Pharmacy students are expected to have hundreds of hours in related experiences, as they move through Pharmacy school toward their degree and a full-time job. To gain this experience, they are participating in internships, residencies, fellowships, research, service projects, and more. Yet prior to working, they first must go through the interview process. It is important to be ready and prepared for interview questions, both general and specific to the pharmaceutical industry.
For the more general interview, there are typically two types of questions. First is the Standard Type, very direct, sometimes with a Yes/No answer. It is still good to elaborate and explain beyond the Yes or No, so have some stories prepared to explain your answers. These types of questions may include:
Have you always wanted to be a pharmacist?
What skills do you believe are needed for a career in the pharmaceutical field?
What are qualities you seek in a work environment, supervisor, colleagues, etc.?
How do you handle stress?
Why did you choose UConn for your degree program?
The second type of question is called a Behavioral Type, which is based on the premise that Past Performance Predicts Future Behavior. These questions want you to provide a story, an experience that highlights the point noted in the question. Examples of these include:
Give me an example when you resolved a conflict.
Tell me about a time when you demonstrated good listening skills.
Explain a situation when you took the lead in a group project.
Describe a situation where you had a role in a customer interaction.
To answer the Behavioral Interview questions, you will want to follow a method of response called STAR, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Describe the Situation you are in, Explain the Task you were assigned, Review the Action steps you took, and Share the Result of your efforts. When possible, use a story that can relate to the position or the pharmaceutical field.
Lastly, it is always important to end your interview with questions for the people conducting the interview. These are not specific to you personally, as the candidate; instead, they can be focused on the interview process as well as the interviewer’s professional background or information regarding the organization you are considering. Examples:
How long have you worked at XXX? What is the best aspect of this position?
What will be the most challenging aspect of the position?
What are some department/company short or long term goals?
Can you share the timeline for the process for this position?
To continue your preparation, here are some websites with additional tips and suggestions, as well as more questions. In addition, if you are looking for an internship or industry based experience, you may be eligible to participate in our department’s Practice Interview program. Call us at 860-486-3013 for more information.