General interviewing recommendations

Interviewing for success screenshot

Stacy Miller, Pharm.D., M.B.A., BCACP, an assistant dean and clinical assistant professor, shares her tips for interviewing success in this video. Her slides are available to download.

Video and phone interview best practices

The following guide, produced by ASHP, will provide insight into best practices of video and phone interviews, as well as, tips on do’s and don’ts during the interview. Download the full ASHP guide here.

ASHP interview tips

How to look good in Skype interviews

Answering questions

Your ability to answer questions clearly and thoughtfully represents an important part of any interview. Most interviewers rely on a series of questions to determine your suitability for a specific position. They will probably ask some questions related to the organization and the opportunity you seek. Other generic questions will probe your background, communication skills, and personal style.

Take time to think about the sample questions presented here, which are grouped by category. You may think you know your life history by heart, but details fade, and without careful reflection, people don’t always recognize their own accomplishments. Do not plan out meticulous answers to each question. Focus on questions most closely related to your qualifications and the type of position you seek. You can jot down thoughts and rehearse answers, but do not memorize your responses.

In all your responses, be brief—no more than 90 to 120 seconds, or a maximum of roughly 350 words. Use positive words and phrases, even when you are discussing difficult topics such as why you left a previous position. (For example, “I am seeking  more challenges,” not “I didn’t have enough responsibility” or “My boss was a jerk.”)  Keep your responses focused and give concrete examples of your successes. You can expect to receive questions like these:

  • What do you consider to be your most important idea or suggestion that your current employer implemented?
  • What career goals have you set for the future? Have these changed since you graduated?
  • How do you handle change at work?
  • How do you routinely communicate with your subordinates [superiors]?
  • Do you prefer to confront conflict or tactfully avoid it?

Reference this definitive list of interview questions you could receive.

Questioning the interviewer

Interviewers expect intelligent questions from successful candidates. The chance to ask questions generally occurs throughout the interview process, especially if the process is informal. Even in a formal interview process, an opportunity will arise when the interviewer invites questions. Make sure you ask questions relevant to the position. Before interviewing, prepare a written list of questions that you would like to have answered. You may choose to glance at the list during your interview session if you can’t remember specific questions. You may also ask the interviewer if he or she minds if you take notes. Be prepared to ask the interviewer questions like this:

  • How often do you conduct performance evaluations?
  • What attracted you to this organization?
  • How does management respond to staff ideas?
  • What pharmacists will I work with? Can I meet them?
  • What kinds of assignments should I anticipate during the first six months in the position?

Reference this list for more of the types of questions you should ask your interviewer.

Discriminatory questions you shouldn’t be asked

Federal laws do not permit discriminatory questions about your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, age, or disability. Although experienced interviewers do not usually ask illegal questions, inexperienced or improperly prepared interviewers might. You may choose to answer an illegal question if you think you can get by with an indirect response. For example, if asked about your plans for marriage you could say that you don’t intend for your personal life to interfere with your work performance. Or, you could ask the interviewer to explain how this information relates to the position, and then give a similar response. Depending on the circumstances, a direct response such as “I would rather not answer that question” may suffice. Federal laws consider the following sample questions illegal:

  • How old are you?
  • What is your native language?
  • What is your marital status?
  • Will your religion prevent you from working on Saturday or Sunday?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?

Reference this list for more questions you shouldn’t be asked.