20+ TOP Pharmacist Interview Questions & Answers
1. Why do you want to work here?
This question isn’t unique to just pharmacy-tech interviews. However, don’t answer with the first thing that comes to mind. Take some time, and research the company interviewing you. What are the company’s values? What is its mission? Tailor your answer to reflect the company. Use your answer to show your interest in the company, and explain why you’re a good fit for the job.
2. Why do you want to work at a pharmacy and not a health care facility?
In reality, you probably don’t care if you work at a pharmacy or health care facility, but don’t tell the interviewer this. Instead, focus on the positives of working at a pharmacy. Tell the interviewer you like face-to-face customer interaction or want to work directly dispensing medications. Keep it upbeat, and focus your answers on the benefits of pharmacy work.
3. How do you deal with difficult or aggressive customers?
The interviewer wants to know how you handle confrontation and stress. Don’t focus on the negatives of difficult customers. Instead, emphasize your problem solving and de-escalation skills.
4. What are your strengths as a professional pharmacist?
You can refer to either three main aspects of the job: drug management, customer management, and staff management.
Specify whether you are a team player who likes to work with and manage people, advising customers, or whether you prefer to work in the backroom. Describe any other qualities you possess, briefly sketching an example or two highlighting its application.
5. Describe the responsibilities of a pharmacist.
Refer to the responsibility of advising patients and physicians, verifying accuracy of prescription when in doubt, reviewing possible side effects, assigning correct dosage, recommending most suitable non-prescription drug and instructing patient regarding usage. A pharmacist can also warn the patient and physician regarding drug interactions.
6. Did you ever successfully combine business with the pharmacist’s profession?
Some pharmacists effectively manage a drug store, which requires not only familiarity with the drugs, but also business aptitude. If relevant, describe such experience: recruitment and management of pharmacist staff, acquiring of pharmaceuticals and non-pharmacist supplies, managing operations and administrative duties, etc.
7. What does a typical work week look like for you?
I work, on average 42 hours a week. That consists of one longer week and one shorter week. I work every other weekend and the weekend that I’m off I am off for a three day weekend so that includes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
8. How did you become a pharmacist or get started in this career?
I started in pharmacy because I knew a guy, who was very good friends with my grandfather, who owned his own pharmacy and I worked for him for a while. I really enjoyed the aspect of pharmacy where you interact with a lot of different people every day. You make some really genuine relationships with your patients and you have the ability to really get to know them and spend a lot of time and also make an impact on their healthcare. Also the pay is pretty decent too. And as far as Target specifically goes, when I was in pharmacy school I did a month long rotation in my fourth year of pharmacy school at a Target pharmacy and I really liked the atmosphere and culture of the company. So I interviewed with them at the job fair provided by my pharmacy school and got the job.
9. What do you like about what you do?
I really like interacting with my patients and getting a chance to get to know them. I enjoy talking with them and seeing them come back in over time. I see them when, for example, they start a family and their kids come in. I get to meet them and really establish a relationship. I kinda get to just sit back and talk to people all day long and that’s one thing I like about what I like to do.
10. What do you dislike about this job?
As a retail pharmacist you have to be there whenever somebody wants our services which includes having to work weekends and sometimes having to work later into the evening. So the long hours can be a little tough at times but that’s really the only thing.
How do you make money, or how are you compensated on this job.
I’m paid salary. I also get bonuses based on the measurable that’s determined by the company which includes, but not limited to, sales and inventory.
11. How much money do you make as a Target Pharmacist?
I started out at a salary of one hundred and fifteen thousand a year plus bonuses and after three years I’m up to a $129,000/year plus bonuses which could be between two and five percent.
12. What education or skills are needed to do this?
To be a pharmacist, you have to have a degree from a pharmacy school. The entry requirements to get into pharmacy school are 65 hours of specific undergraduate work and a four year pharmacy school program.
And then after you complete that program you have to be licensed in the state that you want to work in, which will require taking a test and passing a law exam.
13. What is most rewarding about this job?
I would say being able to make a noticeable impact on people’s healthcare.
14. What is most challenging about this job?
The most challenging thing about being a pharmacist is really just managing people who are not always in the best of moods. A lot of times we will see people when they are at their worst. They’re feeling bad, they’re sick, they’re impatient, and you just have to make sure that you’re always making them happy while doing what’s right for them.
15. What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Make sure that before you commit to going to six plus years of college and training to be in this career that you take the time to work in a pharmacy for more than a week. Don’t just shadow somebody one time and assume that that’s going to be good enough. Spend some actual time in a pharmacy so that you know what it’s going to be like for more than a week.
16. How much time off do you get or take each year?
Well with my schedule being not a normal schedule and working nights a weekends it makes it kinda nice. I get two weeks of vacation and four personal days a year. However with the kinda odd schedule where it’s not five sequential days of work you can take just a couple of a days off and be off for a whole week. So I probably wind up getting three to four weeks off a year.
17. What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
That’s easy. Everyone just assumes that the only thing you do in pharmacy is just count pills which is probably the least that I do. We have technicians who count the pills. I spend a lot more time dealing with problems such as incorrect prescriptions, unclear prescriptions*, dealing with insurance problems, etc. I also spend a lot of time really talking with people and making sure they understand their medications. So the common misconception is that we count pills but that’s the least common thing that I do.
*If a physician writes a prescription and they did not communicate all of the information as far as what we need to fill a prescription or they wrote a prescription for something that maybe the patient doesn’t really need.
18. What are your goals and dreams for the future in this career?
As a pharmacist, my goals were to establish a good practice where people trusted me and wanted to come back to me and make me their personal pharmacist, and I’ve achieved these goals. So now my new job or my new goals are to move up into a more managerial position like pharmacy district manager.
19. Brief the environment, where a pharmacy technician should perform?
Pharmacy technicians should perform in pretty organized, clean, well ventilated and lighted areas. Most of their working hours are hectic and busy, which requires them to remain alert at the time of preparing prescriptions and labeling them. Using stepladders in order to retrieve medicine boxes from upper shelves is a common job for them.
20. Why hospital pharmacy?
Recent interview I had, almost stumped me with this question. My answers for this were that I was interested in clinical pharmacy/academia and a hospital pharmacy job is a good base to start off with if you wanna head in that direction, and that I’d want to take the BCPS in a few years.
I wanted to answer with, “there is too much micromanagement in retail, companies asking you to do more with less (tech hours), companies pushing you about things like Extracare card scan rates, automatic refills, emphasis on speed, etc”.