Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane “pill-flipping” life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

5 Must-Know Interview Tips for Pharmacy Students

NOVEMBER 03, 2014

I was terrified. My legs wouldn’t stop shaking from nervousness, and my undershirt was soaked.

 

It was my first interview. And I didn’t get the job.

 

Nervousness translates to a lack of confidence in an interview. It's a lesson I learned the hard way.

Eight
years later, after extensive research and many discussions with hiring managers and pharmacy admission advisors, I’ve accumulated tons of knowledge on how to interview the right way. Here are 5 tips you MUST implement in your next interview.


1. Have 3 to 5 questions memorized

It is very dangerous to not have any questions for your interviewer. It’s even more dangerous if you don’t memorize them.
 

Your interview day will happen so fast, you won’t remember half of the details. If you don’t memorize your questions, you will likely not ask any when it’s your turn during the interview.

Since you will appear disinterested if you don’t have questions prepared, I recommend writing down your questions on an index card and taking it with you to interview day, but do NOT take the card out during the interview.


2. Don’t ask about compensation, vacation, or benefits

There’s an episode of The Office where they have to interview a new manager. One of the characters played by Jim Carrey starts his interview by asking if he can take vacation immediately after he starts. Bad idea.

 

Just because you interviewed for a position does not guarantee you’ll receive the offer. Never assume you can negotiate compensation or benefits. You must first be OFFERED a position in order to negotiate.
 

However, it’s okay to ask about compensation if it's unclear during the application process. Just be careful how you word that question.

3. Eliminate pre-interview anxiety

Everyone gets nervous right before an interview, but those minutes are crucial moments for you to beat anxiety.
 

Use whatever you can to calm your nerves. Hopefully, you’ve prepared yourself for the typical questions you’ll be asked, which is the best way to prevent nervousness.

Use music to pump yourself up, or maybe think about family or closed loved ones. I’ll usually look at a picture of my wife and another picture of my daughter dressed up as a pumpkin because they bring a smile to my face and stops me from thinking about the interview.

 

Pray, meditate, exercise; do whatever you have to do to calm your nerves.

4. Always write a thank you note

This isn’t new advice but, for some reason, job seekers still do not do this. I’m shocked, because this advice is all over the Internet.


I say “write” because email just isn’t the same. Don’t you love getting a package or letter in the mail? And I mean from a friend, not a credit card letter or bill.


I remember it and I open it up with great anticipation. I do NOT feel the same way about email, because sorting my email is like a chore.
 

Write thank you notes, even if you think the interview went awful or you don’t want the job. Why? Because you never know if you may need another job in the future.

5. Memorize your interviewers' names

“There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name.” -Dale Carnegie


To not know someone’s name after you’ve been introduced is just plain rude. Make a point to know each interviewer’s name.

Often, you’ll be given an itinerary of the day that contains interview names. Memorize that list.

 

If you struggle with names, be honest about it. Simply apologize and ask for the person’s name again: “I’m sorry, I’ve heard a lot of names today, and I’m afraid I forgot yours. Could I have it again?” That’s not rude at all!
 

A tactic to better remember a person’s name is to say that name immediately after hearing it. If I hear, “Hi Alex, I’m Bob Burger,” I say, “Hi Mr. Burger. It’s my pleasure to meet you.”


I also try to use their name again in the conversation, because repetition is key.

If you have a favorite tip or a lesson you learned from your own interviews, share this article! Check out my Twitter profile and connect with me.



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