Pharmacy School Interview Questions: What You Need to Know
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Pharmacy School Interview Questions: What You Need to Know

April 3, 2024

The main goal of a pharmacy school interview is to get to know the candidate better. Interviewers are trying to learn why a candidate wants to pursue a career in pharmacy. According to Essie Samuel, PharmD, BCPS, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at PCOM School of Pharmacy and member of numerous interview panels, they are also exploring motivating factors, career aspirations and a candidate’s strengths.

Essie Samuel, PharmD, BCPS
Essie Samuel, PharmD, BCPS

“The questions asked during the interview help the interviewer understand if the candidate is a well-rounded individual and is not only strong academically, but also in other areas through involvement in extracurriculars and leadership,” Samuel said.

At PCOM School of Pharmacy, interview day includes a campus tour, lunch and the formal interview. The interview typically involves meeting with two faculty members and/or administrators. The first question, Samuel explained, serves as an icebreaker. The interviewers ask the candidate to talk about their background.

“The goal is for a quick introduction and to get to know the candidate a little better before jumping into formal questions,” she said. “This is usually followed up by the interviewers also giving a brief introduction about themselves. This helps break the ice and candidates usually feel more at ease at this point.”

Once the introductions are complete, interviewers may ask some common pharmacy school interview questions such as:

  • Why do you want to pursue a career as a pharmacist? - This question, Samuel explained, allows interviewers to learn why a candidate is passionate about the field of pharmacy. “It is an opportunity for the candidate to give us an insight into their background and what led them to pursue a career in the field of pharmacy,” she said.
  • What is one of your strengths and what is an area of improvement? - “Interviewers can better understand a candidate’s personality and working style through hearing them describe their strengths/weaknesses,” Samuel said.
  • Do you have any questions for us? - Asking this question allows candidates to show their interest in the program by asking thoughtful questions. “Candidates can stand out by having done prior research on the school/program,” Samuel added.

Scenario-based questions are also common according to Samuel.

“Candidates can be given situational interview questions such as a scenario involving conflict with a colleague and be asked on how they will handle it,” she said. “Interviewers are looking for maturity and the ability to deal with conflict while maintaining a respectful environment.”

Maturity, she added, is the most important trait interviewers are looking for during the interview.

How to Prepare for a Pharmacy School Interview

Samuel’s advice for pharmacy school candidates consists of three main recommendations:

  1. Dress professionally - “A business suit would be the best choice with dress shoes,” she said. “Candidates can carry a portfolio case with a notepad to jot down notes throughout the interview. The notepad can also have questions for the interviewers written down ahead of time.”
  2. Do your research - Researching the program ahead of the interview will help the candidate stand out from other candidates and let the program know that you are genuinely interested in them, Samuel advised.
  3. Practice answering common pharmacy school interview questions - “Review common interview questions such as the ones listed here and practice how you would answer these common questions,” she said. “However, don’t memorize the answers because it would not seem natural during the interview.’

And while the thought of participating in a high stakes interview may cause apprehension or uncertainty for a candidate, Samuel has words of encouragement.

“It is normal to be a bit nervous about the interview but practicing questions ahead of time will help ease some jitters,” she said.

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