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

Like many industries, the pharmaceutical industry uses industry-specific programs designed to streamline workflow, track inventory, coordinate with caregivers and insurance providers, and efficiently deliver customer prescriptions. Proficiency with industry-specific software means customers will most likely receive faster service.

What to listen for

  • Specific examples to pharmacy-specific software, ideally the solutions they’d be using on the job.
  • Demonstrated ease and proficiency with pharmacy-specific software.
  • Well-reasoned views on what works best, and why.

Why this matters

Incorrect dosages can have serious repercussions for patients. A pharmacy technician will have to draw on their knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology, and physiology to spot an incorrect dosage. They’ll also need to report the error to the pharmacist or other supervisor quickly and assist them in correcting the dosage with the prescribing caregiver.

What to listen for

  • How the candidate was able to spot the error and specific steps they took to correct it.
  • How they used this experience to prevent further errors.
  • A genuine commitment to doing what’s right by the patient.

Why this matters

The answer demonstrates the candidate’s knowledge of best practices regarding the job requirements—and demonstrates their proficiency in consulting a patient’s profile, procedures for scanning and counting medication, and checking for side effects or potentially dangerous drug combinations.

What to listen for

  • Strong product awareness.
  • An ability to reference specific steps and procedures.
  • An up-to-date understanding of industry best practices.

Why this matters

In addition to the required technical knowledge, a large part of a pharmacy technician’s job involves customer service. As such, interpersonal skills are every bit as important as their knowledge on how to mix, count, and distribute medications.

What to listen for

  • A demonstrated ability to defuse conflict and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • An ability to stay calm under pressure.
  • Top answers may mention proactively managing customer expectations, like providing an anticipated timeframe.

Why this matters

Having their insurance declined is likely to be frustrating and embarrassing for the customer—and can prevent them from receiving necessary medication. A good pharmacy technician candidate might try contacting the prescribing physician to amend the prescription to adhere to insurance guidelines.

What to listen for

  • Ability to solve problems in a tense situation.
  • What steps the pharmacy technician took to resolve the situation with minimal embarrassment and inconvenience to the customer.

Why this matters

It’s unfortunately a common experience for pharmacy technicians to encounter customers who try to obtain unauthorized medications without a proper prescription. It’s important that a pharmacy technician be able to recognize when a customer is trying to obtain controlled substances under nefarious circumstances.

What to listen for

  • Can the pharmacy technician recognize the signs of drug-seeking behavior?
  • Specific examples of how the pharmacy technician dealt with a drug-seeking customer.

Why this matters

In addition to helping customers, a pharmacy technician’s job description entails duties, like taking inventory or updating databases, that are crucial, but also repetitive and potentially tedious. A strong pharmacy technician can keep themselves motivated while performing any needed task.

What to listen for

  • Specific examples of instances where the candidate took on repetitive tasks and saw them through to completion.
  • An emphasis on seeing themselves as a team player, willing to pitch in where necessary to meet overall goals.

Why this matters

Pharmacists must be comfortable making real-time decisions about priorities when things get busy. To avoid sacrificing accuracy or customer service, they should also be willing to delegate responsibilities and find additional support when needed. This requires them to maintain strong lines of communication with their team at all times.

What to listen for

  • Specific examples of times the candidate navigated high-pressure situations—without dropping any balls.
  • Evidence that they can prioritize and delegate work effectively.

Why this matters

A business is only as successful at the team supporting it, and this is especially true for consumer-facing industries. Pharmacies thrive when the workers support each other to reach a common goal.

What to listen for

  • Specific examples of times the candidate went above and beyond their required duties to meet a common goal.
  • An emphasis on the importance of being a team player.