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Zookeeper Interview
Questions

32 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated September 25th, 2020 | 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     Environment    
Question 1 of 32
How do you get a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
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How to Answer
Have you ever had a great idea that a colleague or supervisor absolutely loved? Tell the interviewer about a time that you experienced the acceptance of one of your ideas.
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Answer Examples
1.
How do you get a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
Have you ever had a great idea that a colleague or supervisor absolutely loved? Tell the interviewer about a time that you experienced the acceptance of one of your ideas.

Rachelle's Answer
"Last year I made some recommendations to my peers and supervisor regarding a new and more robust composting system at the zoo. Everyone was really impressed with my concept and they implemented my idea slowly over a three month period. The composting system is still in place and working very well."
2.
What is your favorite animal to care for?
Do you have a favorite animal to care for? Perhaps you are best experienced in the care of a particular animal? Discuss your preferences with the interviewer.

Rachelle's Answer
"My favorite animal to care for has always been the penguin. Their intelligence and sense of community is amazing. It's a lot of fun to care for them."
3.
Are you able to cope with stressful situations?
As a Zookeeper you will have stressful situations arise that will require you to think quickly and react appropriately. Discuss with the interviewer how you handle stress and pressure and give an example if you can.

Rachelle's Answer
"I do work well under stressful situations. In my current position the most stressful situations are when an animal needs to be quarantined. During that time, I remain calm by strictly following the guidelines I am given. This keeps me focused and alleviates a lot of pressure."
4.
What are your salary expectations?
The best way to discuss your salary expectations are to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.

Rachelle's Answer
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000 and I would like to stay in the same range or slightly higher."
5.
Tell me about a situation where you had to quickly adapt to inevitable changes as a Zookeeper.
As a Zookeeper, you will be exposed to constant change. Assure the interviewer that you can quickly adapt to the changes that come your way. Talk about a recent instance when adaptability was required of you.

Rachelle's Answer
"In my most recent position we had a lot of turnover with management. It was difficult to learn the new preferences of my supervisors on such a frequent occasion but I was able to handle it well knowing that we all had the same end goal which was to ensure that the animals were properly cared for."
6.
What questions do you have for me?
Before your interview, do your research! Make sure you have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the website to make sure the answers are not obvious. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of questions you could have found the answers to from simply watching a video on their company site! Think of questions that are relevant to the industry. Did you read something about their care for the environment or volunteering? What interests you most about their mission? Some of your questions may be asking for clarifications about something. Other questions might be delving deeper into something that interests you about their vision or their company culture. Put together a list of up to ten questions so that you are prepared!
7.
Do you consider yourself an encourager? Give an example of a time when you helped others to be more enthusiastic in the workplace.
Working as a Zookeeper is a stressful position and emotions can run high. If you can be encouraging to your co-workers it will make your workplace much more enjoyable. Share with the interviewer how you have created an enthusiastic and encouraging environment in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer
"I am very active when it comes to encouraging my teammates and staff. Currently I oversee 2 summer interns and I definitely make sure to give them words of encouragement and constructive feedback whenever I can."
8.
What have you done to further your own professional development in the past 5 years?
It is always a great idea to continually develop yourself professionally. This could include career related courses, leadership workshops or safety training. Tell the interviewer how you have developed yourself professionally in the recent years.

Rachelle's Answer
"This past year has been a big one for me in regards to professional development. My current employer has provided me with additional training when it comes to aquatic animals and I have taken two leadership workshops. Also, all of my safety tickets and certifications have been renewed."
9.
When have you worked in an environment where you had to get dirty, sweaty, etc.?
Being a Zookeeper can be a very dirty job.Assure the interviewer that you are absolutely okay with getting messy on the job.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have worked at our city's animal shelter for the past 3 years. The majority of the time I am cleaning up after dogs, cats, and bunnies. It's often a messy and smelly job but I don't mind at all because it makes the animals so happy. Rest assured, I can absolutely handle getting dirty on the job."
10.
Have you ever mentored an apprentice zookeeper?
If you have mentored an apprentice zookeeper,
Rachelle's Answer
"Yes, I have mentored about 3 various apprentice zookeepers in my career. Every summer I have been given a new apprentice to work with. I quite enjoy it as it tests my own knowledge on topics I haven't necessarily revisited in awhile."
11.
Tell me about some successful animal training programs you designed. What was the initial problem you wanted to solve, and did you?
As a zookeeper, have you had the opportunity to create a training program for the animals? Perhaps you have even created a program but you have not presented it to your superiors. Talk to the interviewer about any training related ideas you have had.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have not implemented any animal training programs at this stage of my career; however, I have spent time thinking about ways to improve the animal training programs in our zoo. In my spare time I draft up ideas that I feel would be helpful. I'd be happy to show them to you sometime."
12.
When have you given a suggestion on improving an exhibit? Was your suggestion well-received?
Have you ever presented an idea to your supervisor that you felt would improve animal care, or efficiency on the job? Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to present new thoughts and ideas in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer
"I had an idea recently on how we could improve water conservation in the penguin exhibit. I brought the idea to my supervisor who gave me the opportunity to present my idea. It was well received and the zoo is taking a closer look, with a team of engineers, on how they could make that happen."
13.
How do you continue learning about animals now that you have completed college?
There are many great resources for Zookeepers to stay on top of trends and topics in animal care. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you continue educating yourself in your field.

Rachelle's Answer
"I continually educate myself about animals through the many resources provided by AAZK (The American Association of Zoo Keepers). In addition to this resource, there are many other education tools available online that I visit on a regular basis."
14.
In what ways do you enrich the animals lives?
This is a great time to show the interviewer how passionate you are about animal care. In which ways do you feel that you better the lives of the animals in your care?

Rachelle's Answer
"I enrich the lives of the animals in many ways and, in turn, they enrich mine. I improve their quality of life through providing them with a safe, happy place to live where food is guaranteed and their medical needs are tended to immediately. I truly love and care for these creatures in my care."
15.
Have you volunteered at our zoo before? If so, what was your experience like?
Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to a cause that you care about. If you have not volunteered at their zoo before, talk about other volunteer experience briefly and be sure to add in your knowledge of this particular zoo. If you have volunteered at their zoo discuss the positives of your experience.

If you have volunteered at their zoo: "I volunteered at your zoo last year during the grand opening of your new wildlife exhibits. I worked around the grounds doing general cleanup. It was a great way for me to get a feeling for the vibe here and I liked what I saw. It's a big reason why I am applying to work here."

If you have not volunteered at their zoo: "I volunteer with animals regularly, at my local animal shelter. I am passionate about animal care and, although I haven't volunteered with your particular zoo, I have great exposure to a variety of animals."
Rachelle's Answer
"I volunteered at your zoo last year during the grand opening of your new wildlife exhibits. I worked around the grounds doing general cleanup. It was a great way for me to get a feeling for the vibe here and I liked what I saw. It's a big reason why I am applying to work here."
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32 Zookeeper Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. How do you get a peer or colleague to accept one of your ideas?
  2. What is your favorite animal to care for?
  3. Are you able to cope with stressful situations?
  4. What are your salary expectations?
  5. Tell me about a situation where you had to quickly adapt to inevitable changes as a Zookeeper.
  6. What questions do you have for me?
  7. Do you consider yourself an encourager? Give an example of a time when you helped others to be more enthusiastic in the workplace.
  8. What have you done to further your own professional development in the past 5 years?
  9. When have you worked in an environment where you had to get dirty, sweaty, etc.?
  10. Have you ever mentored an apprentice zookeeper?
  11. Tell me about some successful animal training programs you designed. What was the initial problem you wanted to solve, and did you?
  12. When have you given a suggestion on improving an exhibit? Was your suggestion well-received?
  13. How do you continue learning about animals now that you have completed college?
  14. In what ways do you enrich the animals lives?
  15. Have you volunteered at our zoo before? If so, what was your experience like?
  16. Have you ever had difficulty with a supervisor?
  17. Why is this job right for you at this time in your career?
  18. How does this position fit into your career goals?
  19. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
  20. Why do you want to work for us?
  21. How do you believe your coworkers would describe you?
  22. Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team.
  23. Do you feel performance should be rewarded over experience?
  24. Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date.
  25. What has been your biggest professional win?
  26. Why is it important to regularly measure an animals weight?
  27. Have you ever had to deal with a serious sickness or injury of an animal in your zoo?
  28. Tell me about your post-secondary education. What was your most challenging course? Which course was your favorite?
  29. Tell me about your education. How did it prepare you for this position?
  30. How do you stay on schedule with animal feeding, bathing and exercise routines? What gets top priority when scheduling your time?
  31. Have you ever been overloaded with work?
  32. Why are you the best zookeeper for us?
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