17 Program Evaluator Interview Questions and Answers

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

Program evaluators are responsible for assessing the effectiveness of government and nonprofit programs. They use their expertise in program design, research methods, and data analysis to measure program outcomes and identify areas for improvement.

If you’re interested in a career in program evaluation, you’ll need to be prepared to answer a range of questions during your interview. In this guide, we’ll provide you with sample questions and answers that will help you stand out from the competition and land the job you want.

Are you familiar with the concept of program evaluation?

Program evaluators use a variety of methods to assess the success of programs. They may evaluate whether a program met its goals, how well it was implemented and if there were any unintended consequences. Interviewers ask this question to make sure you have experience with program evaluation and know what it entails. In your answer, explain that you understand the concept of program evaluation and can apply the process in your work.

Example: “I am familiar with the concept of program evaluation. I’ve worked as a program evaluator for several years now. I find it helpful to look at both the intended and unintended consequences of a program. For example, when evaluating a new education program, I would consider how students performed on standardized tests before the program started and after it ended. This helps me determine if the program had a positive impact.”

What are the different types of program evaluation?

Program evaluators use different methods to evaluate programs. Your answer should show the interviewer that you know how to choose the right evaluation method for a program and can apply your knowledge of various types of program evaluations.

Example: “There are two main types of program evaluation—formative and summative. Formative evaluation is used during the development phase of a program, while summative evaluation is used after the program has been in place for some time. I have experience with both types of program evaluation, but my favorite type is formative because it allows me to make changes to a program before it’s fully implemented.”

How would you conduct a program evaluation?

Program evaluators use a variety of methods to assess the success of programs. They may conduct surveys, interviews or focus groups and analyze data from these activities. Your answer should show that you know how to perform program evaluations effectively. You can describe your process for conducting program evaluations in detail.

Example: “I would first determine what information I need to collect about the program. For example, if I’m evaluating a community outreach program, I might want to find out how many people participated in the program, whether they found it useful and what their opinions are on the program. Next, I would decide which method is best for collecting this information. In this case, I might choose to survey participants, interview them or hold a focus group. After gathering the information, I would analyze it and write my report.”

What is your experience with program evaluation?

Program evaluators need to have experience with program evaluation. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the necessary skills and qualifications for the role. Before your interview, read through the job description to see what specific skills they’re looking for in a candidate. In your answer, share how your previous experience matches up with their expectations.

Example: “I’ve been working as a program evaluator for five years now. I started out my career as an intern at a local nonprofit organization where I worked on several different projects. After gaining some valuable experience, I moved into a full-time position at a private company where I evaluated programs for government contracts. My most recent position was as a program evaluator for a large corporation that provides services to schools.”

Provide an example of a program you evaluated and the results of your evaluation.

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your experience as a program evaluator. They want to know what you’ve done in the past and how it helped the organization or company. When answering this question, try to provide specific details about the program you evaluated and the results of your evaluation.

Example: “In my previous role as a program evaluator, I evaluated a new employee training program. The goal of the program was to teach employees all of the necessary information they needed to perform their jobs well. After evaluating the program, I found that there were some areas where the program could be improved. For example, I noticed that some employees weren’t sure how to use certain software programs. I recommended that the company add additional training on using software programs to the program.”

If you had to choose between formative and summative evaluations, which would you choose and why?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you prioritize your work and determine which evaluations are most important. Your answer should show that you understand the differences between summative and formative evaluations and can use them appropriately.

Example: “I would choose summative evaluations because they’re more important than formative ones. Summative evaluations provide a final evaluation of student progress, so I would want to make sure I completed these evaluations before the end of the school year. Formative evaluations help me assess students’ learning throughout the school year, so I would complete these regularly as part of my job.”

What would you do if you were given a program with unclear goals and objectives?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt. Your answer should show that you can use critical thinking to evaluate the program’s goals, objectives and strategies and develop new ones.

Example: “If I were given a program with unclear goals and objectives, I would first try to understand what the original goals and objectives were. Then, I would analyze the current situation and determine whether the goals and objectives are still relevant. If they aren’t, I would work with my team to create new goals and objectives based on the information we have. If the goals and objectives are still relevant, I would make sure that the program is achieving them.”

How well do you communicate your findings and recommendations?

Program evaluators often need to communicate their findings and recommendations to a variety of stakeholders, including program managers, senior executives and other members of the evaluation team. Interviewers want to know that you can effectively communicate your ideas in an organized and professional manner. Use examples from past experiences where you had to clearly explain complex information to others.

Example: “I have experience presenting my findings and recommendations to large groups of people. In my last role as a program evaluator, I presented my findings to a group of 20 senior executives at a quarterly meeting. I used visuals and clear language to describe my recommendations for improving the program’s efficiency and effectiveness. The executives were impressed with my presentation and asked me to lead the next round of evaluations.”

Do you have experience using evaluation frameworks?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have experience using the evaluation framework they use at their company. If you don’t, it’s okay to say that you haven’t used a specific framework before and explain what frameworks you have used in the past.

Example: “I’ve never worked for an organization that uses the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) framework. However, I have used the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) framework when evaluating programs in the past. The CBA framework is useful because it helps me understand how much money a program will save or make for a company.”

When conducting an evaluation, what are the most important factors you consider?

Interviewers ask this question to determine how you prioritize your work and what’s most important to you. They want to know that you’re organized, detail-oriented and able to meet deadlines. In your answer, explain the steps you take when conducting an evaluation and mention which factors are most important to you.

Example: “The first thing I do when starting a program evaluation is create a plan of action. This helps me stay on track throughout the entire process and ensures that I’m meeting all my deadlines. The next step is data collection, where I use surveys, interviews and other methods to collect information about the program. After that, I analyze the data and make sure it’s accurate before writing up my report.”

We want to improve our program based on the results of this evaluation. What are some areas you think we could improve?

This question is a great way to show your critical thinking skills and how you can use them to improve the program. When answering this question, it’s important to be specific about what you would change and why.

Example: “I think one area we could improve is our communication with parents. I noticed that many of the parents in my study were unaware of some of the changes we made to the curriculum last year. If I were to work for your organization, I would implement a monthly newsletter that informs parents of upcoming events and curriculum changes.”

Describe your process for collecting data.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your methods for collecting data and how you organize it. Your answer should include a step-by-step process of how you collect, analyze and interpret data.

Example: “I first identify the program I’m evaluating and then determine what information I need to gather. Next, I create a plan for gathering that information by surveying participants or reviewing documents. Afterward, I evaluate the gathered information and use my findings to make recommendations for improvement.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of qualities that make you unique from other candidates. Choose two or three skills that are important for the role and explain why they make you stand out.

Example: “I am passionate about my work and always strive to do my best. I have been told that I am very detail-oriented, which is helpful when evaluating programs. Another thing that makes me stand out is my communication skills. I am able to communicate with others in a way that helps them understand what I am saying. This skill has helped me collaborate with team members on projects.”

Which evaluation method do you prefer and why?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the different evaluation methods and how you apply them. You can also use this as a chance to explain why you prefer one method over another, which can help the interviewer understand more about your thought process when evaluating programs.

Example: “I have experience with all three types of program evaluations—formative, summative and outcome-based—and I find that each has its own benefits. Formative evaluations are great for identifying problems early on in a program’s life cycle, while summative evaluations are useful for measuring the success of a program after it’s been implemented. Outcome-based evaluations are beneficial because they allow me to measure the impact of a program by looking at data before and after implementation.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of program evaluation?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what program evaluation entails. Use your answer to highlight your knowledge of the field and how it can benefit an organization.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of program evaluation is identifying a program’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to make recommendations for improvement, which I find very rewarding as a professional in this field. In my last role, I evaluated a nonprofit’s summer camp program. After conducting interviews with staff members and analyzing data, I found that the program was lacking in some areas. I made several suggestions on how to improve these aspects of the program, including hiring more counselors and offering more activities.”

How often do you recommend performing program evaluations?

Program evaluators often have to make recommendations about when to perform program evaluations. This question helps the interviewer understand your thought process and decision-making skills. Use examples from past experience to show how you analyze data, consider deadlines and create a plan for future evaluations.

Example: “I recommend performing program evaluations at least once per year. In my last role as a program evaluator, I performed annual evaluations on all of our programs. However, I also recommended quarterly reviews if any issues arose or if we wanted to implement new strategies. For example, after completing an annual evaluation, we noticed that one of our programs was underperforming. We decided to do a quarterly review to see what changes we could make to improve it.”

There is a high turnover rate among program participants. How would you address this issue?

Program evaluators often work with participants who are at risk of dropping out. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with high-risk populations and can handle the challenges that come with it. In your answer, explain how you would identify the reasons why people drop out and develop strategies to help them stay in the program.

Example: “I’ve worked with many high-risk populations throughout my career as a program evaluator. I know that one of the best ways to keep participants engaged is by building relationships with them. I would start by getting to know each participant on an individual level. This helps me understand their unique needs and motivates them to continue participating in the program.”


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