Prepare for your Dietetic Internship Interview

I did not have a clue if they were going to ask calculation questions, so I opened up old power point slides and had my Medical Nutrition Therapy text book open to the chapter, just in case.  The following questions are all I used to prepare for the interviews. I could pull from these questions to answer other questions. I wrote out really long answers to them and knew my answers inside and out.  It was different from memorizing them.  I knew where I got stuck and tripped over my words from practicing answering them by myself, so I learned to think ahead to the next part of my answer while still talking.  I practiced all the questions a few days before and then practiced again 30 minutes before the interview until the time they called so it was fresh and I was in the reflective interview mindset.  No one asked any calculation questions or anything to do with nutrition knowledge.  For the Personal Statements we had to talk about our short and long term goals, so if it has been months since you’ve thought about a goal other than getting the DI, look back to that essay so it’s fresh in your head and you’re familiar with how to communicate it. 
I also had my written answers to these questions in front of me for the phone interviews. I highly suggest it.

Questions: 

1.) Tell me about yourself.
There’s nothing like being prepared but then getting caught off guard by this free style question.  I was not asked this, but I prepared to be asked.  I was going to say where I am from, where I graduated from, and give a short summary without being too personal.  For example, I applied for 1 community emphasis program, so I was going to briefly talk about my passion for nutrition and how I tutored inner city children in college and got to speak with them about nutrition.  Stuff like that.  Personal experiences that show them you really love nutrition and helping people but that you may not get to reference later on.  On another note, I did think of an example from work or school whenever it could relate to an answer. I elaborated after I told the (very) short story. I practiced telling the stories beforehand so I was comfortable with giving enough detail but not too much. 

2.) Leadership
The question could be what is leadership to you, or give me an example of a time you showed leadership, what skills does a good leader have, or are you a leader, etc.. So I prepared my answer for all angles.  I had a definition for a good leader (They inspire others to follow, they lead by example, they are humble, they help everyone.. stuff like that in nicer writing.) I said one becomes a leader by having strong work ethic that others can appreciate and treating everyone with respect.  I was not asked a leadership question directly, but I pulled from this question to answer others.

3.) Good customer service
What is an example of good customer service, etc.
Listening to what your customers say and serving them with a good attitude.  I said it requires applicable knowledge..and that we should always be expanding our knowledge and skills.

4.) Strong work ethic
I didn’t know what this meant, so I looked it up so I could use the term and for just in case they asked me what it meant to me. I said someone who has strong work ethic is motivated, honest, reliable,  and has a good attitude.  They maintain professionalism and treat others with respect.   I definitely pulled form this question, but I was not asked it directly.

5.) What does professionalism mean to you
Just define this. I wasn’t prepared for it, so I made something up.  Prepare for this one!!  It somewhat overlaps with good work ethic. 

6.) What makes you a good candidate?
I suggest you think of 3 traits, like you’re self disciplined, or whatever, and elaborate, elaborate, elaborate.  If you’re compassionate and its a community emphasis program or job, briefly talk about how compassion is important for public health.

7.)  Weaknesses
I had 2 prepared and elaborated. Out of my 3 interviews, only 1 asked me, and they only asked for one. Be prepared to talk about how you worked on it. Don’t say you work too hard, or any of those obviously false weakness ones.  If you’re actually a perfectionist, maybe don’t say it that way because it’s one of those cliche answers. Find another way to say it. Actually give them a weakness, and even if they don’t ask, briefly say how you’ve been working on it.  No one is perfect, they know that, we know that, so be honest, but then concentrate on what you’ve done to fix it.

8.) What skills should a good dietitian have?
I was never asked this, but I pulled from my prepared answer!! I wrote about how they should be a good listener…but compassionate and understanding and see the client’s health and wellbeing as the most important thing.  Good communication and full knowledge of nutrition are important for explaining food modifications. They are lifetime learners so as to be the best resource for a client…etc!

9.) Think of why you want to complete you internship here or why you want the job there…etc. Specific!

10.) Your concept of the time the interviews might take. I knew that it was 36 hours of rotations plus 3 class hours. I had previously talked about my job I had worked during college, so I said I was planning on not having a P/T job so I can devote all of my time to the internship. 

 

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