Top 25 Public Health Epidemiologist Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Editorial Team

Public Health Epidemiologist Interview Questions and Answers

In this article, we will be sharing some of the questions with answers that you might be asked in your interview as a Public Health Epidemiologist. Remember that your career progress is important to be fully prepared for the interviews.  You are lucky that you have an opportunity to match your skillset and knowledge.

1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?

I am a born administrative person as I am holding a degree in administration and have prior experience in the health sector too. I am proficient with Microsoft Office and calendaring events. In my life, I am a highly organized multitasker who works well in a fast-paced environment. That is not the end but I have a superb willingness to learn and grow with the organization in health-related areas. I am a good friend of the friends having excellent communication and organizational skills having a keen eye for detail.

2. What Are The Roles Of A Public Health Epidemiologist?

We know that epidemiologists typically engage to align evidence practice problems and reveal new ways to resolve public health issues around the world. A Public Health Epidemiologist is typically employed at a health department for the state and also at local government offices and laboratories. They are also hired at colleges, hospitals, universities, and even federal government agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some private organizations like CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield may also hire epidemiologists.

3. What Are The Qualities That A Public Health Epidemiologist Need To Be Successful?

Public Health Epidemiologist needs a thorough knowledge of descriptive and the current analytical epidemiologic techniques, research and also evaluation methodologies, and biostatistics as described in national standards mentioned by the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists Applied Epidemiology. The competencies include strong written as well as oral communication and presentation skills with the ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with internal as well as external partners; and related capacities and abilities.

4. What Main Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Could You Manage Them?

There are mainly three challenges involving epidemiological data:

These are interface challenges, data format challenges, and data reporting challenges. These challenges may be addressed to simplify the efforts of analysts and modelers together. That means adopting a framework of best practices comprising of modern standards adhering to when releasing epidemiological data to the public:

  • Presenting the user with an interactive web interface for searching and filtering data allowing users to export data in common open formats.
  • Providing a web-based API for allowing automated data retrieval.
  • Always using ISO 8601 dates, timestamps, and durations explicitly provided local time zones.
  • As and when possible, use ISO 3166 location names.
  • Ensure that the website can be run through an online language translation system.
  • Case definitions may be made clear and explicit while reporting case counts.
  • Manage to distinguish between unknown as well as zero values.

5. Describe The Daily Routine Of A Public Health Epidemiologist?

This is all about gathering medical data and collecting health information from the field, research or historical data, to analyze the data collected and present the findings to develop public health initiatives or maybe discover how a disease originated, spread, and may be treated. The specific day-to-day job duties of an epidemiologist differ depending on the workplace they work for and whether they primarily focus on research or strive for the application of research to public health issues. However, there are basic tasks that equally apply to many epidemiologists, regardless of their primary area of interest.

6. Briefly, Describe Your Experience?

I command a thorough knowledge of descriptive as well as analytical epidemiologic techniques together with research and evaluation methodologies and biostatistics. I have strong written and presentation and communication skills with the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships teaming with internal and external partners; and related capacities and abilities. I have a Master’s degree in Public Health specializing in Epidemiology followed by 18 months of practical experience with an NGO in the same field.

7. What Type Of Strategies And Mindset Are Essential For This Role?

Epidemiologists are usually called “Disease Detectives,” as they are responsible for discovering what is causing any community to get sick, who happens to be the most vulnerable, and what steps can be taken to curb the spread of any disease. The primary responsibility of an epidemiologist is to analyze data about the implications that disease has on a community. Epidemiologists use a variety of tools for data collection, such as interviews; questionnaires; collaborations with other scientists; and blood, water, and even tissue samples. Epidemiologists work closely with biologists, mathematicians, and chemists for deriving data and understanding the variables related to the spread of disease in any population.

8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee In This Job?

It is data accuracy only as everything depends on data. Accuracy means the right data collected from the right place by the right method in the right manner and adopting the right technique by the right people of course and later, the data processing to be done correctly.

9. How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated At Work?

My team is my all strength and I feel motivated as I help my team members in an official and personal capacity as or when they need help or guidance or even for undoing a mistake. I feel in high spirits as I start my morning brief along with my team and I see them ready to start the day in high spirits. This way I am well connected with their clinic workers, their families, and friends too in quite a respectable manner.

10. Describe An Event When You Failed And The Lesson You Learned?

I do remember a past event when a bulk of data entry return work arrived in late hours with a tight timeline. We had no choice except to ask our technical team to start working so they stopped all their ongoing tasks and switched themselves over to setting up data entry in quite an awe and shock. Within an hour or so, we were told that the documents received were a bit inconsistent while some details were also mismatching. We tried to contact the data management team for details but all in vain, there was no response. I escalated the matter further high to seek their help which we in fact, rarely do. They also tried to see who sent this bunch but in vain. It took us 3 hours to know that the incoming material landed in our area by someone’s mistake. It was our fault too that we skipped to cross-check check sender’s credentials from our official record and directly banged onto reworking. So, the lesson we had was that we should always go by the data process procedure adhering to specific steps else we waste our time and energy.

11. Why Do You Feel You Are Qualified For This Role?

As I said earlier, I have a Master’s degree in Public Health specializing in Epidemiology and public health has become my second nature. I am working in a win-win situation because of my exposure to various jobs with enough length of experience. I am not afraid of going through technical details and write well professionally using presentable and professional formats. I am proficient in Microsoft Office and Excel stuff, being a highly-organized multitasker.

12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievements

As I am working in the medical field, I have managed to learn medical terms and notions together with understanding the flying handwriting of ground staff too. Meanwhile, I also got a medical dictionary, also thanks to the computer era where I can learn pronunciation with few clicks so I avoid the typical fuss. This learning has helped me while handling various files passing across the workplace. With my ability to have eyes on detail, I have managed to improve data validity.

13. How Your Previous Employer Might Describe You?

I have been an avid team player and I always desire my teammates to maintain congruence and harmony. This brings achieving team objectives and also developing personal skills in parallel.  I like good team members around me who always bring value to the organization. My previous employers would rate me as some but an above-average worker, an excellent team player, and willing to put extra effort and time as and when the situation demanded as such.

14. So, Tell Us About The COVID-19 Scenario In Your Domain?

Epidemiology studies have involved a dynamic collaboration of professionals from various sectors. For example, the famous epidemiological report on COVID-19 on The Effect of Human Mobility and Control Measures on the COVID-19 Epidemic in China — was written by mathematicians, zoologists, epidemiologists, and biologists. The article reported how China’s measures to limit transportation might have affected the speed by which this virus is transmitted. Having used mobility data, scientists were able to follow the impact that these regulations had on the growth percentage of COVID-19.

15. How Do You Stay Motivated And Positive During The Challenging Tasks?

I do a thorough investigation as I see any procedure breach or even some fire-back incident considering the same as a hurt incident because something failed to work. I take it as a challenge, now if we gather our strength and resources, we can make things happen by digging deeper into facts and the several options we should deploy for making things happen. We should not just give up but struggle against the challenge. This shows we entered a dark tunnel and we can see a light on the other end of the tunnel. We can reach the light only if we keep struggling to reach that light.

16. How You Can Guide Your Juniors To Become An Epidemiologist?

The epidemiology career typically begins with a bachelor’s degree in biology, some biological science, or medicine. Epidemiologists later typically obtain a master’s in public health focusing on biostatistics, behavioral studies, immunology, health services and administration, and epidemiological methods.

Many in the field may pursue courses or continue education in molecular biology or biochemistry so they can further specialize in certain numerous applications or some variations of epidemiology. This kind of training trains students to use the tools most commonly associated with the field like SAS or SPSS statistical software, interviewing techniques, and medical processes like drawing blood.

17. What Responsibilities Do You See In This Role?

It can be conducting routine surveillance activities for the assigned diseases, assuring data quality, doing epidemiological analyses, preparing summary reports, assisting with outbreak investigations, communicating with the public, collaborating with community partners and clinicians, and other duties as assigned. Desired skills include proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Access, and PowerPoint; experience in SAS, Epi Info, and Arc GIS preferred. Candidates should be comfortable working in a team environment, as well as independently. This position may occasionally be required to work outside of normal business hours to respond to outbreaks. 

18. What Is Highest Strength You Have In This Role?

I find myself good to talk about leadership, willpower, and the ability to motivate and inspire — these traits create iconic corporations. Having the DNA of a medical side Manager, I have to adjust to circumstances. I have to show off a certain set of skills that bridge the space between the vision-led leader at the top and the people who execute strategy managing an ongoing business.

19. What Is Your Favorite Operation And Management Task?

As a Public Health Epidemiologist, I would prefer to focus on executing the data processing business, according to the established business model I have been given, while the CEO should be more concerned with long-term plans and goals as well as a broader outlook. My role is to only see the implementation of those plans on the ground.

20. Tell Me About Yourself In Brief

I am goal-driven, commercially focused, and progressive working as a Public Health Epidemiologist experiencing many challenging situations that I feel are a benefit to the organization. I fully appreciate the responsibility that comes with this position. I do thrive whilst being a part of the management team that all should be pushing forward in the same direction. If you would hire me as a Public Health Epidemiologist, you will be getting somebody who is committed to helping your plans and goals.

21. Do You Consider That Analyzing Data Or Information Is Particular Your Strength?

A major part of my role is being able to understand and interpret data to make informed administrative decisions. As a Public Health Epidemiologist, my strengths are the proper use of data and some metrics to understand the situation. The data gives us a better understanding of the overall health performance and highlights potential weak points in a single set of papers.

22. What Are Your Views About Seeking Help From Others?

While it is so important that I have to be confident in my actions, it is also vital that I can ask for assistance when necessary. I, being Public Health Epidemiologist should not be the only one responsible for the business’s success and feel no harm while seeking advice and help from others when it benefits the worker. No one expects a Public Health Epidemiologist to be all-knowing, so if I ask for advice or assistance is a critical skill for my position.

23. Do You Feel You Experience Is A Good Fit For The Company?

A successful Public Health Epidemiologist needs a wide range of diversified experience. My previous experience as a coordinator of data management can be an asset to the business. Because I have experience in leading others and being a leader, I understand both the business and operations sides of this business. This approves me as an effective leader and the best fit too!

24. How Do You Create An Action Plan When You Reach Such A Situation?

An action is a clear, detailed list of all the steps I need to take to reach my goals, along with a proposed timeline for each step. When till here, I need to be sure about the purpose of that action plan to reach my goals faster in a timely fashion. In each case, we need to identify each step with duties and responsibilities for each person with the timeline. We have to at SMART – that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

25. How Do You Perform Better, Alone Or As A-Team?

Communication is my pet area where I do good. I easily bond with people and this helps in getting things done by my team. In my career, I have worked under minimal supervision where I was responsible for my task. I do work well in both situations. Teamwork is important because it enables the team to share ideas and responsibilities, helps to reduce stress on the team, allowing them to be meticulous and detailed when completing tasks. 


The above questions will surely help during your interview! Remember, the Public Health Epidemiologist needs to have good interpersonal skills! Overall, being in this position is a demanding job that needs the presence of mind and full involvement from the team members. If you have a passion for organization, prioritizing the workload, and multitasking, this position is for you!  Don’t forget to dress up cheerfully for your interview and do it with a smile! Good luck!