17 Public Health Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

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

Public health consultants work with government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits to develop and implement programs that improve the health of a community or population. Because the scope of public health is so broad, consultants often specialize in a particular area, such as nutrition, mental health, or environmental health.

If you’re interested in becoming a public health consultant, you’ll need to have at least a master’s degree in public health or a related field. You’ll also need to be able to answer a variety of public health interview questions.

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers. We also provide tips on how to answer each question so you can make a strong impression on potential employers.

Are you familiar with the most recent public health legislation?

The interviewer may ask this question to gauge your knowledge of the latest public health legislation and how it affects your work. Use your answer to highlight any recent changes in legislation that you’re familiar with, such as new regulations or funding opportunities.

Example: “I am very familiar with the most recent public health legislation because I’ve worked on several projects that have been affected by these laws. For example, last year my team was working on a project for a local hospital when we learned about the Affordable Care Act. We had to adjust our plans to include more community outreach and education initiatives to meet the requirements of the ACA.”

What are the most important skills for a public health consultant to have?

This question helps the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities to succeed in this role. Use your answer to highlight your communication, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership skills. These are all important skills for public health consultants to have.

Example: “The most important skills for a public health consultant are critical thinking, communication and collaboration. As a public health consultant, I need to be able to think critically about the issues at hand and come up with solutions that will help improve the situation. Communication is also an important skill because it allows me to share my ideas and findings with others. Collaboration is another essential skill because it allows me to work with other professionals who may have different perspectives on the issue.”

How would you approach a community that is resistant to change?

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to work with a variety of people and convince them to accept new ideas. Use examples from past experiences where you helped others overcome their resistance to change and implement the strategies that worked for you.

Example: “In my last role, I was tasked with helping a community develop a plan to reduce childhood obesity rates. The community had many residents who were resistant to implementing any changes because they believed it would be too expensive or take away from other programs. However, I explained how these changes could actually save money in the long run by reducing health care costs and increasing productivity. After hearing this information, most parents agreed to support the program.”

What is your experience with data management and analysis?

Public health consultants often use data to inform their recommendations. Employers ask this question to learn about your experience with data management and analysis software. Use your answer to explain which programs you are familiar with and how you used them in previous roles.

Example: “I have extensive experience using Excel, Access and Tableau for my public health work. I find these programs useful for organizing large amounts of data and creating visual representations that help me understand the information. In my last role, I worked on a project where we needed to analyze county-level data to determine if there were any correlations between certain factors and infant mortality rates. Using these three programs, I was able to organize the data and create charts and graphs that helped us identify some important trends.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage a team of people.

Working in public health often requires you to work with a team of people. Employers ask this question to learn more about your leadership skills and how you can manage a group of people. When you answer, try to describe the situation and what you did to help your team succeed.

Example: “In my current position as a public health consultant, I have worked with many different teams. One time, I was working on a project that required me to collaborate with several other consultants. We had to create a plan for improving our city’s vaccination rates. To do so, we split up into smaller groups and each focused on one aspect of the plan. Then, we met again as a larger group to discuss our ideas.”

If you had to choose one disease to focus on as a consultant, which would it be and why?

This question is a great way to see how passionate you are about public health and the impact it has on people’s lives. When answering this question, try to choose a disease that you have experience with or one that you would like to learn more about.

Example: “If I had to choose just one disease to focus on as a consultant, I would probably choose diabetes because of my personal connection to the disease. My grandfather was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I was in high school, and he passed away from complications related to the disease when I was in college. This experience made me want to pursue a career in public health so that I could help others who were going through similar situations.”

What would you do if you noticed a concerning trend in your data that you hadn’t seen before?

This question can give the interviewer insight into how you approach your work and how you might handle a challenging situation. Your answer should show that you are willing to take initiative, communicate with others and solve problems.

Example: “If I noticed a concerning trend in my data, I would first try to understand why it was occurring. If I couldn’t find an explanation for the trend, I would bring it up at our next team meeting so we could discuss what steps to take next. For example, if I saw a spike in infant mortality rates, I would want to know whether there were any other factors contributing to this increase. If not, I would report it to the appropriate authorities so they could investigate further.”

How well do you work under pressure?

Public health consultants often work under tight deadlines and pressure to ensure their clients receive the best possible care. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle these situations well. In your answer, explain how you stay calm and focused when working under a deadline. Explain that you are willing to do whatever it takes to meet the client’s needs in a timely manner.

Example: “I am very organized and efficient with my time. I always plan ahead for projects so I know exactly what I need to get done each day. This helps me manage my time well even when I have multiple tasks due at once. When I was working as an epidemiologist, I had many different projects going on at once. I would sometimes have up to five assignments due within one week. I learned how to prioritize my work and complete all of my assignments by the deadline.”

Do you have any experience working with government agencies?

This question can help interviewers learn about your experience working with different types of organizations. When answering, it can be helpful to mention any specific agencies you’ve worked with in the past and what made them unique.

Example: “I have had the opportunity to work with several government agencies throughout my career as a public health consultant. One of my favorite experiences was when I helped create a new policy for an entire state’s department of education. The department wanted to implement more nutrition-based policies into their school cafeterias, so we created a plan that would allow students to make healthier food choices while still providing variety. It was rewarding to see this plan implemented across all schools in the state.”

When consulting with a community, how do you determine the best way to approach them?

This question can help interviewers understand how you plan and execute your work. Your answer should show that you have a process for developing strategies to meet the needs of communities.

Example: “I first assess the community’s current health status, including any existing programs in place. I then determine what resources are available to me and who is involved with the project. From there, I develop a strategy based on my findings. For example, if I find that the community has limited access to healthcare services, I may decide to focus on increasing those resources. If they already have many healthcare options, I may instead choose to focus on education or prevention.”

We want to improve our outreach strategy. Tell me about one strategy that you would implement.

This question is a great way to show your public health knowledge and how you can apply it. When answering this question, try to think of the most effective outreach strategy that you have used in the past.

Example: “I would implement an educational outreach program for children. This is because children are our future, so we need to teach them about healthy habits early on. I would create a curriculum that teaches kids about things like proper nutrition, exercise and hygiene. Then, I would partner with local schools to provide these lessons during class time. This will help ensure that all students receive the information they need.”

Describe your experience with public speaking.

Public health professionals often need to give presentations and speeches about their work. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with public speaking. Use your answer to explain that you are comfortable giving presentations in front of a group. Explain that you can organize your thoughts into an interesting speech or presentation.

Example: “I’ve given several presentations at my current job, and I also volunteered to speak at the local public health conference last year. I enjoy public speaking because it gives me the opportunity to share what I know with others. I find that public speaking helps me learn more about my own research. I am always nervous before giving a speech, but once I get started, I feel much more confident.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and why you are the best person for the job. Before your interview, make a list of all your skills and experiences that relate to the position. Think about what makes you unique compared to other candidates.

Example: “I am passionate about public health and committed to helping others. I have been working in public health for five years now, and my experience has taught me how to work with different types of people. My communication skills are excellent, which is important when consulting with clients. I also have a background in marketing, which helps me create effective campaigns.”

Which industries do you have experience working in?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your background and experience. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list the industries you have worked in and what projects you completed while working there.

Example: “I’ve worked primarily in public health but also have some experience in environmental protection and food safety. In my current role as a public health consultant, I work with local governments to create policies that help improve the overall health of their communities. For example, I helped develop a policy that required all restaurants to post nutritional information on their menus.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of public health?

This question is a great way to show your passion for public health and the impact you want to make in this field. When answering, it can be helpful to mention an experience that has influenced your career path or why you chose public health as a career.

Example: “The most important aspect of public health is education. I think it’s crucial to teach people about how they can stay healthy and prevent disease. In my last role, we started a new program where we would go into schools and talk to students about nutrition and exercise. We also gave them handouts with tips on how to eat well and get enough sleep. After implementing this program, we saw a decrease in hospital visits from children who were sick.”

How often do you update your skills and knowledge?

Employers ask this question to see if you are committed to your career and want to learn more about public health. They also want to know how often they will have to train you on new processes or procedures. When answering, make sure to mention that you are always looking for ways to improve yourself as a professional.

Example: “I am constantly researching new methods of disease prevention and treatment. I attend seminars and conferences regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest research in my field. I also read articles from reputable sources daily to ensure I am learning everything I can about public health.”

There is a new disease that has started spreading in the community. Tell me how you would go about researching it.

This question is a great way to test your research skills and how you would apply them in the workplace. When answering this question, it can be helpful to give specific steps on how you would go about researching the disease and what resources you would use.

Example: “I would first start by looking at the symptoms of the disease and any other information that I could find online. From there, I would contact local hospitals and public health officials to see if they have noticed any new diseases or illnesses spreading. If they haven’t, I would ask them to keep an eye out for anything unusual.”


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