Veterinary interview questions
Headshot of Samantha Cantor, VMD
Words by:
Samantha Cantor, VMD — Veterinary Success Manager

Veterinary Interview Questions

Did you ever go on a date with someone who seemed great on paper, only to find out you don’t really get along so well in person?  You have some context from their profile (i.e., resume), but you never really know who they’ll be in person until you meet and chat. Finding the right job as a veterinarian is a lot like dating.

Everyone puts their best foot forward online (resume), but until you get to chatting, you never know whether you might be a fit. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare, especially when it comes to veterinary interview questions.

As the Veterinary Success Manager for IndeVets, I’ve interviewed hundreds of my colleagues to see if they might be a good fit as an Associate Relief Veterinarian. (BTW, If you’re curious about how Associate Relief Veterinarians are bringing joy and fulfillment to their veterinary careers with the support of our incredible team here at IndeVets, click here for more information.)

It’s certainly a veterinarian’s market as there are about 5,000 openings for veterinarians each year over the next decade – so options abound. Employment of veterinarians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average of all occupations (1).

 

Preparing Your Veterinary Resume for the Interview

Though there are plenty of jobs available, finding the right job is key, so it is paramount to prepare for your interview and make a great first impression. This starts with your resume. Having a polished veterinary resume is simple, you just need your education (GPA is NOT required), and employment history.

With your employment history, it’s helpful to have a consolidated list of roles and responsibilities including supervisory positions and mentorship (given or received). Additionally, it’s nice to include volunteerism and anything else you’re passionate about – this helps folks you’re chatting with more easily connect with you.

You do not need to include personal information or feel ashamed about gaps in resumes – just be prepared to discuss them professionally. (Ex: I did not work in-clinic from 2007-2008 because I was growing my family. During that time, I kept up with continuing education.) You want to work for a place that supports you as a whole person, so bring your whole self to your resume and your interview.

 

Interview Prep

Before the Interview

Do your research and consider the following:

  1. Why are you looking for a new position?
  2. What does a dream job look like for you? Could this employer support that?
  3. What drew you to this company or practice? Do their core values align with your own?

It is the mutual matchmaking of it all, and an opportunity for your interviewer to get to know you and for you to get to know that organization or practice.

Interviewers should focus on whether this person is a good fit for their team (making sure to check unconscious bias (2).) and whether they have the necessary skills, abilities, and background to fulfill the needs of the role.

The First Interview Conversation

Expect some resume connection points (*insert team mascot bonding here*) and hearing more on both sides about why the role may be a mutual good fit. This is the “first date” so come with your cards on the table – salary expectations, schedule preferences, preferences in medicine ready to go. There’s no use in wasting time if goals and priorities don’t align off the bat.  Once you decide you might be a match (remember this is a mutual decision, and it’s not personal either way), you’ll typically move on to a second interview. This interview is more specific, and question-based, rather than an introductory chat.

Clinical Skills & Cultural Fit

Here at IndeVets, we have all veterinarians complete clinical case studies to make sure we’re a good fit medically. This isn’t a quiz, it’s just making sure we’re all on the same page with the way we practice high quality medicine. We also have applicants complete a personality assessment to see how they might manage changing environments, and the stress (and fun!) of being in different clinics with different teams. Once those are complete, the goal of the actual interview is to make sure this is someone that you’d like to work with or bring your own pet to comfortably (remember to check that bias (2) again though).

It’s also helpful to assess where this person could use skill building or already has expertise that could support the mission of the company. We look for willingness to take feedback as a top priority, too. Make sure to come with your own veterinary interview questions too – remember this is your time to make sure it’s a mutual perfect match.

 

Summary

It may be a veterinarians’ job market, but this is a small industry, so always come prepared, professional, and with genuine gratitude and empathy. Do your research in advance about the company and your interviewer if possible. Have your veterinary interview questions prepared, and most importantly BE YOURSELF! It’s only a good fit if it’s a mutual great match – just like any other relationship.

 

References

  1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2024). “Veterinarians.” Occupational Outlook Handbook. Accessed 2 April 2024. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm#tab-6.
  2. Nishi N. (2023). “Unconscious bias in medicine.” Colorado State University. Accessed 24 April 2024. https://cvmbs.source.colostate.edu/unconscious-bias-in-medicine/