35 Veterinary Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021 | Published September 25, 2020

Updated February 22, 2021

Published September 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The role of a veterinarian can be challenging but rewarding as well. If you're getting ready to interview for a position as a veterinarian, there are several types of interview questions you can expect. For instance, questions about your background and how you handle certain situations can allow the interviewer to assess your skills and your fit for the role. In this article, we'll explore some common veterinary interview questions and sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

General questions

When you meet with the interviewer, they'll likely begin the interview with some general questions that help get the conversation started. These types of questions will give the interviewer some additional insight into your personality and how you might fit into the work culture.

  • Tell me a little about yourself.

  • How did you hear about our animal clinic?

  • What do you know about our animal clinic?

  • What interests you about working here?

  • How will your skills help you succeed in this position?

  • What are some of your strengths?

  • What is one weakness that you have taken steps to improve?

  • How do you stay motivated in your work?

  • How do you handle stressful situations?

  • Do you have any questions about the job?

Related: 37 Common Vet Tech Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Questions about experience and background

You should also prepare for questions that focus on your background and work experience. These are usually general background questions that can further help the interviewer get an idea of how your skills and experience will benefit their organization.

  • How long have you been practicing veterinary medicine?

  • What skills do you feel good veterinarians should have?

  • How will your experience be an asset to our clinic?

  • Why did you choose veterinarian medicine for your career?

  • What is your favorite aspect of practicing veterinary medicine?

  • What aspects of veterinary medicine do find most challenging?

  • What is your perspective on euthanasia?

  • How do you stay up to date on advances in veterinary medicine?

  • What breeds and types of animals are you experienced with caring for?

  • Have you participated in any kind of volunteer work?

Related: How To Become a Veterinarian

In-depth questions

As you converse with the interviewer, you might expect several situational interview questions. These types of questions can help the interviewer understand what kind of specific experience you have performing in different situations.

  • What role do you feel a veterinarian plays in the community?

  • What actions would you take if there were signs that an animal that you're treating is being abused?

  • What has been your most challenging experience as a veterinarian? How did you handle it?

  • If you made a mistake and caused the death of an animal in your care, how would you handle it?

  • What is the biggest difference between animal welfare and animal rights?

  • How do you ensure that staff under your supervision follows all lawful and clinical protocols of veterinary practices?

  • Describe how you will approach organizing and maintaining client files.

  • What would you do if a client came in with an injured or sick animal and couldn't afford the cost?

  • How do you feel about mandatory laws for spaying and neutering pets?

  • If a client brings in a healthy pet and requests euthanization because they can no longer afford to keep it, what do you do?

Related: Learn About Being a Veterinarian

Veterinary interview questions and sample answers

The following veterinary interview questions can help you anticipate what to expect during your interview. Use these questions and sample answers to help you prepare in advance:

1. Can you describe a time where you had to solve a problem with a client to effectively negotiate a successful treatment plan for their pet?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this one to gauge how you would work with clients who may not be financially equipped to handle full treatments for their pets. If you've had a similar experience in a past role, give examples of how you helped solve the issue. Here's an example:

Example: "In my last position, I had a family who brought their dog in for a routine checkup. During the checkup, I found the start of a benign tumor, however, it was something that I felt needed to be monitored with regular office visits.

The client wanted no further action due to the benign nature of the issue, but I felt it was imperative that I monitor the patient's health on a regular basis. After discussing my reasons for concern, the client and I came to a compromise that both stayed within their monthly budget and ensured their pet's health and wellness."

2. What actions do you take when coping with clients who are in distress?

The interviewer is most likely looking for your interpersonal skills and ability to empathize with your clients. Give some examples from past experiences or examples of how you would apply your interpersonal skills to communicate with upset or distressed clients. Here is a sample answer:

Example: "It's difficult when clients receive distressing news, and sometimes this can cause people to become upset. In this case, I would remain calm and let the client know that I am available to answer any questions and clarify any information. I would then reiterate my availability to help and provide resources for grieving or resources for additional treatment options if the case calls for it."

3. How do you discuss information with clients when it involves a worst-case scenario, such as a terminally ill pet?

This question also gives the interviewer insight into how you interact with and communicate with clients. Delivering negative information to clients about their pets can be challenging, and your answer should highlight your ability to empathize and communicate effectively with others. Here's an example:

Example: "My first step is always delivering the bad news. Then I discuss how I came to my diagnosis and all of the ways that we might treat the issue long-term. This gives the client options to continue treatment for the illness until their pet is no longer comfortable, or to move ahead with additional options if they cannot afford treatment. It's tough in these situations because my top priority at this point becomes ensuring the clients have the support and resources they need."

Related: Veterinarian Skills: Definition and Examples

4. How do you support clients who are grieving over the loss of a pet?

This question lets the interviewer know that you also provide support and resources for grieving and coping with loss. Use your answer to highlight some of the ways you offer your help to clients who have had to cope with such a loss. Here's a sample answer:

Example: "In my last role, I networked with grief support centers that offered free support services for families who have lost pets. Building this partnership allowed me to refer my clients who had to euthanize pets or who had lost their pets at no additional costs for my clients.

Additionally, these resources had no time limit and no set schedules, making it convenient for my clients to use these resources when they needed to. I hope to be able to provide similar support and compassion to my clients here, too."

5. What are reverse zoonoses and have you encountered cases like these in your past positions?

Reverse zoonoses happen when humans infect their pets with an illness or disease, and your ability to mitigate and treat cases like these show the interviewer more about your experience and training. Give examples of how you look for, prevent and treat reverse zoonoses as part of veterinary medicine.

Example: "In my previous practice, I often educated my clients on zoonoses and how they could reduce the risk of this occurring. As part of the prevention process, this education in combination with proper pet vaccination was highly valuable for clients.

I have never encountered a reverse zoonosis, and I owe this in part to the prevention methods I encouraged with my clients. However, my first course of action in this event is to immediately identify whether it's bacterial or viral. Depending on the diagnosis, I would then help the client determine the best treatment plan for their pet."

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