From the basics — “Tell me a little bit about yourself” — to the advanced — “describe the most difficult situation you’ve had to face as a pharmacist — here are the most common pharmacist interview questions you’re likely to encounter as a job seeker, and a quick guide on how to answer them.
Common Pharmacist Interview Questions: The Basic
In a mock pharmacy interview conducted for his Pharmacy Leaders Podcast, Tony Guerra, PharmD discussed how to approach the most basic common pharmacist interview questions with members of the CareerStaff team. In any interview, chances are good that you’ll be asked some version of these, and preparing answers in advance gives you the chance to add a positive spin and leave a better impression.
“Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you like to do outside of work?”
Common as these questions are, they can still throw you off your game if you’re not ready for them. Dr. Guerra advises keeping your response to under a few minutes — the employer does want to know about you, but doesn’t need to hear your life story. Show your passion for your hobby or pursuit without losing focus on the task at hand.
> Pro Tip: Show you have a life outside of work, but don’t get distracted from your passion for your career.
“Describe your greatest strength, and your biggest weakness.”
Be ready for it — this question will be asked during your pharmacist interview! And it’s one of the most common stumbling points for inexperienced interviewees. Because it asks you to present an unflattering aspect of yourself, you’ll want to prepare well in advance so you can put the most positive spin on things, while still being as candid and honest as possible.
> Pro Tip: Remember to present your strengths humbly, while describing your weaknesses as a chance for growth.
“What accomplishment are you most proud of?”
“Use this question as an opportunity to tell a bigger story,” Dr. Guerra advises. “Pick one or two things that show you are driven and committed. Discuss instances where you have had to overcome something and what you did to accomplish that. Employers want to ensure you are in it for the long-run and are not willing to give up.”
> Pro Tip: Try to present your achievements at a high level, without too much detail (or gloating).
“Tell us about a time you’ve had to overcome a tough situation or deal with an unexpected level of responsibility.”
The point of this question is to hear, in your words, a description of how you can problem-solve in the middle of a tense situation. Give this one some thought, reaching back into your career or educational experience that best shows how you can think on your feet while on the job.
> Pro Tip: “The story you choose should prove you can do any job,” Dr. Guerra notes.
Common Pharmacist Interview Questions: The Advanced
As tough as the above questions are, they’re not too far removed from what any professional can expected to be asked during a job interview. While it’s essential to have ready answers for them, you should also be prepared to answer questions more specific to your experience and career trajectory as a pharmacist. Some of these questions could be:
- What made you decide to become a pharmacist?
- How do you stay up-to-date with new drugs and other trends affecting this profession?
- Describe your specific experience with patient immunization.
- How do you help educate patients so they better self-manage their medications?
- Describe a situation when you helped a patient understand complicated medical info.
- Do you have experience working with a large group of patients at the same time? If so, how did you manage that?
- Are you prepared to identify drug-seeking behavior or resistance to medication among patients?
- Do you have any experience managing disputes among technicians?
- How would you respond if a customer asked about an over-the-counter drug that you’d never heard of?
- In your view, what’s the most serious challenge facing the business side of pharmacy?
As you can see, you’ll need to be ready with info about managing patients, tech staff and day-to-day challenges. On top of that, you should also expect to be asked your opinions on difficult matters, like ethical dilemmas involving patients and medications. These can be risky areas to enter into without preparation, so constructing answers in advance is always the best course of action.
> Pro Tip: If asked about an opinion on an ethical or political matter, be careful to discuss only the on-the-job aspects without getting sidetracked on potential red-flag subject matter.
At CareerStaff, we know how important it is to find the career opportunities that align with your life goals. We also know that preparing for those opportunities takes time, effort and careful consideration of some difficult questions. We’re here to help, with a comprehensive pharmacist career tool kit and a plethora of job opportunities across the United States.
So, if you’re seeking great career opportunities as a pharmacist or pharmacy tech, we’ve got amazing assignments in all shapes and sizes, from local permanent positions to travel opportunities and more. We invite you to browse all available pharmacy jobs here, or join our roster of clinical professionals now for fast-track access to new opportunities.