How to Ace Your Next Pharmacy Interview

DECEMBER 02, 2014

According to a CareerBuilder survey of more than 2000 hiring managers, 49% of employers know within the first 5 minutes of an interview whether a candidate is a good or bad fit for the position. Whether you're applying for a job, school, residency, or fellowship, an interview is a crucial component of your overall application. The following steps can help ensure that you ace your next interview.

 

Practice
An interview can be a stressful experience. Therefore, like any other skill, it’s important to continually practice to improve your technique. Consider a mock interview with the help of a family member, friend, or significant other to play the role of the interviewer. Practicing through mock interviews is an excellent resource to improve your technique and get valuable feedback.

 

During the mock interview, try answering questions that you think may be asked during an actual interview. A Google search can locate potential questions that may prove helpful. 

 

Finally, many school career development offices offer individualized mock interviews, along with useful tools such as InterviewStream. This website simulates an interview by asking challenging questions that can be customized to fit your interests or tailored to a specific field. You can then repeat questions and hear expert advice on how to answer certain types of questions.

 

Research
Having background information about the company or organization is crucial for making a good impression on the potential employer and showing you are serious about the position. Topics to research includes the company's culture, mission, values, products or services, recent events, and job requirements, as well as the person interviewing you.

 

Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions to show you are the perfect fit. Ideally, you should tailor each interview based upon the position and company you are applying for. 

 

Dress for Success
“On a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth,” says Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert and best-selling author. “A scuffed shoe, messy bag, or low-cut shirt can speak volumes.”

CareerBuilder’s data identified dressing inappropriately as a common interview mistake. 
Typical interview attire for men consists of a solid-colored suit, color-coordinated shirt, tie, belt, dress shoes, and little or no jewelry. For women, consider a 2-piece, matched suit and minimal jewelry. This guide provides a helpful visual of what to wear and avoid for an interview.

 

Be Confident
Showing confidence is one of the most important components of the interview. Begin the interview with a firm handshake, and make an effort to maintain eye contact with the employer throughout the interview. According to CareerBuilder’s survey, 70% of employers identified a failure to make eye contact as a common nonverbal mistake made during interviews. 

 

According to writer Laura Leigh Clarke, “You need to come across as confident: confident in your abilities, that you can do the job, that you’ll fit in with the culture, and confident enough that people will generally enjoy working with you. At the same time, you want to give arrogance a very wide berth.”

 

Ask Questions
Asking questions allows you to decide whether the company is the right place for you. Remember, you are interviewing the employer just as much as the employer is interviewing you. Additionally, asking questions shows you are interested in the position.

Not sure what to ask? The best questions often come from listening to what you're asked during the interview and then requesting additional information. Focus on specific questions that demonstrate your interest in the employer and also help determine whether that employer is the right fit for you.

 

Questions to avoid during an interview include information about salary and benefits, company drug policy, and other basic company information that can be easily found online.

 

Follow-Up
Always follow-up an interview with a thank you note showing appreciation for the opportunity and restating your interest in the position.

“The follow-up letter is almost like a proposal letter,” says Sarah Stamboulie, a New York career consultant. “You should tailor it to the company and suggest specific ways you can address the needs you discussed when you met.”

According to Stamboulie, these messages should be sent by email because it’s quicker and snail mail can make you appear outdated.



Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist working at a large health insurance plan on the east coast. Additionally he works per diem at a retail pharmacy chain. He graduated from MCPHS University - Boston in 2015 and subsequently completed a PGY-1 Managed Care Pharmacy Residency. His professional interests include pharmacy legislation and managed care pharmacy. He can be followed on Twitter at @toshea125.
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