17 Pediatric Dietitian Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a pediatric dietitian, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

When you think of pediatric dietitians, you may think of working in a hospital or clinic. While this is one setting in which pediatric dietitians work, there are many other opportunities. Some pediatric dietitians work in schools, others work for food manufacturers or distributors, and still others work in research.

No matter which setting you choose, you will need to be able to answer common pediatric dietitian interview questions. In this guide, we will provide you with some tips on how to answer these questions and some sample questions that you may be asked.

Are you certified as a pediatric dietitian?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine whether you have the necessary qualifications for the job. If you are not certified, explain what steps you took to become a dietitian and how your education prepared you for the role.

Example: “I am currently pursuing my certification as a pediatric dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I chose this organization because it is one of the most reputable in the industry and has strict standards for its members. In order to be eligible for certification, I had to complete an undergraduate degree in nutrition and food science, complete at least 900 hours of work experience and pass a series of exams.”

What are the most common nutritional deficiencies in children?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of common nutritional deficiencies in children. This is because pediatric dietitians often work with patients who have these deficiencies and need help managing them. In your answer, try to list the most common deficiencies you’ve encountered in your experience as a dietitian.

Example: “The two most common nutritional deficiencies I see in my practice are iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in children because they don’t get enough iron from their diets. Vitamin D deficiency is also very common because many kids don’t get enough sunlight or foods that contain vitamin D. Both of these deficiencies can lead to other health issues if not treated.”

How would you counsel a parent who is concerned about their child’s weight?

This question can help interviewers assess your counseling skills and ability to communicate with parents. In your answer, demonstrate how you would use your communication and problem-solving skills to address the parent’s concerns and develop a plan for helping their child achieve healthy weight goals.

Example: “I would first listen to the parent’s concerns about their child’s weight and then explain that there are many factors that contribute to a child’s weight. I would also emphasize that it is important to remember that children grow at different rates and that some children may be taller or heavier than others but still within normal ranges. I would also tell them that while weight gain in children should be monitored, it is not necessarily an indicator of health problems.

After listening to their concerns, I would ask the parent what they hope to see from me as their dietitian. Then, I would work with them to create a personalized plan that addresses their specific needs and helps their child reach his or her weight goals.”

What is the most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have a healthy lifestyle and how you maintain it. They want to know that you are committed to your own health, which can help them understand whether you will be able to encourage patients to do the same. In your answer, try to explain what steps you take to stay healthy and why they’re important to you.

Example: “I think one of the most important things I can do for my health is exercise regularly. Exercise helps me feel energized throughout the day and releases endorphins that make me happy. It also helps me sleep better at night, so I’m ready to work with patients in the morning. Another thing I do to maintain a healthy lifestyle is eat a balanced diet. I find that when I eat well, I have more energy and am less likely to overeat.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to provide nutritional counseling to a family with limited resources.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to work with families who have limited financial resources. In your answer, try to highlight how you used your problem-solving skills and creativity to help the family find affordable ways to meet their nutritional needs.

Example: “In my previous role as a pediatric dietitian, I worked with many low-income families. One of my clients was a single mother raising two children on her own. She had very little money for food each month, so I helped her create a meal plan that would provide her kids with nutritious meals while also being budget-friendly. I suggested she purchase some items in bulk at discount stores to save money, such as whole grains and beans. I also recommended she use coupons when shopping for groceries.”

If a child was refusing to eat what would you do?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle challenging situations. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to work with children who may be struggling with eating.

Example: “If a child was refusing to eat, I would first try to find out why they were not eating. If it’s because of taste, I would offer them new foods that are similar in flavor or texture to what they already like. For example, if they don’t like broccoli, I might give them cauliflower instead. If they’re not eating because of texture, I would try to make their food more appealing by cutting it into smaller pieces or adding sauces or dips.”

What would you do if a parent was concerned about their child’s rapid growth?

This question can help the interviewer assess your ability to work with parents who may be concerned about their child’s health. Use examples from your experience in which you helped a parent understand that their child’s growth was normal and healthy.

Example: “I once worked with a family whose son had grown two inches in one month. The father was very concerned, but I explained that this is actually quite common for boys his age. In fact, it’s important for children to grow at a rapid rate so they can reach their full height by adulthood. After our conversation, he felt much more comfortable and even asked me questions about how to encourage his son’s growth.”

How well do you work with other healthcare professionals?

Dietitians often work with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and physicians. The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you collaborate with others. In your answer, try to explain that you enjoy working with a team of professionals who all have unique skill sets.

Example: “I think it’s important for dietitians to work well with other medical professionals because we each bring different perspectives to the table. For example, I once worked with a physician who was very strict about what his patients could eat. He would only allow them to consume certain foods, which made my job difficult. However, I explained to him why some foods were better than others for their health. Eventually, he understood and allowed me to make food recommendations based on the patient’s needs.”

Do you have any experience working with children with special needs?

This question can help interviewers understand your experience working with children who have unique needs. If you do not have any experience, consider sharing a time when you worked with a client or patient who had special needs and how you helped them achieve their goals.

Example: “I’ve never worked directly with children with special needs, but I did work with a client who was diagnosed with celiac disease. She was unable to eat gluten without experiencing severe stomach pain. We created a meal plan that allowed her to enjoy many of the foods she loved while still avoiding gluten. After following my recommendations for several weeks, she reported feeling much better.”

When working with a child, how do you maintain their trust?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills. They want to know how you interact with children and their parents, as well as other healthcare professionals. In your answer, demonstrate that you value the child’s opinion and encourage them to share their thoughts.

Example: “I find it important to build a trusting relationship with each child I work with. When they feel comfortable talking to me about their feelings, it makes my job easier. For example, if a child is hesitant to try new foods, I might tell them a story about when I was their age and tried something new. This helps them relate to me and realize that I understand what they’re going through.”

We want to improve our outreach to local communities. What would you do to increase our visibility in the area?

An employer may ask this question to learn more about your marketing and outreach skills. Use examples from previous experience that show you can develop a strategy for increasing awareness of the organization’s brand, products or services.

Example: “I would start by creating a plan for how we could reach out to local media outlets. I’ve done this in my last two positions, where I worked with our team to create press releases and pitch stories to journalists. We were able to get some great coverage in both online and print publications, which helped us gain new clients and volunteers.”

Describe your process for evaluating a nutritional plan for a child.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your decision-making process and how you apply it to the work you do. When answering, consider describing a specific example of how you evaluated a child’s nutritional plan and what factors influenced your decisions.

Example: “When evaluating a child’s nutritional plan, I first look at their current diet and any dietary restrictions they have. From there, I determine whether or not the child is meeting their daily caloric intake requirements and if they’re getting enough nutrients from their food. If they aren’t, I’ll recommend changes to their diet that will help them meet these needs while also considering their preferences.”

What makes you stand out from other pediatric dietitians?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it can be helpful to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other dietitians. You may also want to mention any certifications you have earned.

Example: “I think what sets me apart from other pediatric dietitians is my passion for helping children with special dietary needs. I love working with families who are struggling to find the right foods for their child’s condition. In fact, I recently started a blog where I share recipes and tips for parents of picky eaters.”

Which pediatric nutrition organizations do you hold membership with?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of commitment to the field. It also shows them which organizations you value and how long you’ve been a member. If you’re not currently a member, consider joining one that’s relevant to the position before your interview.

Example: “I am a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. I have been a member of both organizations since graduating from my dietetic program.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of your job?

This question can help interviewers understand what you value about your work and how you approach it. When answering, consider the job description to see if there are any specific responsibilities that stand out as more important than others. If so, use those when explaining why they’re important.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of my job is educating parents on healthy eating habits for their children. I enjoy helping families learn new ways to prepare meals and snacks that are nutritious and tasty. It’s rewarding to know that I’ve helped a family find a way to make healthier food choices without sacrificing time or taste.”

How often do you update your knowledge and skills?

Dietitians need to stay up-to-date on the latest research and developments in their field. Employers ask this question to make sure you are committed to your professional development. In your answer, explain how you plan to keep your skills sharp. Share a few ways that you have done so in the past.

Example: “I am always looking for new resources to learn more about pediatric nutrition. I subscribe to several newsletters and online journals. I also attend conferences and webinars to hear from experts in the field. I find these events to be very helpful because they give me ideas of things to try with my patients. I also like to read books by dietitians who specialize in pediatrics.”

There is a new fad diet that claims it can help children lose weight. How would you respond to this?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you respond to new information and whether you can apply your critical thinking skills. In your answer, show the interviewer that you can use research to support your decision-making process.

Example: “I would first look at the scientific evidence behind the diet. If there is no proof that it works, I would explain to parents why it’s not a healthy way for their child to lose weight. If there is some evidence that it might work, I would still advise against it because of the risks involved with fad diets. Instead, I would recommend they focus on eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.”


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