While dieticians work mainly with people who are sick, nutritionists mostly work with healthy people, using nutrition as a method of preventing illness and preserving health. Are you a nutritionist who is preparing for a job interview? Get prepared by reviewing this list of frequently asked interview questions for nutritionists and dieticians.
Clinical Interview Questions
If the job you’ve applied for has a strong clinical component, this is probably where the bulk of the questions will come from. It’s essential that the interviewer understands how much you know about the clinical aspects of being a nutritionist. This is also how you’ll demonstrate your comfort levels with various populations.
- Are there any particular populations you are most interested in advising?
- What are two nutrition related medical problems associated with children under the age of five in WIC?
- How would you create a menu for a vegetarian on a high protein high calorie diet who doesn't consume dairy products?
- Describe a daily diet for a patient with Type 1 Diabetes.
- Describe a daily diet for a patient with Type 2 Diabetes.
- How would you counsel the parents of a child recently diagnosed with diabetes?
- Are you comfortable working with a geriatric population?
- What kind of menu would you put together for a “Rainbow Foods Week” at an elementary school?
- What nutrition advice would you give to a middle-aged man with AIDS?
- Describe the diet you would prescribe for a patient looking to lose weight.
- Describe the diet you would prescribe for a patient who needed to gain weight.
- Do you have experience with home care?
- Do you have transportation for home visits?
- Have you had any experience with the Department of Health or The Joint Commission surveys?
- How do you stay up to date on the changing science of nutrition?
- What kind of diet would you recommend for a client who needs to gain weight?
- How to teach clients to keep a food diary?
- Are you comfortable reading research articles and evaluating the findings?
Interpersonal Interview Questions
While clinical knowledge is crucial, a nutritionist also has to deal with people who may not understand what it means to change their diets. In addition, they may not want to change the way they eat so the answers to these questions give you the chance to show the depths of your compassion and empathy.
- Describe a time you mentored someone outside of addressing their nutrition.
- Share an experience you had in dealing with a difficult client and how you handled the situation.
- What is your go-to method for counseling individuals and groups on good nutrition and eating habits?
- What type of criticism are you most receptive to?
- Have you ever disagreed with a physician?
- How do you act in a group?
- What do you say to a client who brings in some diet information they found on a website?
- Do you prefer to work with others or independently?
- How comfortable are you coordinating dietary recommendations with a physician?
- Describe how you turned a negative customer experience into a more positive one.
- Describe your counseling style.
Questions About Communication Skills
Communication is key for every job and as a nutritionist you’ll need to bridge the gap between clients and their physicians. Or, you may be called upon to educate other nutritionists.
- How competent are you at writing, giving presentations and handling professional conversations?
- How often do you work with physicians or social workers?
- How would you deal with an angry client?
- What do you do with a dissatisfied customer?
- Can you teach clients how to evaluate health-related websites?
- Describe your strengths as an educator.
Questions About Your Personal Attributes
Your interviewer will want to see how you fit into the company culture and what kind of an employee you’ll be in general, so these questions aren’t all going to be about diet and nutrition.
- What are your two highest priorities?
- Who have you learned the most from your work experience?
- What are your strongest attributes?
- Name a time when you exemplified or witnessed dignity in the workplace.
- How do you feel about people who are in welfare programs?
- What areas of medical nutrition therapy are you most interested in?
General Job Interview Questions
In addition to job specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans. Review this list of the most common interview questions and examples of answers.