18 Westat Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Westat.

Westat is a leading social science research company, with over 50 years of experience conducting studies on behalf of government agencies, foundations, and businesses. Westat’s work covers a wide range of topics, from education and health to transportation and the environment.

If you’re interviewing for a job at Westat, you can expect to be asked a mix of questions about your qualifications, experience, and knowledge of the social science research process. To help you prepare, we’ve gathered a list of sample Westat interview questions and answers.

Westat Interview Process

The interview process at Westat can vary depending on the position you are applying for. For entry-level positions, like Field Data Collector or Research Assistant, the process is usually pretty straightforward. You will likely have a phone interview followed by an in-person interview. For more senior positions, like Senior Study Director or Research Analyst, the process may be more involved. You may have multiple rounds of interviews, both over the phone and in person. Overall, the interview process is generally pretty standard. However, it is important to be prepared for all types of questions, as some interviewer may ask more difficult questions than others.

Common Westat Interview Questions

1. Tell me about a time where you had to deal with an upset customer.

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you handle conflict. This is an important skill for customer service roles, and it can also be helpful if you’re applying for a research role that involves working with clients or the public. In your answer, try to show that you have good communication skills and are able to resolve conflicts effectively.

Example: “When I worked as a receptionist at a law firm, one of my responsibilities was answering phones. One day, a client called who was very upset about their case. They were yelling and demanding to speak to someone else in the office. Instead of transferring them to another person, I stayed on the phone with them until they calmed down. Then, we talked through their concerns calmly and resolved the issue.”

2. What is your experience in the research field?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have the skills and experience necessary for this role. You can answer by describing a few of your most relevant experiences, including what you learned from each one.

Example: “I’ve been working in research for five years now, and I’ve had the chance to work on several projects. My first project was with a marketing company where we were tasked with finding out how customers felt about their products. We conducted surveys and found that many customers weren’t satisfied with the product’s quality. The client used our findings to improve their product.”

3. Describe a situation where you had to make quick decisions without consulting your supervisor. How did it turn out?

This question is a great way to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to make decisions on your own. It also shows the interviewer that you are comfortable making decisions without guidance from others.

Example: “In my last role, I was working with a client who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was having trouble adjusting to his medication, so he stopped taking it altogether. This led to him being hospitalized for several days. When he returned home, he refused to take any more medications. I spoke with him about how important it was for him to continue treatment, but he still refused. I told him we would no longer be able to provide services if he didn’t start taking his medication again. After some back and forth, he agreed to resume treatment.”

4. Why do you want to work at Westat?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for Westat. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific aspects of the job that interest you or how your skills and experience make you a great candidate for the position.

Example: “I want to work at Westat because I am passionate about research and data analysis. In my previous role as an analyst, I was responsible for collecting and analyzing data from surveys and focus groups. This is something I enjoy doing and find very rewarding when I see the results of my work. I also think I would be a great fit for this position because of my attention to detail and ability to remain organized.”

5. Do you have any experience working from home or remotely?

Working from home or remotely is a common practice at Westat. The company wants to ensure that you can work independently and meet deadlines without the presence of an office manager. Your answer should show your ability to manage your time effectively, communicate with others and complete tasks on time.

Example: “I have worked from home for two years now. I find it beneficial because I am able to set my own schedule and work in peace. However, I also understand the importance of collaboration and teamwork. For this reason, I make sure to attend weekly meetings with my team members. This allows me to stay up-to-date on projects and provides opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback.”

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question is a common one in interviews. Employers ask it to see if you have career goals and how those goals align with their company’s vision. When answering this question, be honest about your future plans but also show that you are open to change.

Example: “I hope to still be working for Westat in 5 years. I love the work I do here and am excited to continue learning more about research methods. In five years, I would like to have completed my PhD and started teaching at a university. I think combining my experience as a researcher with my knowledge of statistics would make me an excellent professor.”

7. Are you comfortable speaking in front of large groups?

This question is a way for the interviewer to assess your public speaking skills. This skill can be important in many positions, including research analyst and project manager roles. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight how you feel about public speaking and what steps you take to prepare yourself for these types of situations.

Example: “I have always been comfortable speaking in front of large groups. I think that my comfort with public speaking comes from my experience as an orator in high school. In my senior year, I was selected to give a speech at our graduation ceremony. I spent a lot of time preparing for that speech, so when I got up on stage, I felt confident and ready to deliver my message.”

8. Have you ever worked on a project that failed, what did you learn from it?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you respond to failure. They want to know that you can learn from your mistakes and apply what you’ve learned to future projects. In your answer, explain the project, why it failed and what you did to improve in the future.

Example: “I once worked on a project where we were trying to predict voter turnout for an upcoming election. We spent weeks collecting data and analyzing it before presenting our findings to the client. Unfortunately, when we presented our results, they didn’t align with the client’s expectations. I learned that sometimes there are things beyond our control. After discussing the issue further with the client, we decided to start over and collect more data. This time, we predicted higher voter turnout than expected.”

9. Give us an example of when you used analytical skills to solve a problem.

This question is a great way to show your potential employer that you have the skills necessary for this role. When answering, it can be helpful to provide specific details about how you used your analytical skills and what the outcome was.

Example: “When I worked as an analyst at my previous company, we were tasked with finding out why some people weren’t filling out surveys. We had to find out who wasn’t completing their surveys, where they lived and other factors that could help us understand why they weren’t participating. After analyzing all of the data, we found that many people weren’t taking the survey because they didn’t like the questions or felt they were too personal. We then changed our survey to make it more appealing.”

10. Tell me about a time when you were assigned a task that you weren’t familiar with how to complete.

This question can allow you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills and ability to learn new tasks. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a time when you were able to complete the task or how you learned more about the task so that you could perform it in the future.

Example: “When I first started working at my current job, I was assigned to work on a project where we had to collect data from social media platforms. At first, I wasn’t sure how to go about collecting the information, but after talking with my supervisor, they helped me understand what tools I needed to use to find the information I needed.”

11. In order to be successful in this position, you must be able to travel frequently and stay overnight for extended periods of time. Is this something you are willing to do?

This question is designed to determine if you are willing to travel and stay overnight for extended periods of time. This can be a challenging aspect of the job, so it’s important that you understand what you’re getting into before accepting the position.

Example: “I am more than willing to travel frequently and stay overnight for extended periods of time. I have done this in previous positions, and I enjoy meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. I also find that traveling helps me learn about myself and how I react to various situations.”

12. Tell me about a time when you took initiative and completed a task before being asked to.

This question is a great way to show your leadership skills and ability to work independently. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a time when you completed a task that benefited the company or helped another employee complete their tasks more efficiently.

Example: “When I first started working at my previous job, I noticed that our database was becoming outdated. This meant we were missing out on important information about our clients. So, I took initiative and created a new database for us. The database I created allowed us to keep track of all of our client data and provided valuable insights into how we could improve our services.”

13. We need team members who can think outside the box, tell me about a time where you came up with a creative solution to a problem.

This question is a great way to determine how innovative you are and whether or not you can apply your creativity in the workplace. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight your ability to think creatively while also providing an example of when that creativity led to positive results.

Example: “At my previous job, I was tasked with creating a survey for a large group of people. The problem was that we didn’t have enough money to send out paper surveys, so I had to come up with another solution. I decided to create a digital survey using online forms, which allowed me to collect data from hundreds of people without having to spend any extra money on printing costs.”

14. The ability to listen closely to others is important in our line of work. Can you give an example of a time where you demonstrated good listening skills?

This question is an opportunity to show your interviewer that you have the ability to listen and understand what others are saying. It also allows you to highlight a skill that may be important for this position.

Example: “I was working with a client who had been in a car accident. They were very upset about their injuries, but they didn’t want to talk about them because they felt like it would make things worse. I listened carefully to everything they said and asked questions when I needed clarification. This helped me learn more about their situation and find ways to help them feel better.”

15. As a researcher, we often need to collect sensitive data from respondents. How would you approach someone if they became uncomfortable answering questions?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to handle challenging situations. In your answer, try to demonstrate that you can be empathetic while also maintaining the integrity of the research study.

Example: “I understand how important it is to maintain confidentiality when conducting a survey or interview. If someone became uncomfortable answering questions, I would first make sure they understood that their answers were confidential. Then, if needed, I would explain why we need certain information from them. For example, I might say, ‘We are asking about your income because we want to ensure our findings help people in similar situations.’ This approach helps respondents feel like they’re contributing to something meaningful.”

16. We value employees who take initiative and look for ways to improve processes. Give us an example of a time you suggested improvements to a process.

This question is an opportunity to show your leadership skills and willingness to take on challenges. When answering this question, think of a time you suggested improvements to a process or procedure at work.

Example: “At my previous job, I noticed that we were spending too much money on supplies for our research projects. After looking into the issue, I found out that many researchers weren’t using all of their allotted supplies. I presented my findings to management and they agreed to change the policy so that researchers only had to pay for what they used. This saved the company thousands of dollars each year.”

17. Give me an example of a time you had to work under tight deadlines. How did you handle it?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle stress and pressure. They want to know that you can work well under time constraints, so they may also be looking for a specific answer like “I was working on a project where I had to meet a tight deadline, but it wasn’t too stressful because I knew my team could get the job done.”

Example: “In my last role as an analyst, I worked with a team of researchers who were tasked with creating a report in two weeks. We all met every day at 8 a.m. to discuss our progress and make sure we were on track to finish by the deadline. The entire team pulled together to complete the task, and we finished one week early.”

18. Research requires lots of attention to detail, tell me

This question is a great way to test your attention to detail and how you handle it. It also allows the interviewer to see if you have any experience with research, which can be helpful for this role.

Example: “I am very good at paying attention to details, especially when I’m working on projects that require me to do so. In my last position, I was tasked with creating a database of information about different types of businesses in our area. I had to make sure all of the information was correct, including addresses, phone numbers and more. I made sure to double-check everything before submitting it.”


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