17 Public Health Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

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

Public health administrators play a vital role in ensuring the wellbeing of communities by developing and implementing programs and policies to prevent disease and promote health and wellness. They also oversee the delivery of public health services, manage budgets and personnel, and collaborate with other health care professionals and government officials.

If you’re interested in a career in public health administration, you’ll need to know how to answer public health interview questions in order to get hired.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with sample answers to common public health administrator interview questions. We’ll also give you tips on how to structure your responses and what to include (and what to avoid) so you can make a strong impression on the hiring manager.

Are you comfortable working with a team of professionals to manage public health issues?

This question can help interviewers understand how you might fit into their organization. As a public health administrator, it’s likely that you’ll work with many different professionals to manage the department and its goals. Show your interviewer that you’re comfortable working in this type of environment by explaining what makes teamwork successful for you.

Example: “I’ve always enjoyed collaborating with others on projects. I find that when we all have our own ideas, we can come up with some great solutions together. In my last role as a public health specialist, I worked with a team of specialists to create an outreach program for teens who were at risk for substance abuse. We each had our own ideas about how to reach these teens, but we also discussed them so we could combine our best ideas.”

What are some of the most important qualities that a public health administrator should have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you possess the necessary skills and abilities to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your own personal qualities that make you an effective public health administrator.

Example: “I believe that one of the most important qualities for a public health administrator is compassion. I have seen how much good it can do when someone has empathy for others and wants to see them get better. Another quality that’s important is communication. Public health administrators need to be able to clearly communicate with their team members and other stakeholders about what they’re doing and why. Finally, I think critical thinking is another essential skill because it allows us to solve problems and come up with solutions.”

How would you deal with a budget deficit if you were in this position?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your ability to make tough decisions and prioritize funding for public health initiatives. Use examples from your experience to explain how you would evaluate the budget, identify areas where you could cut spending and find ways to save money without compromising public health programs.

Example: “In my last position as a public health administrator, I had to deal with a deficit in our department’s budget when we were underfunded by the state government. To address the issue, I met with other administrators to discuss what cuts we could make to reduce expenses while still maintaining essential services. We decided that we could eliminate some of our outreach programs and focus on more cost-effective methods of communication like social media. This saved us enough money to cover the deficit.”

What is the CDC and what is its role in public health?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a federal agency that works to protect the health of Americans. The CDC’s role in public health is vital, so interviewers may ask this question to see if you understand its importance. In your answer, try to show that you know what the CDC does and how it helps people stay healthy.

Example: “The CDC is one of our nation’s leading public health organizations. It was founded by President Richard Nixon in 1970 as an independent organization within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Its main goal is to prevent disease outbreaks from occurring and to keep Americans safe from infectious diseases. For example, when I worked at the county health department, we would often collaborate with the CDC on projects.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage a difficult member of the community.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle conflict and address challenging situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation in which you had to manage a difficult member of the community and how you handled it.

Example: “In my previous role as public health administrator for a small town, I worked with many different members of the community on various projects. One day, I received an email from a local business owner who was upset about our recent flu outbreak. He felt that we should have done more to prevent the outbreak and that we were putting his business at risk by not taking action sooner.

I responded to him by explaining that we did everything we could to contain the outbreak before it affected anyone else. We also provided information to businesses on how they could protect themselves against the flu. After responding to him, he seemed satisfied with my response.”

If you had the opportunity to implement one new public health program, what would it be and why?

This question is an opportunity to show your creativity and passion for public health. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about what you would like to see in the community where you are interviewing.

Example: “I would love to implement a program that educates children on healthy eating habits. I believe that teaching kids how to eat well at a young age will help them develop lifelong healthy eating habits. This could include educating parents on ways to prepare nutritious meals and snacks for their families. It could also include providing recipes and resources for finding local farmers markets or grocery stores with fresh produce.”

What would you do if you noticed a concerning trend in public health data?

This question can help interviewers assess your critical thinking skills and ability to make decisions. Use examples from your experience that show you’re able to analyze data, identify trends and implement solutions.

Example: “In my last role as a public health administrator, I noticed an increase in the number of children with asthma who were also diagnosed with lead poisoning. This was concerning because it’s well-known that lead exposure can cause respiratory issues like asthma. After analyzing the data further, we found that there was a correlation between areas where children had high levels of lead exposure and areas with poor air quality. We then worked with local government officials to create more stringent regulations for businesses that emit pollutants.”

How well do you understand public health legislation?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the legislative process and how it affects public health. Your answer should demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of legislation, including its purpose and how it impacts public health. You can also use this opportunity to highlight any specific experience with legislative processes.

Example: “I’ve worked in public health for over 10 years now, so I’m very familiar with the legislative process. In my last position, I was responsible for monitoring all proposed legislation and submitting comments on behalf of our department. I understand that there are many factors that influence legislation, such as budgeting and political agendas. However, I believe that legislators should always prioritize public health when making decisions.”

Do you have experience writing public health reports?

This question can help interviewers understand your writing skills and how you organize information. Use examples from your experience to explain what types of reports you’ve written in the past, and if you haven’t had this type of experience, discuss other ways you’ve organized large amounts of data or information.

Example: “In my last position as a public health administrator, I was responsible for organizing all of our monthly reports on disease outbreaks, immunization rates and more. I used an online database system that allowed me to enter data into specific categories so we could easily view it later. This helped us identify trends and make changes where necessary.”

When would you use an outbreak command center?

An outbreak command center is a group of public health professionals who work together to control and monitor an infectious disease. This question helps employers understand your knowledge about the role of an outbreak command center in their organization. Use examples from your experience to explain how you would use this type of team during an emergency situation.

Example: “In my last position, I was responsible for managing the county’s response to a widespread flu outbreak. We set up an outbreak command center so we could have all of our public health officials working together on the same task. The command center helped us communicate with each other more effectively and efficiently manage the resources needed to contain the outbreak.”

We want to improve our outreach to at-risk communities. What types of programs would you start if you had limited resources?

This question can help the interviewer understand your approach to problem-solving and how you would use limited resources to achieve positive outcomes. Use examples from your experience that show how you prioritize outreach programs, such as public health campaigns or community events.

Example: “In my last role, we had a small budget for our outreach program but still wanted to reach out to at-risk communities. We decided to partner with local organizations that already had strong relationships with these populations. For example, we partnered with a youth sports league to provide free flu shots during their games. This allowed us to reach families who may not have otherwise known about our services.”

Describe your experience with public health software and databases.

This question can help the interviewer determine your comfort level with using software and databases to complete tasks. Use examples from your experience that highlight your ability to learn new systems quickly, collaborate with others and manage projects effectively.

Example: “In my current role as public health administrator for a small town, I use several different types of software and databases to track important information about our community’s health. For example, we use an online database system called OpenEMR to keep records on all patients who visit our local clinics. This system allows me to enter patient data into various fields so I can easily access it later. We also use a public health software program called HealthMap to monitor disease outbreaks around the world.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their organization. Before your interview, make a list of the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant experience and soft skills.

Example: “I have five years of public health administration experience in my current position. I also hold a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in epidemiology. In addition, I am certified as a Certified Public Health Administrator through the National Association of Public Health Administration. These certifications demonstrate my commitment to professional development and expertise in public health.”

Which public health organizations do you follow and why?

This question can help an interviewer get a sense of your knowledge about the public health field. It also helps them understand what types of organizations you’re passionate about and how they might fit into their organization. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific organizations that are doing innovative work in the public health field.

Example: “I follow the CDC’s website for all kinds of information on current outbreaks and other public health issues. I also follow the World Health Organization because they have such great resources for international public health concerns. I find both of these websites very informative and useful when trying to learn more about different public health topics.”

What do you think is the most important role that public health administrators play?

This question can help interviewers understand your priorities and how you view the role of a public health administrator. When answering this question, it can be helpful to discuss what you think is most important about the job and why.

Example: “I believe that the most important role for a public health administrator is to ensure that their team members have the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. I know from experience that when employees feel supported in their work, they are more likely to provide excellent service to the community. In my last position, I worked with our budget to hire additional staff so we could offer evening hours at our clinic. This helped us serve more people who needed care.”

How often do you update your public health knowledge?

This question can help interviewers understand how much you value your own education and the importance of staying up to date with current public health trends. It’s important to show that you’re willing to learn new things, especially if you haven’t worked in public health for very long.

Example: “I try to read at least one article a week about something related to public health. I also subscribe to newsletters from organizations like the CDC and the World Health Organization so I can stay informed on what they’re doing. I find it helpful to attend conferences and webinars as well because I get to hear from experts in the field.”

There is a public health crisis in the community. How do you handle it?

This question is a great way to assess how you handle stressful situations. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you take to address the crisis and ensure that your community stays safe.

Example: “When there’s a public health crisis in my community, I first make sure everyone is aware of the situation. Then, I work with other administrators to develop an action plan for addressing the issue. Next, I implement the plan by making sure all employees are informed about their roles and responsibilities. Finally, I monitor the progress of the crisis to ensure we’re meeting our goals.”


17 Computer Science Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Back to Interview

17 Chief Academic Officer Interview Questions and Answers