25 Animal Behaviorist Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an animal behaviorist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Whether you want to work with companion animals, farm animals, or wildlife, you’ll need to know how to answer animal behaviorist interview questions. Animal behaviorists study the behavior of animals in the wild and in captivity. They try to understand why animals behave the way they do and how they can be trained.

Most animal behaviorist jobs require a master’s degree in animal behavior or a related field, such as psychology or biology. But even if you have the necessary education and experience, you’ll still need to impress potential employers with your answers to animal behaviorist interview questions. We’ve put together a list of sample questions and answers to help you prepare for your next interview.

Common Animal Behaviorist Interview Questions

1. Are you familiar with the principles of operant conditioning? How would you apply them to your work as an animal behaviorist?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of a specific behavioral theory and how you apply it in your work. You can answer this question by briefly describing what operant conditioning is, then explaining how you would use the principles of operant conditioning to help animals with their behavior problems.

Example: “Operant conditioning is a type of learning that occurs when a subject’s actions cause a stimulus or reward. In my previous role as an animal behaviorist, I used operant conditioning principles to train dogs who were afraid of loud noises. I first taught them to associate positive feelings with the noise through classical conditioning. Then, I rewarded them for approaching the noise using operant conditioning.”

2. What are the most important skills for an animal behaviorist to have? Why?

This question can help interviewers understand what you value in your own work and how it relates to the role. When answering, consider which skills are most important for an animal behaviorist and why they’re beneficial.

Example: “The two most important skills for an animal behaviorist are patience and empathy. These skills allow me to better understand my patients’ needs and communicate with their owners about treatment plans. I also think that a strong understanding of animal psychology is essential because it allows me to predict behaviors and develop effective solutions.”

3. How would you conduct a study to determine if a specific environmental factor was causing abnormal behaviors in animals?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your research skills and ability to apply them in a professional setting. In your answer, you can describe the steps you would take to complete such a study.

Example: “I would first identify the abnormal behavior I was observing in animals. Then, I would create a hypothesis that explains why the specific environmental factor is causing the behavior. Next, I would conduct an experiment by removing the environmental factor from the animal’s environment and monitoring its behaviors for any changes. If the behavior returns after removing the environmental factor, then my hypothesis is correct. However, if the behavior does not return, then it means that the environmental factor is not the cause of the behavior.”

4. What is the most interesting animal behavior problem you’ve encountered during your career? How did you solve it?

This question can give the interviewer insight into your problem-solving skills and how you apply them to animal behavior. Your answer should include a specific example of an interesting case, what steps you took to solve it and the results of your actions.

Example: “The most interesting animal behavior problem I’ve encountered was when I worked with a dog that had developed separation anxiety after his owner went on maternity leave. The client wanted to know if there were any ways she could help her dog cope while she was away from home. We decided that the best way to address this issue would be through training. I taught the owner some techniques for helping her dog feel more comfortable when she left him alone at home. After several weeks of practice, the dog learned to relax when he was alone and no longer displayed signs of separation anxiety.”

5. Provide an example of a time when you successfully trained an animal to perform a specific task or behavior.

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience training animals and how you can apply that skill in their organization. Use examples from your past experience where you successfully trained an animal or group of animals to perform a task, such as sitting on command or walking on a leash.

Example: “In my last role, I worked with a dog owner who wanted to train her dog to walk on a leash without pulling. She was having trouble teaching the dog because she would get frustrated when he pulled on the leash and would give up trying to teach him. We started by practicing commands like sit and stay so the dog could focus on me instead of what he wanted to do. Then, we practiced walking forward while staying in place until the dog learned to listen to me.”

6. If an animal was displaying aggressive or fearful behaviors, how would you determine the root cause?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your diagnostic skills and determine how you would approach the situation. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to identify the cause of the animal’s behavior and implement a plan for treatment.

Example: “I would first try to observe the animal’s behaviors in their natural environment to get an idea of when they’re most likely to display these behaviors. I would then perform a thorough physical exam to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing the behavior. If there are no underlying health issues, I would use positive reinforcement training techniques to help them learn new behaviors.”

7. What would you do if an animal in your care was injured during a behavioral test?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your decision-making skills and how you handle stressful situations. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure the animal’s safety and recovery.

Example: “If an animal was injured during a behavioral test, I would first make sure that they were safe and comfortable. Then, I would evaluate the extent of their injuries and determine whether or not it was safe for me to treat them myself. If I felt like I could treat the injury on my own, I would do so immediately. However, if I thought the animal needed more advanced care, I would call in a veterinarian to examine the animal and provide treatment.”

8. How well do you perform under pressure?

Employers may ask this question to assess your ability to perform well in a high-pressure environment. This is especially important for animal behaviorists, as they often work with clients who are experiencing anxiety or other emotional issues. To answer this question, you can describe a time when you performed well under pressure and the positive results of that situation.

Example: “I have experience working in a high-pressure environment, as I worked at an emergency veterinary clinic for three years. In my role there, I was responsible for diagnosing and treating animals with urgent health concerns. During those situations, I had to remain calm and focused so I could provide the best care possible. I find that I am able to stay composed even during stressful situations.”

9. Do you have experience working with animals that are endangered or rare?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience working with animals that are in need of behavioral care. Use examples from your previous work to highlight how you helped these animals and the impact you had on their lives.

Example: “I have worked with endangered species before, including a group of tigers at an animal sanctuary who were exhibiting aggressive behavior toward each other. I used my knowledge of tiger socialization and communication to create a plan for reintroducing the tigers back into the same space together. After implementing this plan, the tigers began to play and interact with one another again.”

10. When performing behavioral tests on animals, do you ever feel conflicted about subjecting them to stressful or uncomfortable situations?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to empathize with the animals you work with and how you manage stress. In your answer, try to show that you understand the importance of performing behavioral tests on animals in a humane way while also demonstrating that you can complete these tasks effectively.

Example: “I do feel conflicted about subjecting animals to stressful or uncomfortable situations when I perform behavioral testing. However, I know that it’s important for me to conduct these tests so that I can provide my clients with accurate information about their pets’ behavior. To ensure that I’m conducting these tests as humanely as possible, I always make sure to use positive reinforcement techniques during training sessions.”

11. We want to improve our animal training programs. How would you implement new training methods for our staff?

This question can help interviewers understand your ability to implement change and improve processes. Use examples from previous experience implementing new training methods or introducing new technology that helped you achieve results.

Example: “I would first assess the current training programs, including how staff members are trained on animal behavior. I would then develop a plan for creating more effective training sessions with measurable goals. For example, in my last role as an animal behaviorist, we implemented a new training program where we focused on positive reinforcement rather than negative punishment. We found this method was much more effective at improving employee performance and customer satisfaction.”

12. Describe your process for monitoring the health and well-being of the animals in your care.

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your ability to monitor the health of animals and ensure they’re receiving proper care. Use examples from your experience that show how you use monitoring tools, such as medical records or checklists, to ensure the well-being of the animals in your care.

Example: “I always make sure I have a good understanding of each animal’s history before beginning my work with them. This allows me to create individualized plans for each animal based on their needs. For example, when I first started working at the shelter, I met with all of the dogs who were available for adoption. I asked about their behavior, what kind of training they had and any other information that would help me understand their needs. From there, I created an individual plan for each dog that included specific exercises and training techniques.”

13. What makes you an ideal candidate for this animal behaviorist position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you would be a good fit for their company. Before your interview, make sure to read through the job description so that you can reference specific skills or requirements they are looking for in an animal behaviorist. In your answer, try to highlight two or three of these skills that you possess.

Example: “I am passionate about helping animals and I have extensive experience working with them. I also understand the importance of following behavioral protocols when working with animals. As someone who has worked as an animal behaviorist for several years, I know what it takes to succeed in this role. I am committed to providing excellent care for all of the animals I work with.”

14. Which animal behaviors do you find the most fascinating?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you as a person and your interests. It also helps them understand what types of animals you might enjoy working with most. Try to pick an animal behavior that is unique or interesting, but not one that would be dangerous for humans or other animals.

Example: “I find it fascinating when animals use tools. I remember reading about a chimpanzee who used a rock to crack open nuts. He then carried the rock over to another nut he wanted to eat and cracked it open again. This was something scientists had never seen before, so they were able to learn more about how chimpanzees think and solve problems.”

15. What do you think is the most important thing an animal behaviorist can do to help animals in their care?

This question can help interviewers understand your values and how you approach your work. Your answer should show that you care about the animals in your care, but it can also be a chance to highlight some of your skills or experiences that might not have been mentioned in other questions.

Example: “I think the most important thing an animal behaviorist can do is listen to their patients. Animals are often unable to speak for themselves, so I believe it’s our job to try to understand what they’re trying to communicate through their actions. For example, when I was working with a dog who had separation anxiety, I noticed that he would bark at his owner whenever she left the house. By observing this pattern, I realized that he was actually asking her to stay home rather than barking because he was anxious.”

16. How often should you conduct behavioral tests on animals in your care?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of best practices in the field. They want to know that you are familiar with industry standards and how they apply to the role. In your answer, explain what factors influence when you conduct behavioral tests on animals under your care.

Example: “I typically conduct behavioral tests on my patients every six months or so. I do this because it allows me to monitor their progress over time and ensure that any changes in behavior are not due to a medical condition. It also helps me determine whether there is a need for additional treatment options.”

17. There is a new fad diet that recommends removing certain foods from an animal’s diet to help them lose weight. A client brings their overweight pet to you and asks if they can follow this diet. What do you tell them?

This question is designed to test your ability to make sound decisions and recommendations for clients. You should be able to explain why the diet is not a good idea, as well as provide an alternative that will help their pet lose weight in a healthy way.

Example: “I would tell them that this diet is not safe for pets because it removes essential nutrients from their diet. I would recommend they instead focus on increasing exercise and reducing food portions to help their pet lose weight safely.”

18. Have you ever encountered an animal behavior problem that you were unable to solve?

This question can help interviewers understand how you respond to challenges and whether you are able to learn from your mistakes. Use examples from your experience that show how you responded to the problem, what you learned and how you would handle it differently in the future.

Example: “In my first position as an animal behaviorist, I worked with a dog who was afraid of loud noises. The owner had taken him to several training sessions where he learned basic commands but still seemed nervous around other dogs. When I met with the owner again, she told me her dog was barking at people on the street. She wanted to know if there was anything else we could do to make him more comfortable.

I realized that while the dog knew his commands, he wasn’t confident enough to use them when he felt anxious. We decided to start over with some basic obedience training so he could build up his confidence. After two weeks of working on this new goal, the dog was much calmer and even started playing with other dogs during our walks.”

19. What techniques do you use to ensure that the animals in your care are comfortable and stress-free during behavioral tests?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to create a stress-free environment for the animals in your care. They want to know that you can keep their subjects comfortable and safe during testing, which is an important part of the job. In your answer, describe how you ensure the safety of the animals under your supervision.

Example: “I always make sure that I have plenty of time to acclimate my test subjects to their new surroundings before beginning any behavioral tests. This helps them feel more at ease when they are being observed. I also use positive reinforcement techniques to reward good behavior and reduce stress levels.”

20. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision regarding the welfare of an animal.

This question can help interviewers understand how you make decisions and whether you have the ability to prioritize. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a situation where your decision had an impact on the welfare of an animal and the outcome was positive.

Example: “In my previous role as an animal behaviorist, I worked with a dog that had developed separation anxiety after his owner went away for work every day. The dog would bark excessively when left alone and sometimes even urinated in the house. After working with the dog for several weeks, we were able to teach him some commands that helped him feel more comfortable while alone. However, he still barked occasionally when left alone. We decided to leave him home alone one last time so he could get used to being alone again. He barked at first but then settled down and fell asleep.”

21. Do you have any experience working with exotic or wild animals?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience working with animals that are more challenging to work with. If you do, share your experiences and how they helped prepare you for this role.

Example: “I worked at a zoo where I was responsible for training all of the animals in our exhibit. This included teaching them new behaviors or tricks as well as reinforcing their existing ones. In my previous position, I also had to care for injured animals and rehabilitate them back into their habitats. These experiences taught me how to handle different types of animals and gave me valuable insight into what it takes to be an animal behaviorist.”

22. How would you handle a situation where an animal is exhibiting behaviors that put their safety at risk?

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to handle challenging situations and make decisions that benefit the animals you work with. In your answer, try to describe a situation where you helped an animal overcome a behavioral issue or risk of injury.

Example: “In my last role as an animal behaviorist, I worked with a dog who was exhibiting aggressive behaviors toward other dogs. The owner was very concerned about these behaviors because they were afraid their dog would hurt someone else’s pet. We worked together on training exercises to help the dog learn how to control its impulses and respond to commands. After several weeks of working together, the dog learned how to interact with other dogs in a safe way.”

23. Are there any particular animal species that you specialize in?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience working with the species they’re looking for. If you don’t specialize in a particular species, explain what types of animals you work with and why you enjoy them.

Example: “I’ve worked primarily with dogs throughout my career as an animal behaviorist. I find that dogs are very social creatures who thrive on human interaction. They also tend to be more forgiving when it comes to behavioral issues than other species. In fact, I love working with all kinds of canines because there’s always something new to learn about their behaviors.”

24. To what extent do you think genetics play in determining an animal’s behavior?

This question is a great way to assess your knowledge of the role genetics play in animal behavior. It also allows you to demonstrate how much you know about the different factors that influence an animal’s behavior and how they interact with one another.

Example: “Genetics are definitely important when it comes to determining an animal’s behavior, but I think environment plays a larger role. For example, if two dogs from the same litter have very different personalities, it’s likely due to their environment rather than genetics. The same goes for animals who were raised by humans versus those who were raised by other animals. In my experience, most behavioral issues stem from environmental factors rather than genetics.”

25. When conducting behavioral studies, how do you go about ensuring that the results are accurate and replicable?

This question is a great way to assess the interviewer’s understanding of your field and how you apply it. Your answer should include an explanation of the methods you use to ensure that your results are accurate, as well as any steps you take to make sure they can be replicated by other animal behaviorists.

Example: “I always conduct my studies in controlled environments where I can eliminate variables that might skew the results. For example, when studying the effects of different stimuli on animals’ stress levels, I would only study one variable at a time so that I could accurately determine which factors were causing changes in their stress levels. This allows me to replicate my findings with similar subjects.”


25 Chief Credit Officer Interview Questions and Answers

Back to Interview

25 Commercial Lender Interview Questions and Answers