of your job description, how would you respond?
  3. Tell me about a time when you provided excellent customer service.
  4. Why are you the best person for this position?
  5. How do you handle stress?
  6. Give me a specific example of a time when you had to conform to a policy with which you did not agree.
  7. Give me an example of a time when you failed.
  8. What specialized area did you focus on during your studies? Why?
  9. How would your co-workers describe you?
  10. What 3 qualities in a veterinarians do you most admire? Why do you feel these qualities are important?
  11. Tell me about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
  12. How will you handle euthanasia?
  13. Tell me about time you had a conflict with a team member. How did you handle it?
  14. How do you handle an unhappy customer?
  15. How do you determine the best treatment for an animal?
  16. How do you feel about cleaning up after animals?
  17. How do you manage your time in the work place?
  18. What will you do if you are working for a vet that only allots 15 minutes for routine visits/physical exams?
  19. What are some of the animals you've worked with in the past?
  20. What would you do different with your career training if you could start over again?
  21. Why do you want to work at our clinic?
  22. What do you do when you are working with a scared animal?
  23. How do you maintain accurate patient records?
  24. Describe a time when you anticipated a problem and took measures to prevent it.
  25. How would you perform this procedure?
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