Interview Tips for New Pharmacy Graduates

Pharmacy CareersPharmacy Careers August 2016

You're finally done pharmacy school. Now what?

You’re finally done pharmacy school. Now what?

New graduates can check pharmacy school off their to-do list, but the next task—finding a good job in pharmacy—may be just as daunting as getting a PharmD.

One common problem interviewees run into is nerves. Pharmacists can combat anxiety about a job interview by doing copious amounts of research on the company hiring so that they can go into the interview feeling fully prepared. Mediation or prayer can also help calm nerves.

In addition, exercise can reduce stress and improve concentration. Physical exercise can also lead to better sleep, which is important for the nights leading up to the interview.

Pharmacists should also try to get into the right mindset for them prior to the interview. Some people believe that having a positive, optimistic attitude about the interview will ensure success, while others say being a defensive pessimist can help prepare them for obstacles.

If pharmacists are in the position to schedule their own interview, GlassDoor, a job and recruiting site, suggests avoiding first thing Monday morning or at the end of the day Friday.1 Scheduling an interview around lunch time might be problematic too if the interviewer is hoping to skip out early for a meal or is late coming back to the office. Glassdoor suggested that 10:30 AM on Tuesday might be the optimal time for an interview.

One thing pharmacists shouldn’t forget is to consider is if the job would be a good fit for them. Pharmacists may get wrapped up in making a good impression and trying to prove to the interviewer that they are the best candidates for the job, but they should also try to find out more about the job to make sure it’s really what they want to pursue.

If a pharmacist comes out of an interview with a bad feeling about the job and its responsibilities, it might be better to wait for the next job opportunity. Asking the interviewer lots of questions and looking for natural dialogue may help the interviewee get a better sense of the job and its culture, too.

If a pharmacist is offered the job, he or she might want to ask to hang around the pharmacy for a few hours to get a better sense of what a normal day in the office looks like.

Here are a few other interview tips from fellow pharmacists and job sites:

What Fellow Pharmacists Say

Pharmacy Careers asked Pharmacy Times fans on Facebook what advice they had for students trying to land a new job. Here were some of their responses:

  • “Be sure to talk about how much you want this job and how committed you are to being the best pharmacist possible. Reserve questions for your prospective employers regarding how much time you will be granted for [vacation] for later, when you’re negotiating an offer.”
  • “Don’t chew gum.”
  • “All communication should be professional.”
  • “Be patient.”
  • “Find a job in a nontraditional pharmacy field.”

How to Ace a Phone Interview

In an article for Pharmacy Times, Donna Kosteva, RPh, MEd, a pharmacist and career counselor, suggested these 7 tips for phone interviews:

  • Dress up, even though the interviewer won’t see you, because it will psychologically prepare you.
  • Make sure to have a clear connection.
  • Don’t get distracted.
  • Keep a word document open with notes on the company, so you can reference this information during the interview.
  • Remember to keep it a 2-way conversation.
  • Direct the interviewer to your LinkedIn or pharmacy blog.
  • Send a thank you note.

What NOT to Do

CareerBuilder compiled a list of common and less common mistakes to avoid2:

  • Don’t forget to make eye contact
  • Don’t fidget or play with items in your hand or on the table.
  • Don’t play with your hair.
  • Don’t have bad posture.
  • Don’t look at your phone during the interview.
  • Don’t swear.
  • Don’t be too honest when the interviewer asks what your dream job is (if the position is not truly your dream job).
  • Don’t give this as a reason for wanting the position: “My wife/husband/significant other wants me to get a job.”


  • 5 tips: best times to schedule an interview. Glassdoor website. Published October 5, 2011. Accessed June 15, 2016.
  • Common (and not-so-common) interview mistakes to avoid. CareerBuilder website. Published January 14, 2016. Access June 15, 2016.

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