Interview

17 Wildlife Biologist Interview Questions and Answers

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

Wildlife biologists are responsible for the study and management of wild animals and their habitats. They may work for the government, universities, or private companies.

If you want to work as a wildlife biologist, you will need to be able to answer questions about your experience with field work, research, and data analysis. You may also be asked about your understanding of the principles of ecology and conservation.

In this guide, you will find questions and answers that will help you prepare for a wildlife biologist interview.

Are you comfortable working in remote locations?

Wildlife biologists often work in remote locations, so the interviewer wants to make sure you’re comfortable with this. If you have experience working in a remote location, share that information. If you haven’t worked in a remote location before, explain how you would handle it if you were hired for this position.

Example: “I am very comfortable working in remote locations because I’ve done it many times throughout my career. In fact, I find it quite enjoyable to be out in nature and away from civilization. However, I do understand that there are some challenges to working in these types of environments. For example, cell service can be spotty at best, which makes communication difficult. Also, wildlife is unpredictable, so safety is always an issue.”

What are some of the most important skills for a wildlife biologist?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills necessary for the job. They want someone who is passionate about wildlife and has a background in biology, ecology or conservation. When answering this question, think of some of the most important skills that you possess. You can also mention any other skills that you are working on developing.

Example: “I believe one of the most important skills for a wildlife biologist is passion for animals. I love all types of wildlife, so it’s easy for me to get excited about my work. Another skill is communication. Wildlife biologists need to be able to clearly explain their findings to others. Finally, I think computer skills are essential. I am constantly using computers to record data and analyze information.”

How do you track and identify animals?

This question can help the interviewer understand your research methods and how you apply them to wildlife. Use examples from your experience that show you know how to use tracking tools, such as cameras or GPS devices, and identify animals by their tracks, scat or other physical characteristics.

Example: “I have used a variety of tools in my previous position at the state park where I tracked and identified different species of birds through their feathers, calls and behaviors. For instance, I once saw a bird with red feathers and a yellow beak, which led me to identifying it as a cardinal. Another time, I heard a bird call that sounded like a cat’s meow, so I knew it was likely a blue jay.”

What is your process for studying a new species?

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach your work and the steps you take to complete it. Use examples from past projects or experiences to describe what you do when studying a new species, including any research methods you use to gather information about wildlife.

Example: “I first start by researching the animal’s habitat and behavior patterns. I then look at other similar animals that may be related to the one I’m studying. After this, I conduct fieldwork in the area where the animal was spotted to observe its behaviors and collect samples for further testing. This process helps me learn more about the species and determine if there are any conservation efforts needed.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to use your negotiation skills to resolve a conflict.

This question can help employers learn more about your problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Use examples from your previous work experience to highlight how you used your negotiation skills to resolve a conflict or disagreement with another person.

Example: “In my last role, I had to negotiate with the wildlife department of a nearby town regarding their plans for a new development project. The construction would be taking place in an area that was home to many endangered species of animals. We discussed several options for the construction company to ensure they were following all state regulations while also protecting the wildlife. In the end, we came up with a solution that worked for both parties.”

If you saw someone harming an animal, what would you do?

This question can help interviewers learn more about your values and how you might fit into their organization. In your answer, try to show that you would intervene if you saw someone harming an animal. You can also explain what steps you would take to report the incident or get help for the animal.

Example: “I believe animals deserve respect and protection from humans. If I saw someone hurting an animal, I would first ask them to stop. If they refused, I would call the police immediately. I would also do everything in my power to protect the animal until authorities arrived. For example, if I saw someone trying to harm a squirrel by throwing it off of a building, I would rush over and grab it out of the air before it hit the ground.”

What would you do if you were studying a group of animals and some of them started acting differently?

This question can help interviewers understand how you react to unexpected situations and whether you have the ability to adapt. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to determine why the animals were acting differently and how you would solve the problem if possible.

Example: “If I was studying a group of animals and some of them started acting differently, I would first try to figure out what caused the change in behavior. If it was something that could be fixed, like food or shelter, then I would do my best to make sure they had access to those things. If it was something more serious, such as an illness, then I would work with other wildlife biologists to find a solution.”

How well do you know the laws and regulations related to wildlife?

Laws and regulations are important for wildlife biologists because they help protect the animals they study. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to follow these laws and stay safe while working with wildlife. Before your interview, read through any state or federal wildlife protection laws that apply to the area where you’re interviewing. Make a note of any specific details about these laws, such as what types of activities require permits and which ones do not.

Example: “I am very familiar with all of the relevant wildlife protection laws in my home state. I have been studying them since I was in school, so it’s second nature to me now. In fact, I often refer to these laws when I’m unsure of something related to wildlife. For example, last week I found an injured squirrel on campus. I knew that if I took it home, I would be breaking the law. So instead, I called animal control.”

Do you have experience using data analysis tools?

This question can help interviewers learn about your technical skills and how you apply them to your work. If you have experience using data analysis tools, describe the software or program you used and what you did with it. If you don’t have experience using these tools, explain which ones you would like to learn more about.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different types of data analysis tools in my previous role as a wildlife biologist. I use Microsoft Excel for organizing and analyzing large amounts of data. I also use Tableau for creating visual representations of data that are easy to understand. These two programs have helped me analyze data from wildlife populations and habitat conditions.”

When is it appropriate to intervene when an animal is in distress?

Wildlife biologists often have to make decisions about when it’s appropriate to intervene in the lives of animals they’re studying. This question helps employers understand your decision-making process and how you prioritize animal welfare. In your answer, explain what factors you consider when making these decisions.

Example: “I always try to avoid intervening unless absolutely necessary because I want to respect the natural order of things as much as possible. However, if an animal is clearly suffering or in danger, I will do whatever I can to help them. For example, once while I was observing a group of deer, one of them got its leg stuck in a fence. It would have been cruel not to free it from the fence so that it could get back to its family.”

We want to improve our outreach and education initiatives. Tell me about a strategy you would use to achieve this goal.

This question is an opportunity to show your communication skills and how you can help others learn about wildlife. Your answer should include a specific example of how you used outreach or education initiatives to improve the public’s knowledge of wildlife.

Example: “I would use social media as a tool for outreach and education because it’s a great way to reach large audiences. In my last position, I worked with a team that created a blog where we shared our research on endangered species. We also posted videos and photos of animals in their natural habitats to inspire people to visit national parks. This strategy helped us increase awareness of wildlife conservation efforts.”

Describe your research process when you start a new project.

This question can help interviewers understand how you approach your work and the steps you take to complete it. Use examples from past projects to describe what steps you took to research a topic, collect data and analyze information.

Example: “When I start a new project, I first conduct background research on the wildlife population I’m studying. This helps me learn more about their habitat, diet, behavior and other important factors that may influence my study. Next, I create a plan for collecting data by setting up equipment or conducting experiments. After this, I analyze the data I collected and use it to make conclusions about the wildlife population’s habits.”

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 organization. When answering, it can be helpful to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other wildlife biologists. You may also want to mention any certifications you have.

Example: “I am passionate about wildlife conservation and I believe in the importance of educating others on the topic. In my last role, I started an after-school program where we taught children about local wildlife. The program was so successful that the school offered me a part-time teaching position. This is something no one else has done before, so I think it shows my creativity and passion for wildlife.”

Which software programs do you use most often?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your technical skills and how you apply them to your work. If you have experience using specific software programs, share that information with the interviewer. You can also mention any other softwares or computer applications you’re familiar with if you don’t use one in particular.

Example: “I’ve used ArcGIS for my wildlife research projects because it’s an effective program for mapping data and analyzing spatial relationships between species and their habitats. I’m also experienced with Microsoft Access, which I use to create databases for storing large amounts of data. I find these two programs very helpful when working on wildlife conservation projects.”

What do you think is the most important thing that wildlife biologists can do to protect the animals they study?

This question can help interviewers understand your commitment to wildlife conservation. Showcase your passion for protecting animals by explaining what you think is the most important thing that wildlife biologists do to protect their study subjects.

Example: “I believe the most important thing wildlife biologists can do to protect the animals they study is to make sure that their research methods are as noninvasive as possible. I have seen firsthand how upsetting it can be when researchers capture and handle animals, so I always try to find ways to collect data without interfering with the animals’ natural behaviors. For example, I use motion-activated cameras to track animal movements instead of capturing them in nets.”

How often do you update your certifications and licenses?

Wildlife biologists often need to renew their certifications and licenses. Employers ask this question to make sure you stay up-to-date on your credentials. In your answer, explain that you will update them as soon as they expire. Explain that you are dedicated to maintaining a high level of professionalism in the field.

Example: “I am committed to keeping my certification current. I have been working toward becoming a wildlife biologist for five years now, so I should be able to renew my license by next year. I also plan to take additional courses to learn more about wildlife conservation. I think it is important to continue learning throughout my career.”

There is a new species you’ve never seen before. Describe your process for identifying and studying it.

This question is a great way to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work independently. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe the steps you would take to identify the species and how you would go about studying it.

Example: “If I were to encounter a new species, my first step would be to try to identify it by comparing its physical characteristics with other known species. If that didn’t help me narrow down the species, I would then look at its behavior and habitat to see if there are any similarities between it and other species. If those two things don’t help me figure out what kind of animal it is, I would collect samples of its DNA for further testing. Once I have all of that information, I would compare it to existing data to determine which species it most closely resembles.”

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