Interview Questions and How to Respond
By Robin Luke, CPhT
It’s time. You have found a position that interests you, and you have made an application, and you hear you have been set up for an interview. You are filled with excitement but also a bit nervous about the unknown. Maybe it has been a while since you interviewed, perhaps you are switching pharmacy areas or moving up the ladder, or perhaps you are about to begin your first pharmacy position. Preparation is key. Be short, concise with your answers. Avoid being too wordy, or you may end up changing directions or contradicting your responses. Many motivational speakers add that if you want to be memorable, make them laugh. We all dread the questions that come. Not because it is an interview, but we fear not giving the answers employers want to hear. Relax and remember, you do not wish to work somewhere where your honest self was forced to compromise to get past the interview.
Below we have presented the top seven interview questions you are most likely to hear and some helpful information on how to approach them. Let’s begin:
- Tell Me About Yourself.
Keep in mind that this is a job interview for pharmacy, not as a nanny. You would want to avoid too much personal information as many people nervously begin to talk about family. Your goal here is to say enough to pique enough interest in the interviewer as to why you would be suitable for the position. Share what you do now and some experiences.
- How Did You Hear About This Position?
If they are asking this question, they may be trying to determine your level of true interest. If you respond that you found on social media randomly, they may think that you search for other jobs like this too. That’s OK! Many people search online job boards. Describe what caught your eye about the posted position or share something you researched about the company. If you know someone already working at the company, you may share that person's name if you are sure that person has a good reputation with the company. Explain that your friend/family member has nothing but praise for the company.
- Why Do You Want to Work at This Company?
Not too many of us escape this very common interview question. By the time you are heading into the interview, you should have done your homework on this company. You should be familiar with not only the basics, like what they do but the company values. Do they match your core values? If not, then what are you doing? To help navigate this tricky question, click here for some great tips. Here is where you are bold. Bring a unique point of view explaining how this company needs to match what you are seeking.
Understand the company's goals and plans and ask yourself if you honestly see yourself as a strong participant in this goal?
- Why Should We Hire You?
Unless you know for certain that you are the only person who applied for a position, you should treat this question as if it were reworded as “Why should we hire you over the other candidates.” You know, other candidates that may be just as qualified as you or even better. Now, do not be shy here. Not to say get loud but get focused. You got them interested in more in the first couple of questions. Here is where you keep that interest and pull them in. With your answer, make them visualize you fitting in. Tell them the results you will produce based on your skills thus far and how you can benefit the team.
- What Are Your Greatest Strengths?
No time to be shy here. Dive deep and give an assured, confident, accurate response to this question. But be careful, do not be so confident that you stretch the truth. Know yourself. There is such a thing as your “view of yourself” and the “view of others.” I have rarely interviewed a candidate that didn’t share that they were a “hard worker.” However, as you can imagine, they did not all turn out to be hard workers. So did they lie, or do they genuinely believe the “view of themself” is that of a hard worker? It may help if you ask a friend or coworker, you trust if they could share what they think of you. Your strengths and weaknesses to get a more rounded view. Then you can prepare your answer to this question when posed as honestly as possible. At this point of the interview, you may also add any related qualities that would enhance what you mentioned about your skills earlier, keeping the interviewer engaged.
- What is your greatest strength as a Pharmacy technician?
Now this question becomes more specific to the position. If this question is asked, they are looking for you to connect your skills and the position. This is an excellent time to share any experiences you feel would be similar. Describe perhaps a difficult encounter with a hard-to-please customer. Be sure to explain your thought process in how you decided to do what you did and the final result. This shows critical thinking and follow-through, which is crucial in pharmacy. Be confident in your answer. I once heard a “wise man” say that pharmacies are not looking for pharmacy technicians. They are looking for pharmacy troubleshooters. Explain your troubleshooting skills which are necessary for any pharmacy workplace.
- What Do You Consider to Be Your Weaknesses?
This is one of the most common questions and can strike fear into candidates who know it is inevitable. The interviewer may be attempting to gauge how well you know yourself and/or would like to hear how you are improving a certain aspect of yourself. As mentioned earlier, you may ask someone you trust what they say is a weakness of yours. You may offer something that does not cripple someone's view of you but illustrates that you are human. For example, “I sometimes find it hard to say no when someone needs my help.”
This is just a glimpse into the types of questions pharmacy technicians could expect to hear at an interview. Learn about all 100 interview questions for pharmacy technicians and how to respond, and much more at Mike Johnston’s Ultimate Career Navigator.