7 Things Pharmacists Can Learn from the NFL Interview Process


Pharmacists looking to interview for a new job in 2016 can learn a lot from the NFL interview process.

I’m not a huge pro football fan, but I do think it is essential to have some knowledge of what is going on with your local team (in my case, the Philadelphia Eagles).

Whether it’s Monday morning football chatter among my co-workers, related conversations over dinner with my husband, or visits with his 85-year-old, football-nut aunt, I like to be part of the banter.

The recent firing of former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly just days before the regular season ended set off this year’s NFL coach interview frenzy. Here is what pharmacists looking to interview for a new job in 2016 can learn from the NFL interview process.

1. Have your playbook ready.

Like several NFL offensive and defensive coordinators, former head coaches, and interim coaches, you may receive a call to interview as soon as tomorrow. Like Eagles interim coach Pat Shurmar, you may be a candidate for an internal position without formally applying.

For this very reason, keep your résumé and credentials updated as much as possible.

2. Credibility counts.

It’s not a coincidence that the new Eagles head coach will be Doug Pederson, a former Eagles quarterback and current offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs who gained coaching experience under former Eagles head coach, Andy Reid.

Strong networks have the potential to move you into an interview slot because your colleagues are familiar with your abilities.

3. Know before you go.

Before hopping on a plane, prospective head coaches learn everything they can about the organization where they are going to interview.

Take the time to learn about the pharmacy before your interview. Get an idea about the culture, philosophy, and vision through Internet searches and even current employees.

4. Wear a suit.

When NFL coaches are coaching on the field, we see them wearing a polo or jacket with the team logo. When they interview, however, they wear a suit.

Interviewing pharmacists also need to dress for the occasion. A sports jacket and button-down shirt with a tie for the gentlemen or a pant suit for the ladies are appropriate garb for interview day.

Once you’re on the job, your outfit can conform with what your colleagues are wearing.

5. Know the interview format.

Every organization has its own style of interviewing.

For prospective head coaches, the owner and general manager are part of the interview team. For pharmacists, the interview may be conducted by the owner, district manager, supervisor, or a combination of supervisory and current personnel with whom you will be working.

Interview dynamics change when its one-on-one versus a panel. Inquire ahead of time about the format that will be used on interview day.

6. Get ready to answer questions.

Unlike the NFL’s 9-hour interview process, pharmacist interviews are not marathons. Nevertheless, you still need to be on your toes.

If you have not interviewed in several years, do not be blindsided by behavioral interviews. Unlike the traditional “tell me about yourself” interview where you are asked for information and opinions, the behavioral interview makes you relate personal and professional experiences through “tell me about a time when” questions and how you handled the challenges.

Questions may focus around decision-making, communication, problem solving, and ethics. Depending on the experience and style of the interviewer, traditional questions may be part of the mix, as well.

Regardless of the interview style, practice, practice, practice. While your skills and experiences on paper may be an impressive match for the job, you could lose out if you cannot support them with relevant antidotes.

7. Keep in touch.

Prospective NFL coaches who interview follow up with a thank you and keep in touch.

Write or e-mail your interviewer(s). If you aren’t the top pick this round, having an impressionable interview can facilitate consideration for future open positions.

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