So, you’re about to interview for a pharmacy position. You’ve worked hard to earn the credentials needed to qualify for your dream job, and now the only thing standing between you and your career is an interview.
It’s the stuff of nightmares for a lot of people. Interviews are a lot less scary, though, if you can prepare for them the right way.
We’re going to give you some advice on how to handle pharmacy interview questions in this article, hopefully preparing you to get the job you’re after. Let’s get started:
5 Tips on How to Prepare for Pharmacy Interview Questions
Pharmacy jobs are often tough to land. Even with all of the hard work and credentials under your belt, getting the job requires that you have a strong interview.
Additionally, finding potential job opportunities may require that you work with a pharmacist staffing agency. Staffing agencies can help you gain access to a wide bank of potential job openings across the world.
There’s a wide variety of pharmacy positions as well, so working with an agency can open your eyes to the opportunities that you may not have known existed. In any case, though, you’re responsible for doing your research and preparation.
If you do happen to work with a pharmacist staffing agency, make sure that you have clear goals in mind and are ready to work with the agency to find your ideal position. They can put you in touch with the right people, but your end of the bargain is to follow through and do your best to land the job.
One huge piece of that is being ready to perform in your interview. So, grab a pen and pad, take some notes, and let’s start talking about your interview.
1. What are Your Motivations?
First things first, why do you want to be a pharmacist?
Sure, the money is great, but that’s an obvious one. You probably wouldn’t want to hire someone to do such an important job if you knew they were just in it for the money.
There has to be a different, underlying principle about pharmacy work that drives you. You’ve expended a lot of time, energy, and resources to get to the point you’re at now. What was it about the pharmacy that drew you in?
It’s important to have a clear idea of what your motivations are. Be specific and develop an ability to elaborate on why you’re so interested in the field. We’ve all got our “elevator pitch,” the combination of a few sentences that we give to acquaintances and family members about why we’re in our field of study.
Elevator pitches are a little impersonal and short, though. Try writing down your motivations for being a pharmacist. Write at length about why you like the field, what you think it has to offer society, and why it’s so important to you that you find a job as a pharmacist.
You might find that there are some factors that you knew but never vocalized before. Take those insights and use them in your interview. Employers want to hire individuals who are confident about what they believe in and why they do the things they do.
2. Do You Have Management Skills?
Pharmacists are often in managerial roles as well. If you’re a lead pharmacist, you’ll be handling a lot of the day-to-day tasks that those in positions of responsibility take on.
That also means dealing with other employees who have conflicts and difficulty completing the tasks that are assigned to them. A great work environment comes from great management. Great management typically comes when a person has a level head, understands what’s expected of them, and can tackle issues in a reasonable manner.
Naturally, each job position will have different factors that determine how a person manages. That said, any management experience you have might be important to mention in an interview.
You should certainly detail your skills involving interpersonal management and diffusing conflicts in the workplace. If you don’t have any specific experiences or anecdotes to highlight those skills, just be sure to let the hiring committee know that you’re comfortable in leadership positions.
Comb through your job history, too. You might have forgotten a side project or former job that required you to lead others. Often times, college experiences provide us with leadership experience that we forget when it comes time to explain ourselves.
3. How are Your Customer Relations?
Another big piece of the position is talking and working with people who walk in the door to get their medication. In other words, you’ll be testing your customer service skills on a very regular basis.
Some people just have a knack for dealing with customers in a helpful, pleasant manner. Others have to work at it to really get the feel for how to deal with all types of customers.
Either way, there’s something to be said for someone who has figured out how to provide great customer service. Even if you aren’t naturally talented at talking to people, let the hiring staff know that you’ve worked hard to achieve a high level of customer service.
People will be impressed to know that you’ve had to work to get where you are. If you’re naturally talented at handling customers, let them know about that, too. If you’re confident in your ability to work with the people who you’re there to serve, that will shine through in the interview.
4. How Do You Keep Your Knowledge Active?
Pharmacy work requires a great deal of knowledge before you set foot in the workplace. It’s very important that you’re aware of all of the medications you’re giving to patients as well as all of the potential effects of mixes and various doses.
There will always be an emergence of new medications. As our understanding of medicine and health advances, more and more prescriptions will be available to patients. That also means that pharmacists’ understanding of medication must always be adapting.
How do you keep your knowledge base up-to-date? What are your methods for staying on the cutting edge and being ahead of the newest changes to your job? What motivates you to keep learning and updating your understanding of your profession?
These are important questions to ask yourself, and there are bound to be variations of those questions in the interview process.
Identify the parts of your routine that involve getting and interpreting new information. Think critically about how you take in information and use it in the workplace.
If, upon close examination, you find that you aren’t keeping up-to-date with the latest prescription advances, now is the time to start establishing those habits.
5. Identify Your Advantage
Most interviews have some variation of the question, “why do you think you would be a good fit for the position?”
There are a thousand simple answers that bubble to the top of our heads: “I’m a hard worker,” or “I have an open mind and I’m ready to take on all challenges!”
Try to think about this question long before you enter the interview. What is it that makes you special? What qualities do you have that makes you unique from other pharmacists who might be applying for the job?
Is there something about your personality that allows you to work well with people while remaining closely focused on your tasks? Are you an excellent delegator with workplace conflict? Have you always had a fascination with medication?
Whatever it is that sets you apart, identify it and figure out how it makes you a better pharmacist.
Again, it may help to write out your answers to this question at length. If you aren’t sure about what your advantage might be, just start a journal. Set aside an hour or two and write away about why you think you’d be good for the job.
You could even start writing about your personality and meander your way into an answer. You might find that your journal doesn’t seem like it’s helping at first, but provides insight when you read it over.
Apply for the Right Jobs
This tip doesn’t have to do directly with interviews, but it’s important to your confidence and how you’ll feel in the interview.
If the job market is a little slim, it can feel like you have to apply for any job that comes your way. It’s important to be selective, though. Working with a pharmacist staffing agency can help you find the positions that you truly want, and not ones that just happen to come your way.
Your desire for the position will certainly shine through in the interview, affecting your chances at getting the position.
Are You Ready to Start Working?
Hopefully, this brief guide to pharmacy interview questions has helped you feel more prepared for your interview.
If you’re still on the hunt for available positions, though, we’re here to help. Contact us to get started finding the perfect pharmacy position for you, wherever you want to find work.