Woman in white lab coat standing in front of shelves with pharmaceutical products
Graphic that shows three different types of interview questions you should be asking.

Use these questions to identify a candidate’s technical knowledge and abilities

Use these questions to determine how a candidate handled situations in the past

Use these questions to assess a candidate’s personal traits and cognitive skills

Why this matters

Physician-issued scripts, inventory information, and medication specifics are typically transmitted and stored digitally, within pharmacy management software—so it’s important to know how comfortable your candidate is with key systems.

What to listen for

  • An overall degree of comfort with technology.
  • Familiarity with the systems you use—or their equivalent.
  • Over-reliance on pen-and-paper could indicate a lack of technical savvy.

Why this matters

Both patients and physicians rely on pharmacists to impart crucial information that both ensures drug safety—and optimizes effectiveness. A great candidate can translate their understanding of the major classes of medications into describing typical directives, warnings, and key educational pointers.

What to listen for

  • Answers should demonstrate that the candidate understands current pharmacology.
  • Candidates may mention providing appropriate literature, sharing dosage information, providing information regarding side effects, and managing drug interactions.

Why this matters

Beyond being a skilled healthcare professional, a pharmacist’s role is often to sell. As the key contact point for both patients and physicians, your pharmacist is likely the best person to drive revenue. A strong pharmacist can lead their team to suggest over-the-counter products and therapies that can alleviate and address key health concerns.

What to listen for

  • A top candidate will possess business savvy—and freely acknowledge sales goals as a crucial part of their job.
  • Suggested tactics for boosting revenue, such as increasing patient education through flyers, posters, and conversations.
  • Proven results in a prior role are a plus.

Why this matters

A pharmacist is typically one of the more senior members on a pharmacy team, overseeing pharmacy technicians and other employees. The ideal candidate is a collaborative, confident, and communicative leader—one who values other inputs and empowers team members to perform their roles.

What to listen for

  • A good answer may touch on supporting other team members and listening to their ideas.
  • Strong track record of management experience is a plus.

Why this matters

At any given time, a pharmacist may be pulled in multiple directions—assisting with patient inquiries, speaking with healthcare professionals, and helping pharmacy technicians and junior staff members. Working in a pressure-filled environment is in the job description, so strong candidates should be able to juggle multiple responsibilities and consistently deliver high-quality work.

What to listen for

  • An ability to maintain accuracy, prioritize customer service, and manage their stress levels at work.
  • Vague answers may indicate that a candidate does not handle stress well.

Why this matters

When newly minted, pharmacists promise to uphold ethical values, protect sensitive patient information, and adhere to a strict code of conduct. You’ll want to ensure that whoever joins your team follows these standards at all times. This question tests the candidate’s ethical sensibilities to make sure you won’t run into any trouble.

What to listen for

  • The question calls for a thoughtful, nuanced, and balanced answer.
  • Whether the candidate did the right thing while sidestepping diplomacy issues—and how.

Why this matters

Pharmacists deal in matters of patient health and safety, so they need strong communication skills to convey the right information, give the right directives to patients, answer complex questions, and more. Additionally, strong communication helps pharmacists to effectively lead.

What to listen for

  • An understanding of the importance of communication—both written and verbal.
  • Clear articulation and explanations.

Why this matters

Values drive thought and action—so it’s important to know which ones make this candidate tick. In the long run, a strong value match with your organization will increase your new hire’s engagement and retention.

What to listen for

  • Values that align with your organization’s mission and priorities—and those of your customers.
  • Top answers may mention a commitment to doing what’s best for the patient to protect and improve their health.

Why this matters

Passion for the job is important. What makes a candidate tick? Is it helping patients? Being technically strong? Have they earned their previous workplace an award or recognition? This question will help you determine where they find the most fulfilment in their work.

What to listen for

  • Candidates should know what they can bring to the table.
  • While candidates may need a moment to reflect before answering, a vague answer here is a potential red flag.