Patient Centered Medical Home

Career Enhancement

The Interview

Throughout the job search process, you may encounter a variety in the number of interviews you have and how they are conducted. Regardless of the type of interview, it is best to prepare for an interview by reviewing any application documents including your CV/resume and cover letter/letter of intent. Furthermore, it is advantageous to explore the company or organization's website and social media accounts prior to your interview. If you are provided names of the people you are interviewing, research their background, if possible. 

Ultimately, the purpose of an interview is to find a job that will allow you to achieve your career goals in an organization that aligns with your personal values. We, along with Dr. Ashlee Kleven Hayes, suggest taking the time to outline your goals and values. For our pharmacy students, to learn more tips and tricks from Dr. Hayes regarding interview preparations and how to answer questions during interviews, visit the Kennedy Career Enhancement page within Blackboard. 

There are standard occurrences during every interview for which one should prepare. One of the most helpful pieces of advice we have received and share with everyone is to always prepare to answer these questions regardless of the position or type of interview:

  • Tell me about yourself/Describe yourself/How would those closest to you describe you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why should we select you for this role? 

For a more thorough list of frequently asked questions during interviews, click here. If you would like a word document version of this list so you can type up your own notes, please contact us.

Another standard occurrence during an interview is the expectation that the applicant may have questions for the company or organization. Through your research, you should be able to create specific questions. To help you begin, here is a list of questions that may be useful to ask at the end of an interview. 

After an interview, it is appropriate and acceptable to ask for feedback regarding your interview and their hiring decision. It is typically utilized when an applicant does not receive an offer for the position. This can help you continue to grow as a professional and will highlight what experiences to focus on during future interviews. To see examples of how to request feedback, click here. You may not receive a response when you reach out, but if you never ask you will never know. 

The drop-down boxes below provide information on different types of interviews, helpful hints, and additional resources.  

The best way to prepare for any type of interview is to practice...and practice. Mock interview sessions are available for UofSC College of Pharmacy Students. Schedule mock interview and feedback sessions with Pamela Hite at https://calendly.com/phite.

Alumni may also utilize mock interviews with Pamela Hite; please email phite@cop.sc.edu to learn more about mock interviews.

Our alumna, Dr. Erin Zee, provides insight into the benefit of mock interviews with Mrs. Hite below.

If you are searching for residency-specific interview tips, the Pre-Residency Track Blackboard page contains information about residency-specific mock interview opportunities and tips from our faculty. A current PGY1 resident shared her thoughts on virtual residency interviews in a video here. Another PGY1 resident shares her experience with residency interviews from the 2019-2020 residency match here that may provide helpful insights. Additionally, ASHP released this podcast episode which discusses virtual interviews and networking tips.

RESOURCES

Pharmacy Specific Interview Resources: 

General Interview Resources: Residency Interview Resources:
ACCP Top Tips for Virtual Interviews RxAshlee Blog Learning the Art of the Humble Brag  Podcast ASHP Student Perspectives- Virtual Interview and Networking Tips

How To Nail Your Interview, Dr. Ashlee Hayes

5 Biggest Interview Mistakes Interview Tips from a Current Resident, Dr. Mary Tremaine
Frequently Asked Interview Questions How to Blow Your Own Horn Without Embarrassment or Apology Interview Tips from a Current Resident, Dr. Erin Mays
Questions to Ask in an Interview Self Made Millennial YouTube Channel  
  How to Ask for Feedback  

 

If you find our resources helpful or have suggestions for additional resources to include, please let us know here.

TYPES OF INTERVIEWS

  • Informational Interview

    The objective of this interview is to ask for advice and learn more about a particular career field, employer, or a particular job.  Interviewing experts in their field is one more way to become more occupationally literate.  The knowledge that you gain here will make you a sharper and more informed.  You will also make a contact and further develop your network.

    This is helpful for students to conduct in order to learn more about potential career interests, and for practicing pharmacists who are seeking to transition into another field. As a pharmacist, you may be contacted by students who wish to conduct an informational interview with you. 

  • One on One

    This type of interview is most commonly expected when referring to the word "interview." While most people are familiar with this type, we offer a few simple tips. 

    Prepare to answer questions regarding who you are, your work experience, your qualifications, behavioral-based questions, and any other common type of question. 

    If you know who the interviewer is for your meeting, research if possible, who they are and what their role is within the company. 

    It is okay to break eye contact occasionally to avoid any staring contests.

    Avoid crossing your arms in the interview as it can make you appear closed off.  

  • Round Robin

    This type of interview will have multiple interviewers with typically just one applicant. 

    The interviewer(s) will typically ask a question, listen to your response, and then immediately ask the next question. There is little, if any, commentary provided about the response you provide. This is to keep interviews relatively similar between applicants, to see how an applicant performs under 'rapid-fire' questioning, and to provide the interviewer(s) the opportunity to ask more questions during the same amount of time. 

    These can be conducted in any format: phone, virtual, or in-person. 

  • Group Interview with Panel

    This type of interview consists of multiple applicants and multiple interviewers. Typically, each panelist will ask at least one question to the group of applicants. Helpful hints when in a group interview include:

    Make eye contact with the various interviewers and other applicants. 

    Listen to other applicants when they speak. Nodding while someone else is speaking can demonstrate that you are actively listening. 

    If you have a similar response to another applicant, you can reference their response. For example a response like, "Similar to Garnet Gamecock, I too was working on a group project when..." This demonstrates active listening as well. 

    Never interrupt another applicant or interviewer. 

    Be mindful of how long your responses are. While you want to communicate your responses, you do not want to take up so much time that other applicants can't answer at all. 

    Do not excessively fidget. It can distract the interviewers and other applicants when they are speaking. If you are someone who fidgets often, it is best to practice sitting relatively still for the interview period, or find small, non-distracting movements such as lightly tapping your leg. Interlocking your fingers, sitting in non-swivel chairs, and crossing your ankles can help to prevent common fidgeting movements.

    And please, do not fall asleep while other applicants are talking. (Yes, we have really seen this in our experience prior to pharmacy)

  • Phone Interview

    Phone interviews can be used as a way to gather more information regarding your eligibility including work experience details, ability to relocate, start date availability, etc. or they can be used as an alternative to in-person first-round interviews. 

    If an organization is conducting phone interviews to replace in-person interviews, it is best to prepare answers to 'typical' interview questions and behavioral-based interview questions such as those found here.

    If you are unsure of the purpose of the phone interview, prepare as if it is to replace an in-person interview. It is best to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

  • Virtual Interview

    Virtual interviews may include a 'panel' meaning more than one interviewer is in the virtual room with you, or it may be one on one. As these are a newer type of interview, the most abundant type of virtual interview is unknown. However, for all virtual interviews, there are some tips we can share to help you prepare.

    If you are unsure of the meeting technology (Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc.) don't hesitate to ask so you can test that system on your device in advance. We recommend that you test your technology with a colleague or friend to ensure it works! Use the exact device, headphones, camera, and microphone that you intend to use during the interview. 

    Ensure you have a professional background that is not distracting. Distracting items include bright colors, artwork, and other people (or pets) moving around. If you are struggling to find such a 'wall' to use as a background, you can try hanging a curtain or sheet that is a solid, muted color or apply a virtual background as long as you test it before using it. Sometimes virtual backgrounds can be distracting themselves because they appear to give people 'floating heads.' If a virtual background does that during your test run, it's best to avoid using it.

    Check the lighting. If your lighting is poor they may not be able to see you during the interview. Add lamps or ring lights as needed to ensure that the interviewer(s) can see your face/facial expressions to mimic an in-person interview. 

    If choosing to use any headphones, make sure you charge them before the interview. You don't want to be fidgeting with them when they die in the middle of the interview and pause your sentence or ask them to repeat themselves. 

    Unless the organization informs you differently, don't be afraid to make small talk before the interview begins if not all attendees are in the virtual meeting room yet. 

    On the actual interview day, dress head to toe in professional attire as you would for an in-person interview. This helps you 'dress for the job' and avoids any opportunity for interviewers to see less than professional clothes.

    Look at the webcam when speaking to mimic making eye contact with them. When you look at the individual's face on your device's screen it doesn't look like you're making eye contact with them.