Landing an interview with a prospective employer is a significant accomplishment. This is your opportunity to make a personal connection with the employer and show why you’d be perfect for the job. Therefore, learning how to prepare and interview well is essential. Interviewers want to see that you are able to present yourself, that you are articulate and comfortable, and that you are able to handle difficult questions and situations. They also want to see what kind of colleague you will be.
- Big Interview: UMass students and Alums get FREE access to this training system that helps you prepare more effectively for a job interview and build your confidence
Some Basic Interview Tips:
- Be friendly to everyone you see. Stand and smile when people come into the room or when they are introduced to you.
- Offer a firm handshake and maintain eye contact when speaking to others.
- Sit up straight, and do not slouch.
- Don’t cross your arms during the interview.
- Don’t play with your hair, jewelry, or objects (such as pens).
- Listen patiently to each question, and don’t interrupt other speakers.
- Come prepared with questions for the interviewer!
For Virtual Interviews and more:
- Glassdoor.com's Tips for How to Ace Your Virtual Interview
- Candid Career's "Virtual Interview 101" is guaranteed to make you chuckle at least once
- Vault.com's Virtual Interview Tips & Checklist
When you do have an interview, you are welcome to schedule a practice interview with a professional career advisor in our office. In addition, UMass Amherst students and alumni have access to Big Interview, a free online training program that helps you prepare more effectively for a job interview and build your confidence.
- Access for Current Students: https://umass.biginterview.com/
- Access for UMass alumni: https://umassalumni.biginterview.com/
Different types of interviews you may encounter:
Screening Interviews: The screening interview is your chance to make a good first impression and to see if you qualify to move forward onto the next round interview. Typically, screening interviews are about 30 minutes-1 hour long and may be conducted on-site or via telephone.
Virtual Interviews: Employers may decide to host a virtual interview via Zoom or Skype. You’ll want to ensure that you have access to a computer with a camera, a quiet space (with no interruptions), and ample lighting. Make sure to test your camera and microphone prior to the interview and arrive at least 5-10 minutes early to test your technology.
Phone Interviews: Employers may invite you to a phone interview as it may be more convenient than meeting in person. Phone interviews may be considered a first-round screening and are generally between 30 minutes-1 hour long. To ensure optimal success, find a quiet space, take notes throughout your conversation, and smile; this helps set the tone for an engaging conversation.
On-Site Interviews: These interviews tend to be generally longer in nature. On-site interviews may be with multiple members of the team and consist of a few different conversations. You may also be asked to facilitate a presentation, or take an assessment, and/or conduct a case study. You will typically receive an agenda from the hiring team so you can best prepare for the big day.
Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI): The MMI allows the hiring team to get a more well-rounded view of how you think and behave in situations. Rather than one long interview, the MMI consists of multiple short interviews, typically involving 6-10 stations that are set up to test your capabilities in the following areas: Communication, Critical thinking, Empathy, Maturity, Self-awareness, and Teamwork. You can expect a MMI if you are applying to medical school. See a comprehensive MMI preparation guide, including questions to anticipate here.
Dietetic Internship Interviews: Congratulations! You have been extended an interview request for a Dietetic Internship. Your interviewer(s) will inquire about why you selected their program while also trying to gain further insight on your strengths and areas of improvement. No Dietetic Internship interviews are alike. Therefore, we recommend you conduct as much research as possible about the program you are interviewing for, and be prepared to answer behavioral-type and outlier interview questions.
Case Interviews: Case study interviews are an excellent way for you to demonstrate your critical-thinking, problem-solving, analytical, and forward-thinking skills, just to name a few. Employers will study how you are able to work through a case problem in real time.
Informational Interviewing: Is a way to gather real world information, meet people doing work in which you are interested, and start networking in professional situations where you do not presently have contacts. Go to the informational interview page here to learn the how to's.
Public Health Interview Questions
- Give me three words that best describe you.
- What are your short-term goals, within 5 years?
- What are your long-term goals, within 10 years?
- What are your strengths?
- Do you work better in groups or independently? Explain.
- What areas can you improve?
- How do you process new information, internally or externally?
- How do you handle stress?
- Do you consider yourself logical or emotional? Why?
- How do you handle failure? What have you learned from your failures?
- Do you see yourself as a leader or a follower? Explain.
- Do you speak any additional languages?
- Do you work better alone or with someone?
- What are you strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did you apply to this job/internship?
- What is your career goal?
- Describe a mistake you made at work, how you fixed it, and what you learned from it.
- What type of quantitative experience has your experience taught you?
- Why are you interested in the field of research?
- What is your take on bioterrorism? How does the work of an epidemiologist help?
- What areas of work are you most proficient in?
- Discuss a successful outcome from a volunteer project you have been involved with.
- Explain a time when you worked on a team. What was your role and what did you learn about yourself from the experience?
- What activities are you presently involved in at your university? Looking at your field experiences, which one did you learn the most from? Explain.
- Explain previous work experiences. Of all the jobs you have held, which one did you like best and why?
- Discuss any lab experiences you have had and what expertise you could bring to our company.
- What is your favorite class in college and why?
- Explain a time you had to demonstrate flexibility.
- What are some of your great accomplishments?
- Describe your computer skills. What other information technologies do you know?
- How do you resolve conflict in a group setting?
- What does networking mean to you? How does it enhance your professional abilities?
- What are your hobbies/extracurricular activities?
- How do you educate others in your school environment?
- If you are having difficulties, how do you obtain help?
- When you are given multiple tasks, how do you decide which one to do first?
- Why did you choose to study Public Health?
Biostatistics and Epidemiology Interview Questions
- Why are you interested in this (research/biostatician/epidemiologist) position?
- What puts you above other candidates for this program?
- What do you feel your role will be throughout the program? How do you feel about being an intern?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, rate how appealing this program is to you. Explain why. What is unappealing and what would you change about our program?
- What questions do you have for us in regards to our program?
- What are the roles of a (biostatician/epidemiologist)?
- What unique qualities can you bring to this program? What do you have to offer?
- How do you plan to handle criticism?
- How do you feel about working more than an 8-hour day, if so needed?
- What is your research experience and how have your studies prepared you for this position?
- Do you think an internship is important for your studies? Why?
- Explain what epidemiology/biostatistics is and what are the regular duties that they do?
- Explain the difference between endemic, epidemic, and pandemic.
- What is the approach that epidemiologists take to prevent a disease?
Community Health Interview Questions
- What are your community involvements?
- Describe an experience where you advise clients or community groups on issues related to improving general health, such as diet or exercise.
- In your opinion, how hard is it to report incidences of child or elder abuse, neglect, or threats of harm to authorities? Share an experience, if you have one.
Health Management, Promotion and Communication Interview Questions
- Have you ever been in a management position? Describe it.
- Explain a time you had to demonstrate flexibility.
- What field experience do you have for a health promotion and communication officer position?
Social and Behavioral Health Interview Questions
- What techniques do you use in crisis intervention?
- What are your opinions on the current welfare system?
- What is your theoretical orientation regarding family therapy?
Maternal and Child Health Interview Questions
- What do you know about WIC?
- Share an effective method you have used to counsel individuals and groups on good nutrition, eating habits, and/or nutrition monitoring.
- In the healthcare services industry there are many emotions in a day. Have your emotions ever been in the way of your productivity?
- Tell me about your healthcare related education and training.
Typical Grad School Interview Questions
- Walk me through a significant project (research or other) that you carried out.
- What do you think is the most pressing problem(s) facing public health today?
- If you were working with a team in country X, and you were tasked with determining the most cost -effective screening strategy for disease Y, how would you go about solving the problem?
- Give an example of a health outcome and explain how the built environment can influence it?
- Why did you decide to pursue graduate studies in public health?
Questions for YOU to ask during an interview
Interviews are for potential employers to get to know you, and vice versa. The absolute best way to demonstrate that you want the job, is to ask questions. If you do not ask questions, you will not appear prepared or that you want the job.
Ask questions that demonstrate that you have done background research prior to the interview. When you get asked the question “Do you have any questions for us?” say “Yes, I have prepared some questions ahead of time, would you mind if I take them out to refer to them at this time?” And then pull them from your padfolio.
Here are some sample questions.
- What results do you expect from a person in this position?
- What is the biggest challenge facing a person in this position?
- What do you consider the strengths and weaknesses of this organization?
- How will my success be measured?
- What is the best thing about working here?
- What is one thing you would change about this organization/position/unit/department and you can’t say budget?
- What concerns do you have about my application (or candidacy)? I would like to have the opportunity to address any before I leave as I really want this position.
- Based on what I read about your successes, (on the website, news, blog) what did the unit/dept./supervisor prioritize in order to achieve this level of success or recognition?
- What is something very successful that the last person in this position did?
- I saw on your LinkedIn profile that ________ Do you plan to continue with this work and how does it affect or impact______?
- Could you describe the work culture in more detail and any groups or activities that may exist or be possible to join?
- Do you feel that you are respected in this work and within this department?
- (When interviewing with more than one person) Could each of you provide one word that sums up how you feel about working here (or what it means to you to work here).
- What are the next steps in the hiring process, when do you anticipate making a decision?
- If I have further questions, who would be the best person to contact to follow up with?
- When may I call you to follow-up?