Before diving into the above topic, let’s understand who a Zookeeper is. A Zookeeper, otherwise called Animal Caretaker is someone who takes care of animals for most tourism purposes.
He/she works in the zoo where people visit to be entertained by the sight of the animals. This means that he/she has to work with animals and people at the same time.
So, while seeking a job as a Zookeeper, what are those likely questions you will encounter as an employee. We will also examine suitable and proper answers to those questions.
#1. How did you learn about this job opportunity?
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This question is to ascertain your sources of information and it also helps the employer to know how popular his/her company has become. Your answer should be factual and direct.
If you learned about it from a source in that company, you can go ahead to mention the name of the person. If it was on social media, mention the particular one you got the information from.
I learned about the opportunity through an Instagram Ad.
#2. What are the symptoms of an ill animal and how can you identify a sick one?
This question basically comes to test your attention to detail when it comes to animal caregiving.
How alert can you be and how prompt you are to detect and identify a sick animal among others. Your answer should be based on your knowledge of animals and animal diseases.
When you do not know the different kinds of animal diseases, it will be difficult for you to know when an animal is ill. This shows that you must be experienced in this field and that you know your onions when it comes to animal caregiving.
While giving your answer, make it detailed in order to convince them that you know what you’re saying. Remember to be confident about it.
Having worked with animals for some time now, I know that when an animal makes an incessant unusual sound, he/she needs to be examined.
So, when an animal that was initially vibrant suddenly becomes lonely and quiet, that animal needs special attention.
Some animals will begin to become more aggressive if they’re not well, while some will begin to emit mucus from their eyes and noses and these are all signs of an ill animal.
The first thing to do is to separate the suspected sick animal for examination so that if he/she is really ill, the sickness will not spread to other animals.
#3. Can you identify when your medication is having an effect on a sick animal?
First, you must understand that this question is in two ways. The effect can be positive or negative. So while answering it, ensure you let your interviewer know that you fully understand the question.
Outline the positive and the negative effects possible. Also tell them what you would do if the effect is negative.
I expect the medication to be effective after 24 hours of administration. After 24 hours, I reexamine the sick animal and check if the symptoms have persisted, if they’re disappearing, or if they have increased.
I continue the medication if I notice any improvement in the animal. I stop the medication if the symptoms are increasing and I try to change the method of administration if the symptoms persist.
#4. Do you know when not to approach an animal? Describe a scenario?
When it comes to description, a lot of us are prone to tell long stories. Remember that you are not asked to start blurting out all the ugly experiences you had with animals.
Make your answer detailed and simple. Your simplicity boosts your confidence and it makes your interviewers know that you’re not desperate in getting the job.
Your interviewer would want to know how you handle unforeseen situations and how you’re going to bring that to tame animals who become aggressive, especially to visiting tourists. You should know what to tell tourists when they’re panicking because of an aggressive animal.
At a time when an animal becomes aggressive towards his/her mates, or when is hungry and not promptly attended to, such animal should not be approached except you’re with what he/she needs.
Special care should be taken in steering tourists away from such animals to avoid accidents.
In a situation where a Lion in a cage is hungry and no one is approaching him with food, that person might become prey if not careful. Whosoever is approaching that Lion at that time must go with Lion’s meal.
#5. What were the pivotal challenges you encountered in your last role and how did you manage them?
This is particularly aiming to test your management skill and you should be careful not to fail that test in your answer. Think through your answers before saying them. As usual, do not go into telling stories. Go straight to the point.
One of the most crucial challenges I’ve encountered while working with animals in my previous job was on how to tame aggressive animals.
This was particularly difficult for me until I learned the secret from my former Boss. I had to apologize to a tourist who got so frightened because I was first unable to calm down a roaring Lion.
After that experience, I’ve become a guru in taming aggressive animals, thanks to my former Boss.
#6. Why are you interested in working in the zoo?
This question comes to test your passion and interest. If you’re not doing it for passion, then you’re doing it for whatever interest you have.
So, endeavor to be real in your reply. Let your interviewers know that your ambition is more of passion than interest.
In the first place, you must love a job before you venture into it. I’ll take it that you love being with animals or that you love taking care of animals.
Your passion might even stem from seeing people being happy while they visit and play with the animals. Ensure that your interviewers are able to visualize your enthusiasm while working with the animals even when you try not to sound too excited.
My interest in working in the zoo is that of passion for animals and being given the opportunity to see smiles on people’s faces when they play with these animals.
I want to be the one to make that possible by my premium care for animals. Also, I believe that just as we were created to receive care, animals also deserve to be cared for.
#7 How would you handle the audience of tourists around high-risk and aggressive animals?
This is to ascertain the safety of people around animals that should be feared by them. You should be able to convince people that those animals may be aggressive in nature, but they won’t hurt the tourists at that time.
You won’t know this if you do not understand such animals and when they can be dangerous. First, relax, think through the question within seconds.
This is to make your interviewers know that you understand the seriousness of the question and you’re not about to utter a rehearsed answer.
In your answer, let them know that you care about the lives of customers/tourists who will be around the animals on a daily basis. Also, let your answer portray your skillfulness in the job.
You are not a novice in this area and you must let your words convince them. Let your facial expression show that it’s something you can confidently handle.
First, I’ll put up a signpost in the area where such animals are kept just to warn tourists of the kinds of animals there.
Then, I’ll ensure I let them understand in my talk with them that these animals can be watched from a particular distance without any potential of any harm occurring.
I’ll ensure that high-risk and aggressive animals would be kept in a more secure place where they cannot easily get free.
If there’s any tourist who seems not to be comfortable with a particular animal, I’ll lead him/her to lesser aggressive ones.
#8. How do you stay motivated working with animals?
An employer would want to know how long you can endure boredom and how you can get yourself motivated even when the situation you have to deal with is a difficult one.
Motivation is what drives you. When you lack the right motivation, the work you’re onto will suffer. Most times, motivation doesn’t have to come from outside, you need to find ways to stay motivated even when dealing with difficult animals.
Again, this answer should come from experience. Think of the things you did in the previous jobs that kept you happy while carrying out a difficult task.
A wise employer will know that you are at your best in your work when you’re better motivated. What if your boss is not doing anything to motivate you, what will you do?
What if customers/tourists are shattering the little motivation you gathered to face them, how will you stay at that job? Your answer should show more self-motivation.
I understand that animals can be the most unlikely enjoyable beings to work with, but I’ve taken care of animals since childhood and I’ve never been tired of them.
Seeing these creatures being able to live, procreate, fight, play among themselves gives me a reason to want to watch them the next day do the same things.
I also derive motivation from people who come around these animals knowing that most of them only want their pleasure fulfilled. The pay I take home every month is a greater motivation.
#9. What makes you think you’re the best candidate for this role?
This is an opportunity for you to outline your skills, qualifications, and work experiences. Be confident about your answer. Your confidence will most likely make them take you. Do not forget that.
Be brief and factual. Nobody has time to listen to long stories. Also, add anything that might put you at an advantage as the interview is likely coming to an end.
Having obtained a B.sc. in Zoology, Animal Science (or any other qualification you have) and 4 years of working experience in two different zoos, I believe that I’m the most suitable candidate for this role.
I have great testimonials from my previous jobs and my skills include managerial skills. I believe I can deliver at my best if I’m offered the opportunity to work here.
#10. Tell us what you can contribute to this company/firm and your expectations from us?
I know that after hearing this question, most candidates would rush to mention the amount of money they expect to be paid. This question is more of the skills you can bring in for the progress of that establishment than the money they should pay you.
So, take your time, list out the different skills you can offer and your selling points. Let them know what you are good at and what they’ll likely miss if they let you go.
What you should expect from a firm should be basically, support, the right motivation, and an encouraging workspace. Don’t mince words while answering this question. Shoot your shot the best way you can.
With my organizational and attention to details skills, I’m certain that I can render the best care to the animals in your zoo. I believe you want your animals to be on their best behavior, especially around tourists.
I’m able to give you that. Also, my disposition will certainly bring more tourists visiting and more revenue will be derived which will, in turn, add to the growth of your firm.
I expect a relaxing working space, a great motivational system, which includes the pay as I work for this firm.
The focus is to ensure that you confidently portray that you surely know your onions and that you can deliver what you say. Your employment is just few words away.
I wish you the best!