How to prepare for a Pharmacy interview

Interviews are daunting. We’ve all been there — you spend hours Googling potential questions and perfecting your answers. Shortly after…

Interviews are daunting. We’ve all been there — you spend hours Googling potential questions and perfecting your answers. Shortly after arriving you are called in to sit on what can only be described as the a chair taken from Guantanamo Bay. After what feels like an eternity you leave the interview feeling annoyed with yourself for slipping up on some questions which ultimately lost you the job. You suffered “The Gerrard Effect”.

With the recent change in hospital pre-registration placements, it has never been more important to get your interview preparation right to secure your preferred destination. Below I’ve outlined my approach to interviews.

Point 1: Know yourself and the role specification inside out

The interviewer wants to know who you are and how you fit the role. That means you need to be able to articulate and present yourself in the best possible light. To understand the role, network and speak to current and former pre-registration students.

Point 2: Research the organisation thoroughly

Research all things possible in the last 6–12 months about the firm and identify their keywords (and know what they mean). So for pre-registration it’d be words such as patient-centred care, SCR, Fraser Guidelines, medicines reconciliation etc. Has the organisation won an award recently? Have they recently come in the news for a project?

Knowing answers to points 1 and 2 will help, should the interviewer throw a curve ball question. You’re already half prepared, now all you need to work out is what are they actually asking for then slip in a few buzzwords where appropriate!

So how do you actually prepare for the questions?

Point 3: The 3 document plan

For every interview I prepare three documents:

  1. A pre-prepared question and answer sheet using examples presented in the STAR format. The questions are derived from the competencies in the role description (and a few from researching) and I try to have 2 examples per competency and explain my role in the task/example. This helps me know myself (Point 1) and allows me to relate my examples to the role specification.

  2. An organisation factsheet with all the information from my research in an organised manner (Point 2).

  3. A market landscape of where the organisation fits in and the space within the market it has occupied. For example, Guys and St Thomas’ hospital has a brand new, state of the art cancer department. How does this department fit within the UK cancer units (Point 2)?

Thank you for reading. Hope this helps and best of luck for your interviews!

This article was written to feature on the British Pharmaceutical Student’s Association (BPSA) Website as part of their articles on the pre-registration programme.

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