Who is a zookeeper? This is an individual who manages zoo animals that are kept in captivity for conservation or display to the public.
Below are the top 20 Interview Questions and Answers you are likely to be asked as a zookeeper.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
In this question, your interviewer expects you to tell them why you want to work in their company. Consider talking about having an interest in keeping animals and gaining more skills and knowledge from them too.
“As a graduate in a degree associated with this field, Bachelor’s in Zoology, I would like to put the skills that I have learned academically and through experience into place. I want to use the knowledge and skills to better the well-being of animals. According to a research I have conducted about your zoo, I have seen a great performance in preserving and keeping these animals well. I want to be part of this team that is doing a great job to make sure that the fewer caters for, are catered. In addition, I would like to learn and improve my skills through your team in this industry. That will be a win-win situation for both of us.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Zookeeper
The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the duties and responsibilities that you are supposed to perform as a zookeeper. Talk about the critical roles of a zookeeper.
“As a zookeeper, I am expected to perform several duties which among them are;
a) Keep all the animal enclosures clean, germ-free and secure for them.
b) Prepare foods for them such as pallets, fresh produce, meat, or hay and administer medications.
c) Observe animals to detect any sign of distress or illness
d) Design an adaptable environment for them.
e) Keep daily records on new births, deaths, and behaviors
f) Work with professionals like the vets
These would be my key duties and responsibilities as a zookeeper.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Zookeeper Need To Be Successful
Here, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you would need to be successful in this role. Talk about the qualities of a good zookeeper.
“First of all, a good zookeeper would possess critical knowledge on how each type of animal should be treated. A zookeeper should also be confident enough to face and handle very large animals which may seem scary. Having biological observation skills is also very essential in this industry. One needs to know the biological status of each and every animal in the zoo. Communication skills are also critical since there is a lot of communication involved both verbal and written. Lastly, a zookeeper should always be friendly to all animals regardless of their behavior. Those qualities would make a nice zookeeper.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You Manage?
Your interviewer wants to know what challenges you came across in your last role and how you solved them. Talk about events you had difficulties with while solving them.
“One of the biggest challenges that I have faced in this role is frequent attacks from animals. Although I am a zookeeper and as friendly as I can to these animals, at the end of the day, they are wild animals and they can arm you. Although there are strategies that you should put in place when attacked by them, sometimes they may get you off guard. Some animals may be very aggressive and can easily arm you if not careful. I must say that this is one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my previous roles.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Zookeeper
The interviewer wants to know what your daily schedule would be like. Give them a very organized routine starting from the first activity to the last activity of the day in the zoo.
“After getting to work, the first activity to do would be having a meeting with all the staff and review on previous day’s data concerning the number of animals we have in the zoo. I would start checking if we have all the animals and their well being. After that, I would start cleaning and maintaining the environment. I would then feed them and start my play and enrichment with the animals. I would then check all the safety and security measures before allowing the visitors in and this time, I am on radio call all day. Lastly, I would check them again, ensure that they are in good health, and then call it a day.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
The interviewer expects you to talk about your past encounters and how long you worked in this field. Talk about the positions you have worked, the number of years, and the experience you got.
“As a zookeeper, I have worked for seven years in two different zoos. One was a national park, and the other one was a private zoo. The first year, I started working as an assistant zookeeper, and then I was promoted to be a zookeeper since I had all the qualifications to be one. After completing my three years contract, I worked as a zookeeper in a private zoo for the other four years. In the two workplaces, I was able to interact with different kinds of animals ”
7. What Kind Of Strategies And Mindsets Are Required For This Role?
The interviewer wants to know your attitude towards this role. Talk about your attitudes and a key focus in this role.
“As a focused zookeeper, I should be able to focus on creating a very conducive and clean environment for all animals. As we all know, in order for the animals to stay well without having health issues, they should be in a clean environment of their adaptability. In addition, I should be very observant to notice animals that may seem sick and attend to them as soon as possible.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge That You Foresee In This Job?
The interviewer knows that you must have foreseen a big challenge that might affect this field in the future. Talk about the challenge and propose a solution to it.
“Poaching is one of the biggest challenges that the world is experiencing especially in this industry. People are killing animals for their own benefit without understanding that the animals have the right to life too. This is a challenge that if not looked into, might affect this industry largely.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
When the interviewer asks you this question, they expect you to talk about what keeps your morale high on daily basis. Consider talking about your success as your biggest motivation while working.
“As far as my motivation are concerned, it all comes from my career. Excellent services to the animals I am taking care of have always been my motivation. Whenever I see them healthy and growing well day by day, I always feel that I am doing a great job and I would do it, again and again, to make sure that everything is in place. Animal well-being has always been my biggest motivation.”
10. Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lessons You Learned
The interviewer expects you to tell them when you made a mistake in your career but you learned a lesson from the mistake. Talk about one event you made a mistake and the outcome was not as expected.
“As we all know, the animals that are being taken care of should have their own food and zookeepers should never allow outsiders or visitors to give them food. This was a rule I did not look into that much until one of the lions we were taking care of had food poisoning. This was big blame on the zookeepers department. Luckily, the lion survived. I learned that the animals in the zoo should never take any food that has not been given to them by the zookeepers department.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are Most Suited For This Role?
The interviewer wants to know why you think you are the best candidate for this role. Consider talking about your unique qualities and strategies that differentiate you from any other candidate that attended the interview with you.
“Being a zookeeper is a post that comes with a lot of responsibilities. It needs an experienced person who can handle all the situations and with a lot of professionalism and knowledge. I believe that I have all it is required to take care of these animals in the zoo. Having worked in this relevant field for seven good years, I believe I have all it takes to be the zookeeper you are looking for. In addition, I believe that I have all the strategies and qualities needed to act as a zookeeper in your facility. I believe that you will consider my experience as an added advantage. To me”
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement
Your interviewer wants to know what aims you have been able to attain in your career. Talk about the most meaningful goals you have achieved, awards, and promotions relevant to this position.
“As a sort of appreciation and recognition of the employer’s efforts, my previous employer was registered in the National Zookeeping, which would recognize and award the best zoo in the county or even countrywide. We won this title for three consecutive years. We would attend sporty seminars where we would show skills on how we train our animals. The best zoo would be awarded and the zookeepers. We retained this position for three consecutive years. This was my greatest achievement.”
13. Give Us Five safety Equipment Used In This Field And Their Functions
The interviewer wants to know whether you are aware of the tools and equipment you should use while working as a zookeeper. Give them five essential pieces of equipment.
“There are several machines and equipment that are essential for a zookeeper. Among them, the five are;
a) Triple skinned falconry glove
b) Leatherman multi-tool
c) Mini Maglite LED Flashlight
d) Clicker and whistle kit
e) Heavy-duty brass adjustable hose nozzle
I believe that with the mentioned safety equipment, you can be able to work as a zookeeper.”
14. Us Through Five Safety Rules In A Zoo.
The interviewer is testing your knowledge on how you should protect yourself and animals from harm in the zoo. Talk about the safety measures.
“There are safety rules that one should always observe while working as a zookeeper. Among the many five are;
a) Always know where the animal is before entering an enclosure
b) Always wear your protective gears
c) Always get vaccinated for rabies, tetanus, hepatitis B, and Lyme diseases
d) Hold regular emergency drills
e) Have periodic skin tests for tuberculosis and annual testing for parasitic diseases. ”
15. How Would You Describe A Lost Animal From Your Zoo?
The interviewer is testing your knowledge on how you can help the animal recovery team recover an animal that has escaped from a zoo.
“As a zookeeper, I know the escaped animal better than any other person. This is the information I would provide to the recovery team.
a) The species and type of the animals
b) Description of the animals that have escaped
c) The number of escaped animals
d) The direction of the escaped animals
e) Condition and behavior of the animal
f) Any destruction caused by the animal
That would be a piece of perfect information that would help in animal recovery.
16. How Should Drills Be Conducted?
The interviewer wants to know whether you know more about drills that zookeepers are supposed to conduct and for how long and frequency they should be conducted.
a) Drills should be conducted at least twice annually
b) Should be rotated to gain knowledge on every sector
c) Should be well and advance planned with objectives and goals
d) Sometimes drills can be conducted with visitors in the park for real-time application to them
e) Should be well followed and monitored by the response review meeting and well documented.”
17. Name The Key Response Authority That You Would Make Your Report To
The interviewer wants to know whether you know who you should contact whenever there is an escape of a vehicle.
“These are the key authorities and their order
a) Incident Commander – has the overall responsibility for the response incident or event
b) Operations Chief – oversees tactical operations planning to carry out parts of the response
c) Operations Supervisor – oversees the implementation of the plan
d) Communications coordinator – ensures the flow of vital information about the event.
18. How Did You Learn That We Are Recruiting?
The interviewer wants to know how you knew that there was a zookeeper vacancy in their company. Tell them whether someone referred you, you learned from a poster, or from an electronic advertisement.
“Since I love walking around my hood with my two friendly dogs and two cats, I learned through a poster I saw that a well-experienced zookeeper was wanted to work in your facility as a zookeeper. Since I have no job at the moment and I have all the qualifications and experience, I did not hesitate to apply for this job. Luckily, I was shortlisted to attend the interview. I believe that I will also get a chance to work for you as well.”
19. What Is Your Biggest Strength In Your Career?
The interviewer wants to know what it is that you are best at while working.
“As far as my career is concerned, I believe that I always work best in teams. Teamwork is my all-time biggest strength.”
20. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Role?
The interviewer wants to know why you left your previous role. Talk about what happened to your last role.
“As I have stated earlier, I had been employed in a private zoo as a zookeeper for a contract of four years. After my contract ended, there was a chance for me to renew the contract but I preferred not to. The reason why I did not renew the contract is that I thought that it was best for me to change my working environment. With this, I know very well that I will get additional experience in handling different types of animals as well. That would sharpen my skills and experience in this career.”
Being a zookeeper is one of the best careers especially if you like having some time with pets. Answer the questions with creativity and show your interviewers that you are the best for that position. All the best.