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Pharmacist Interview Questions

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  1. Why do you want to become a pharmacist? See answer
  2. A customer asks about an over-the-counter medication you’ve never heard of before. How would you handle this situation? See answer
  3. A customer returns to the pharmacy with a bottle of prescription medication that is partially used and says it doesn’t work. How would you address the issue? See answer
  4. What do you think is the most important business aspect of being a pharmacist? See answer
  5. A customer experiences worsening side effects in response to a prescription. What do you suggest to them? See answer
  6. What was your favorite science subject in school and why?
  7. Two of your technicians aren’t getting along, and customers are starting to notice. How do you handle the situation?
  8. You’re out of stock on medication for a customer who is extremely difficult. How would you explain the situation to them?
  9. Do you have experience working with pharmacy management software? What programs have you used in the past?
  10. The inventory for certain medications is consistently off. How do you address the situation with your employees?
  11. Do you have experience administering influenza vaccinations?
  12. What do you do to make sure you stay up-to-date on new pharmaceutical drugs and treatment methods?
  13. Why is it important to maintain consistent communication with physicians in your area?
  14. A customer currently takes gabapentin for seizures. Can they take a form of naproxen at the same time?
  15. Do you have experience working in a high volume pharmacy?
  16. A pharmacy technician has an idea about how to streamline the refill process. Do you consider their ideas?
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8 Pharmacist Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do you want to become a pharmacist?

A:

Pharmacy is a job that pays well. This question tests why applicants would want to be a pharmacist, beyond a high salary.

What to look for:

  • Interest in helping others
  • Understanding of the role
  • Why they are passionate about the pharmacy profession

Example:


“I’ve always had an interest in the medical profession from the treatment of various diseases to drugs and surgery. I narrowed my interests down to pharmacy, and it’s been my passion ever since. There was never another career choice for me. What’s more, I believe I have both the knowledge and personality to become a good pharmacist, bring value to the store and offer excellent service to customers.”

Q:

What was your favorite subject while in school? What subject did you struggle with most?

A:

Pharmacy is a job that requires a lot of responsibility, so pharmacists should truly enjoy what they do. This question asked applicants what they did and didn’t like about their studies to see if they enjoyed the overall experience of studying pharmacy.

What to look for:

  • Self-awareness
  • Commitment to the pharmacy profession
  • Communication skills

Example:


“I enjoyed the APPE we had to complete. The chance to work in a real job, with supervision, reinforced my belief that this is the career for me. It was excellent preparation for the job and probably the best time I had in school. As far as weaknesses go, Calculus is the one class that caused me the most trouble. I had to study extremely hard to pass my exams, but I did, and while I didn’t enjoy it, the sense of accomplishment I felt when I passed made it all worth it.”

Q:

Two of your technicians aren’t getting along, and customers are starting to notice. How you do handle the situation?

A:

Pharmacists are often in a management role and need to be able to supervise their technicians. A good pharmacist will be able to manage their employees and any conflicts that arise.
What to look for:

  • Management ability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Conflict resolution

Example:


“I would schedule a time to speak with both technicians before the pharmacy opened. I would have each of them explain their grievances to the other and then work towards a solution. I would let them know their behavior was unacceptable and in the future, if they had a problem with a co-worker, to bring it to me so we could work it out. I’d also tell them any further public disruptions could potentially lead to disciplinary action.”

Q:

A customer asks about an over-the-counter medication you’ve never heard of before. How would you handle this situation?

A:

This hypothetical question allows the candidate to explain how they would react in a situation where they don’t know the answer. This question is important as it checks a candidates problem-solving skills.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to interact with patients
  • Research ability
  • Customer service

Example:


“I would explain to the patient that it was a drug I’d never heard of and I’d check to see if we carried it in the store. If we didn’t, I would then let them know I’d do some research on the drug and would call them to let them know what I found out and answer any questions they may have.”

Q:

A customer returns to the pharmacy with a bottle of prescription medication that is partially used and says it doesn’t work. How would you address the issue?

A:

Patients don’t always follow the instructions listed on their prescriptions. This question will let you see how applicants handle a situation where the patient isn’t following directions and because of that, not seeing results.

What to look:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Patient communication

Example:


“I would first ask why they thought the medicine didn’t work. I would check the type of medication they were prescribed since certain meds require the entire amount is taken for them to work, and if that were the case with their prescriptions, I would let them know they needed to take all the medication to see results. If that wasn’t the case, and the store policy allowed for a refund, I would let them know I was sorry the medicine didn’t work for them and immediately issue a refund.”

Q:

You’re out of stock on medication for a customer who is extremely difficult. How would you explain the situation to the patient?

A:

Pharmacists have to deal with all types of people. This question will let you know if they are capable of handling the different personalities they will encounter on the job.

What to look for:

  • Applicants ability to interact with difficult patients
  • Ability to diffuse potentially volatile situations
  • Problem solving

Example:


“Instead of waiting for the patient to come into the pharmacy, I would call them and let them know their medication is out of stock, we are ordering some more immediately and that I was sorry for any inconvenience this would bring. The goal with the phone call is to get ahead of the situation and prevent an in-store confrontation.”

Q:

What do you think is the most important business aspect of being a pharmacist?

A:

While pharmacy is about helping patients, it’s still a business. This question gives the candidate an opportunity to explain more broadly how they think about the business of pharmacy.

What to look for:

  • Understanding pharmacists’ other responsibilities
  • See if applicants are a good fit for your pharmacy
  • Can they bring value to the business

Example:


Providing great patient care is probably the best thing you can do for the business side of pharmacy. Patients who feel they receive great care and have a pharmacist who is knowledgeable and cares about them individually will continue to frequent that pharmacy.

Q:

A customer experiences worsening side effects in response to a prescription. What do you suggest to them?

A:

Pharmacists interact with customers on a daily basis and regularly receive questions from customers regarding their medications. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's ability to communicate with customers about their ailments. It also highlights their concern for customers and gives interviewers the opportunity to see how a candidate would react if a customer experienced severe symptoms to medications.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Medical expertise
  • Compassion for customers
  • Knowledge of pharmaceutical drugs

Here's an example of what a good answer to this question could look like:

Example:

"No matter what their symptoms are, the first thing I would suggest is to contact their doctor as soon as they can. I would say this as a precaution, in case they have an allergic reaction to the medication or need a different dosage. I would also instruct them to refrain from certain activities until they can speak with their doctor. For example, if they experience drowsiness, they need to refrain from driving a vehicle or operating potentially dangerous machinery."

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