Interview tips

cy19861126

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    Hi all,

    I checked the FAQ page and it did not really say anything about the interview tips. I've already interviewed with two schools and they both rejected me, so I am here to inquire about the interview tips because I am really nervous about the third one coming up.

    Generally, were your interviews more like a conversation, or question then answer? By question and answer, I mean that the interviewer asks you a question, and you answer it with a say, 3 minute speech. Should I prepare for the interview, or should I just chill? Should I look at the interview feedback at SDN and "write" down my answers, or should I just skim over it and know what to expect? For those who got in, please tell me how you prepare and did on the interview. I read numerous interview guides, but they are providing too much information and thus confusing me

    Thank you very much
     

    chibipinkbunny

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      I interviewed at UCSF and UCSD last year, and I am currently a first year pharmacy student at UCSF so I'll tell you what I did. Keep in mind that this was my first round of applications so I really didn't think I'd get in ^_^' I read the interview feedback for the two schools, copied down about 40 questions, and then wrote 3-4 sentence answers for each question. I really thought about a lot of these answers too. As it turned out, about 80-90 percent of the interview questions were some form of the ones that I had prepared for. My mom asked me some of the questions so that I could practice. I didn't sound rehearsed at all when it came time for the interview. I knew my answers, and a lot of feeling came out when I was answering the questions too. I also made sure to be myself; a refined version of myself that is :p That was my first time interviewing so. . . . yep that's what worked for me. Good luck in the future!
       
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      FLPharm2Be

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        I prepared in a similar fashion. I searched for questions listed on sdn and approached the pre-pharm club adviser for typical interview questions. I practiced in front of a mirror by myself and I did a mock interview. My interview was pretty much question and answer. Make sure to get plenty of sleep (if you can) and talk to the other interviewees in your group, that really helps diffuse the stress. Always remember you are being judged from the moment you walk into the admissions office and everyone you speak to (even if not formal) can potentially contribute to your acceptance/rejection. Be on your A-game from the moment you walk on campus until you walk off. :)
         

        chibipinkbunny

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          Was your interview more like a conversational type or question and answer?

          In both of them it was kind of like a mix, but I felt that it was more question and answer. They would ask me a question and I would answer, but at times I would ask them a question right back. Sometimes they would ask me a question in the middle of things I was talking about. UCSF was very structured, and it does depend on who is interviewing you too. Hmmm, looking back on it, I guess it was kind of conversational, but I don't have conversations like that often ^_^' A conversation that I have with a friend is a lot more give and take then the interview process. I guess by conversational, they want you to act dynamic. They want you to respond to things naturally, and not just come off a robot who simply answers questions. I mean in essence they really do want to have a conversation with you, but in most conversations the other person isn't asking you tons of questions. Hope that helps some!
           

          pharmacia07

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            If I were to interview and I ask the following question...so have you had any pharmacy experience or work in a pharmacy before? and the students were to answer such as such, like , "I started volunteering a few months ago or I have had some volunteering experience or 3) I worked in a pharmacy for less than a year etc....what do you think I am thinking or most likely will say??

            a) You don't deserve to be accepted
            b) You are not ready for pharmacy school
            c) You need more pharmacy experiences
            d) You are not qualified as a first year
            e) ALL OF THE ABOVE
             

            chibipinkbunny

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              If I were to interview and I ask the following question...so have you had any pharmacy experience or work in a pharmacy before? and the students were to answer such as such, like , "I started volunteering a few months ago or I have had some volunteering experience or 3) I worked in a pharmacy for less than a year etc....what do you think I am thinking or most likely will say??

              a) You don't deserve to be accepted
              b) You are not ready for pharmacy school
              c) You need more pharmacy experiences
              d) You are not qualified as a first year
              e) ALL OF THE ABOVE

              Lol, guess I got lucky that you weren't my interviewer :laugh:
               

              andrewattheU

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                If I were to interview and I ask the following question...so have you had any pharmacy experience or work in a pharmacy before? and the students were to answer such as such, like , "I started volunteering a few months ago or I have had some volunteering experience or 3) I worked in a pharmacy for less than a year etc....what do you think I am thinking or most likely will say??

                a) You don't deserve to be accepted
                b) You are not ready for pharmacy school
                c) You need more pharmacy experiences
                d) You are not qualified as a first year
                e) ALL OF THE ABOVE


                This is also a reason you are not an interviewer as most applicants even those accepted don't have over a year of experience in pharmacy
                 

                pharmacogenomic

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                  OK - I do!

                  cy - looking back, what is your feeling about what went wrong in the interviews for those schools who rejected you?

                  One of the best ways to proceed in most any profession & certainly as a pharmacist is to be able to self-evaluate. Critically, what were your strengths & what were your weaknesses during these interviews. If you can't find that yourself, then I'd ask for feedback from the schools. Sometimes they'll give it to you.

                  As to pharmacia07 tips, I'd have to agree, altho I'd have to expand on the why.

                  You can either just answer a question, as pharmacia presented. Or, you can answer the question, which might be an inadequate answer, but expand on what you are looking at doing in the future to involve yourself & participate in the profession. For example, I started volunteering a few months ago and I've had the opportunity to observe the variety & many ways the pharmacists become involved in patients conditions. I'd like the opportunity to........etc.....

                  Be very, very prepared for the question of what you see yourself doing in 5-10 years...or something very much like that. Please, don't focus on making money - don't talk about money!

                  Think about what pharmaceutical care is - why we do it. Look into what the school's mission statement says & work to turn that around into what your view of pharmaceutical care is. (Do you kow what pharmaceutical care is - look it up, if not.)

                  Also, be prepared to speak about a passion or group who you think might be underserved pharmaceutically. This could be drug/ETOH abusers, nicotine addiction, teenagers & drugs/mental health/sexuality, mental health in general, immigrants who don't know our healthcare system, the elderly, the homeless.....any group. Give an example which you can relate to or feel strongly enough about which you can converse easily and openly as a possible way to focus or direct your career. No one is asking you to decide that prior to being accepted, but the fact you have thought about it speaks volumes about how much time you've given to thinking about becoming a pharmacist.

                  Schools don't want to pump out pharmacists who will only look to get the next paycheck - the academicians really do want you to become participants in moving the profession forward.

                  So - when asked a question....they are looking not just for a "correct" answer since yours & mine will be different. They are looking to find out who you are, what you can contribute.

                  I must confess & get down to some nitty gritty & some might be offended details - they want to see how well you communicate. Your command of English must be excellent. Pharmacy is a profession which is tied hip-to-hip with communication - to the extent, to even pass the boards in my state, you must pass a test of English proficiency - everyone - even native born Americans.

                  You need to appear confident, pleasant, enthusiastic & willing to learn.

                  As a previous poster mentioned - get someone who will be critical of you to practice with. For some it is moms (I was my daughter's "interviewer" like the poster), but some moms can't be critical (her dad can't be critical - he thinks she's perfect.) But, find that person who will tell you critically how you look, how you sound, if you come accross arrogant or timid, if your English phrasing is poor or you speak too fast or slow, too loud or too quiet.

                  Physically, be well groomed, keep your hair back - we want to see your eyes, keep the cologne at home & don't bring your backpack!

                  Good luck on your next interview!
                   
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                  Hels2007

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                    Pharmacogenomics has posted some great advice here. To add, I would suggest practicing with someone who has experience with interviewing rather than a friend - maybe a career counselor, maybe a professor/advisor who would be willing to do it with you. I used to run my thoughts on the application essay questions by my advisor - he would have great insight into whether I was reading into the question right.

                    A book on interviewing may be helfpul - I only know the one APhA publishes, the Pharmacy Professional's Guide to Interviewing, but I read it on the airplane to Midyear and I remember thinking it was useful. It helps to think through the answers. Also, try to taylor your answers to what you feel from previous conversation would be important to the interviewer. We are all human, we all have our favorite soapboxes, and it will help to make for a personal connection between the two (or more) of you.

                    I would also suggest being enthusiastic and smiley, but if it is not your personality, then it's not a good idea. One thing to avoid during interviews is to avoid seeming like you pretend to be something else. There is no bigger turn-off for me that insincere, artificial feel - I shot down a couple candidates on that alone (and my school did listen to student interviewer's opinions - I had 100% track record - though I only interviewed a small number of candidates).
                     

                    CaliCPhT

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                      Hi all,

                      I checked the FAQ page and it did not really say anything about the interview tips. I've already interviewed with two schools and they both rejected me, so I am here to inquire about the interview tips because I am really nervous about the third one coming up.

                      Generally, were your interviews more like a conversation, or question then answer? By question and answer, I mean that the interviewer asks you a question, and you answer it with a say, 3 minute speech. Should I prepare for the interview, or should I just chill? Should I look at the interview feedback at SDN and "write" down my answers, or should I just skim over it and know what to expect? For those who got in, please tell me how you prepare and did on the interview. I read numerous interview guides, but they are providing too much information and thus confusing me

                      Thank you very much

                      CY, I think chibipinkbunny (and others) offered some useful tips about researching the schools you're applying to, checking the SDN interview feedback, etc. Quite possibly, the best advice I could give you is be yourself, answer questions honestly, act genuinely excited to be there. I think that getting invitations for 3 interviews says something about you. The interview is your chance to sell yourself to the school, to make them think that they can not begin the next years' class without you being in there. Do your best to relax (as much as possible) -- I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Your interviewer(s) do not want to see you fumble or fail in your interview, and each person interviewing you has been in your shoes before. The interviewers are nervous too, maybe even as nervous as you!! Seriously.

                      If you're a coffee drinker, have your morning cup, but don't overdo it on the coffee. It will make you even more jittery. Try 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf, so you get a little caffeine jolt but not too much.

                      I think it's also important to ask a few questions of the interviewers to show that you're really interested in going to school there. Read about the school and ask something that's not entirely pharmacy related, but make sure that you ask at least 2 or 3 questions about the program.

                      Good luck on your next interview!!! let us know how it turns out.
                       

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                        CY, I think chibipinkbunny (and others) offered some useful tips about researching the schools you're applying to, checking the SDN interview feedback, etc. Quite possibly, the best advice I could give you is be yourself, answer questions honestly, act genuinely excited to be there. I think that getting invitations for 3 interviews says something about you. The interview is your chance to sell yourself to the school, to make them think that they can not begin the next years' class without you being in there. Do your best to relax (as much as possible) -- I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Your interviewer(s) do not want to see you fumble or fail in your interview, and each person interviewing you has been in your shoes before. The interviewers are nervous too, maybe even as nervous as you!! Seriously.

                        If you're a coffee drinker, have your morning cup, but don't overdo it on the coffee. It will make you even more jittery. Try 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf, so you get a little caffeine jolt but not too much.

                        I think it's also important to ask a few questions of the interviewers to show that you're really interested in going to school there. Read about the school and ask something that's not entirely pharmacy related, but make sure that you ask at least 2 or 3 questions about the program.

                        Good luck on your next interview!!! let us know how it turns out.


                        Hey, CaliCphT !

                        What a great post ! I really enjoy reading your responses, you are always so wise:) I never even thought that inteviewes may be nervous themselves. That's a great point. Also thanks for the good advice about the coffee - I am addicted and drink 4-5 medium cups a day - no wonder I am always shaking.
                         

                        CaliCPhT

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                          Hey, CaliCphT !

                          What a great post ! I really enjoy reading your responses, you are always so wise:) I never even thought that inteviewes may be nervous themselves. That's a great point. Also thanks for the good advice about the coffee - I am addicted and drink 4-5 medium cups a day - no wonder I am always shaking.

                          Hey thanks! What kind words! :) I have had experience conducting interviews. While I enjoy them now, I remember my first few interviews. I was so nervous!! So I can totally relate to interview jitters on both sides. After I got more experience with interviews, I was able to be a lot more patient and understanding of the person being interviewed.
                           

                          chibipinkbunny

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                            Your looks in pharmacy does make a lot of difference.

                            Well, if looks in pharmacy matter so much - I should get into UCSF no problem. I am Russian afterall:):rolleyes:

                            Lol, you know its kind of funny because there are a lot of attractive female pharmacists in my P1 class at UCSF. I don't know if looks make a difference or not, but it sure was coincidental. :rolleyes:
                             

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                              Lol, you know its kind of funny because there are a lot of attractive female pharmacists in my P1 class at UCSF. I don't know if looks make a difference or not, but it sure was coincidental. :rolleyes:


                              He-he-he, actually you guys have plenty of super hot guys at UCSF too. I don't know if you know there is this one student- I think he is a med student - he's always studying on the 3rd or 2nd floor of th library - a super tall blond guy with blue eyes. Man, I have a boyfriend but I'd sell my soul to the devil if I could go out on the date with him. :)
                               
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