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Interview Pointers

iwannabpharmer

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I'm sure this question has been asked before numerous times. But could any successful interviewers, pharm students, etc. give any pointers for a good interview? Is it okay to say "when I become a pharmacist" or is that too... presumptuous? My academic stats aren't that great - and I am an "older" student (7 years post B.S.) who has been working in the pharmacy for 3 years. I guess I am also wondering how honest can you be at the interviews (i.e. I had no clue what I wanted to do, until I worked at the pharmacy) - what can we share? I am also heavily involved in my church, as a mentor to high school students. Is that something I should mention? Sorry, if my questions seem too basic. I'm just so nervous.:scared:
 

Farmercyst

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I'm sure this question has been asked before numerous times. But could any successful interviewers, pharm students, etc. give any pointers for a good interview? Is it okay to say "when I become a pharmacist" or is that too... presumptuous? My academic stats aren't that great - and I am an "older" student (7 years post B.S.) who has been working in the pharmacy for 3 years. I guess I am also wondering how honest can you be at the interviews (i.e. I had no clue what I wanted to do, until I worked at the pharmacy) - what can we share? I am also heavily involved in my church, as a mentor to high school students. Is that something I should mention? Sorry, if my questions seem too basic. I'm just so nervous.:scared:

I understand it's easier to have all your questions answered on your own thread, but the answers are out there if you look for them. I'd suggest "Interview Blunders" for your first question. I can't say I've been successful yet since I've interviewed twice and still no acceptance. "When" is not too presumptuous. It shows you're dedicated. ("No matter what" mentality) "Non-trads", the older wiser crowd, make great pharm students, so don't sweat the small stuff. How else were you supposed to know you wanted to work in a pharmacy until you did? (Ok some people do, but not everyone is willing to put their heart and soul into something they've never tried.) They can't fault you for that. Definitely mention all the volunteer stuff you do, no matter where. Church, mentoring, it's all good. Just be honest and straightforward about it.
 

iwannabpharmer

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:) thank you - farmer. i am already sweating buckets and i can be found "talking to myself" to practice speaking.

i'm realizing more and more it's to be prepared for anything. and depending on which way the interviewer wants to take you (i.e. talk about school, talk about work, etc) - just be ready and converse.

are there particular personalities that are not good? i think being loud may not be good. but being too quiet is not good, also. it's a fine balance.
 
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Farmercyst

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:) thank you - farmer. i am already sweating buckets and i can be found "talking to myself" to practice speaking.

i'm realizing more and more it's to be prepared for anything. and depending on which way the interviewer wants to take you (i.e. talk about school, talk about work, etc) - just be ready and converse.

are there particular personalities that are not good? i think being loud may not be good. but being too quiet is not good, also. it's a fine balance.

For interviews the worst I'd say is the shy person who doesn't really like talking about themselves. Overly humble I like to call it, because it' not that they don't know enough or have a high enough self-esteem, but it feels like when they talk about themselves they feel like the guy who talks about him/herself all the time that everyone else is annoyed with because they're so egocentric they can't stand the sound of anyone's voice but their own. But that's because that's how I am, and I feel I do very poorly at interviews. I can talk about the fam/kids/school all day. I just hate talking about my accomplishments, service, hard classes, GPA, etc. It's why I'm there, it just seems so fake and self-promoting it's sickening to think about.
 

piyi

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That's what I hate about interviews is that they're so artificial. It's like I wish the "interview" day would really be like a "conversation" day (as someone had previously posted on some other thread); I wish the interviewer(s) and interviewees would just sit in a room with a lot of other people who are also being interviewed in their own interviewer/interviewee group, and just talk about stuff. Over at USN, right before the interviews, most of the students got together in the student commons and everyone was talking to each other, and I wish that was the interview. I was still nervous, 'cause I was thinking about the interview, but I just got so much more nervous when they called me over to do the actual interview; it was in closed room, and all formal and everything. I was real difficult to relax and be myself. Oh well, what's done is done. I can only hope that one day, maybe some schools will have more natural interviews.
 

LECOMorBUST

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I can talk about the fam/kids/school all day. I just hate talking about my accomplishments, service, hard classes, GPA, etc. It's why I'm there, it just seems so fake and self-promoting it's sickening to think about.


I could not agree more, but this is the game we must play, we are sales reps. selling a product, ourselves.


That's why Public Speaking is required.
 

iwannabpharmer

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Is it best to be specific or general about why I want to be a pharmacist? For instance, I want to help people - and a pharmacist is the most accessible health professional. Or specific such as - how proton pump inhibitors work intrigue me. :D I am a tech, but I have moved out of the pharmacy, and work in pharmacy technology development. Does this hurt or help?
 

SCCpharm

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Hopefully you are not applying to midwestern, otherwise you'll be my competition, but here are some tips I got from reading a few interview books.

One question that will most likely be asked is something dealing with your strengths or what characteristics you have. So, start listing traits that you have and that successful pharmacists have. For example, you might be reliable, have honesty/integrity, compassionate, have professionalism, hard working, etc. Now think of a specific example that proves that you are this type of person. During the interview, tell them your story and they'll be more likely to believe you as they have a concrete example.

I think, in this case, your examples of mentoring high school students and being involved in church are really strong points for you. As a respected pharmacist, you will be looked at as leader by others around you and as a good pharmacist, you should have a good moral foundation to base your decisions on. So those two examples can help prove that you can become a good pharmacist.

One thing in the interview books that I read that interested me is that all of them talked about body language and appearance as being very important. Make sure you are dressed very professional/conservative. Also, during the interview, avoid doing any nervous gestures, like touching your face before you answer a questions. Supposedly, people are less likely to believe you if you do this. But one of the books says "Subtly exposing your palms now and then as you speak can help demonstrate that you are open, friendly, and have nothing to hide. (This technique is used to great effect by many politicians and television talk show hosts; watch for it). Dont cross your arms, legs, or feet during the interview. Make sure to keep good eye contact with the interviewers.


Also, make sure to read up on the school beforehand. Write some questions down that you want to ask. Showing that you are knowledgable about the school and interested in the school is big plus, imo. Finally, make sure you tell them that you are interested in the school and really want to be admitted. Don't assume that they know. Don't forget to write a thank you letter for their time afterwards.

Two good books I found at the library were: "Knock 'em Dead 2004: great answers to over 200 tough interview questions - plus the latest electronic job search strategies." by Martin Yate and "Brilliant Interview" by Ros Jay.
 

bamboo511

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Hopefully you are not applying to midwestern, otherwise you'll be my competition, but here are some tips I got from reading a few interview books.

One question that will most likely be asked is something dealing with your strengths or what characteristics you have. So, start listing traits that you have and that successful pharmacists have. For example, you might be reliable, have honesty/integrity, compassionate, have professionalism, hard working, etc. Now think of a specific example that proves that you are this type of person. During the interview, tell them your story and they'll be more likely to believe you as they have a concrete example.

I think, in this case, your examples of mentoring high school students and being involved in church are really strong points for you. As a respected pharmacist, you will be looked at as leader by others around you and as a good pharmacist, you should have a good moral foundation to base your decisions on. So those two examples can help prove that you can become a good pharmacist.

One thing in the interview books that I read that interested me is that all of them talked about body language and appearance as being very important. Make sure you are dressed very professional/conservative. Also, during the interview, avoid doing any nervous gestures, like touching your face before you answer a questions. Supposedly, people are less likely to believe you if you do this. But one of the books says "Subtly exposing your palms now and then as you speak can help demonstrate that you are open, friendly, and have nothing to hide. (This technique is used to great effect by many politicians and television talk show hosts; watch for it). Dont cross your arms, legs, or feet during the interview. Make sure to keep good eye contact with the interviewers.


Also, make sure to read up on the school beforehand. Write some questions down that you want to ask. Showing that you are knowledgable about the school and interested in the school is big plus, imo. Finally, make sure you tell them that you are interested in the school and really want to be admitted. Don't assume that they know. Don't forget to write a thank you letter for their time afterwards.

Two good books I found at the library were: "Knock 'em Dead 2004: great answers to over 200 tough interview questions - plus the latest electronic job search strategies." by Martin Yate and "Brilliant Interview" by Ros Jay.

Your post is sooooooooooooooo helpful, thanx for the points you mentioned, i didn't apply to Western so i'm not a competition, lol.
 

h2oisgood4u

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the interview is a stressful time, but my biggest tip is to be confident (or pretend to be :D). by practicing, reading over you apps, and researching the school, you will be more prepared and confident during the interview. check whether or not your interivew will be open-file. if it's open-file, they'l'l probably ask questions about your app. if not, then you should be prepared to talk alot about your accomplishments and work because the interviewers won't know anything about you. you also don't want to sound rehearsed when you're giving your answer! also be prepared to think on your feet. don't say negative things like, "i didn't like my school or i hated that professor!" always turn things around, so they sound positive. ummm...you should also stand by your answers. don't change them to just agree with the interviewers. dress professionally when you go to your interview. give a firm handshake and smile when you're greeting the interviewers.

for the interviews that i have been on, they have been of a conversational style. the interviewers just wanted to know more about me. try not to stress out too much (i know, easier said than done). if you practice and be yourself, you should be fine.

some potential questions:
-Why pharmacy?
-Tell me about yourself.
-Why do you want to come here?
-What are your strengths/weaknesses (turn the weakness into a positive thing, like you learned from it and have improved upon it)
-Have you done any community service?
-What were your favorite and least favorite classes?
-How have you prepared yourself for pharmacy school?
-Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
-Why should we choose you over another applicant?
-Tell me 3 words that would best describe you?
-What qualities do you see are needed for an exceptional pharmacist?
-If you saw another student cheating, what would you do?
-What has been your exposure to the field of pharmacy?
-What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
-Any questions? (they'll most likely ask you this at the end. be prepared with some questions. ask them even if you know the answer. you'll look more interested in their program. you can ask anything here...i asked about their research opportunities because i talked about my research experience during the undergrad)

good luck!
 

iwannabpharmer

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is it ok to be extremely thankful for the chance to interview? because i am!!!! =) i am SOOOOOO thankful. i was so ecstatic that i got an interview, if i get in - i could imagine what i will do. probably faint, cry, run around shrieking - or all of the above. =)

so, is it okay to tell them how thankful you are for coming to interview? and to mention it before and after?

my interview is a month away and i am so... NERVOUS AND EXCITED. =)
 

Farmercyst

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is it ok to be extremely thankful for the chance to interview? because i am!!!! =) i am SOOOOOO thankful. i was so ecstatic that i got an interview, if i get in - i could imagine what i will do. probably faint, cry, run around shrieking - or all of the above. =)

so, is it okay to tell them how thankful you are for coming to interview? and to mention it before and after?

my interview is a month away and i am so... NERVOUS AND EXCITED. =)

I would express gratitude, but not to the point they think you were desperate to get anything.
 

doublehh03

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is it ok to be extremely thankful for the chance to interview? because i am!!!! =) i am SOOOOOO thankful. i was so ecstatic that i got an interview, if i get in - i could imagine what i will do. probably faint, cry, run around shrieking - or all of the above. =)

so, is it okay to tell them how thankful you are for coming to interview? and to mention it before and after?

my interview is a month away and i am so... NERVOUS AND EXCITED. =)

for all my interviews, i start out by saying "thank you for this invitation and i'm honored" then we go from there. it's fine.
 
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