This question is a bit similar to 'Tell me about yourself.' Share a few things that are relevant to the job and give the interviewer insight into your personality. Since you'll be working with people, talking about spending time with friends would be a good thing to share. You can mention hobbies that require attention to detail, like reading and writing. You can talk about sports that require perseverance or goal setting, like distance running. Be yourself! Maybe consider sharing something that makes you unique that will stand out above other candidates.
"To best keep myself refreshed outside of work, my children's lives are my life and we travel to baseball, softball, hockey and dance competitions just about every weekend that we can. On top of them, our family likes to spend as much time as we can with our close friends grilling, camping and cooking together."
"I volunteer at a homeless shelter in my free time. I like to give back to my community through volunteer work. On top of that, I have two dogs that occupy most of free time while at home."
"Outside of work, I spend as much time as I can outdoors. I am an avid hunter and fisherman and spend as many days in the woods or waters that I can with family and friends. I also try to stay physically active by training for 10k races and weight training as well."
Be careful not to bad mouth your old boss! It's okay to share some qualities that might have affected you or the staff negatively. Keep your response positive. In talking about other people's flaws, share what you learned or how you learned to work with them. Sometimes the downfalls of your coworkers can be opportunities for you to share your skills. See if you can flip this question around to show off how well you handled a difficult personality.
"One particular pharmacist that I worked with wasn't very personable with patients. They were professional, but just not much of a people person. I love working with people, so I took it as an opportunity to shine when I worked with customers. By me tking the time toamake sure they received the best service, our customers left the pharmacy happy each and every time."
"While having not worked under a difficult pharmacist yet as a new graduate, I worked for a supervisor during college that was very disorganized when it came to being timely with things like our schedule. Knowing that she was very busy in her job, I had to be very patient when looking for answers from her and I never became upset when it took time to get answers."
"During my career, I have worked for challenging Pharmacists. I value my professional work relationships and sometimes we agreed to disagree and that's ok. At the end of the day, making the best choices to best serve our patients was the most important things and that was achieved each time."
Think about your career goals before your interview. It is likely that you will be asked a question similar to this. Be prepared to talk about how your role as a pharmacy tech will fits into your five year plan. Don't have a plan? Take some time to look at your options. Research the career path of a pharmacy tech. You could work as a lead pharmacy tech or decide to go to pharmacy school. The options are endless!
"In all honesty, my job search is solely due to me looking for a long-term, stable employer that I can eventually retire from. I love my career as a Pharmacy Technician and I really like everything that I have heard about your organization. Five years from now, I hope to be working here as a tech."
"My career goal is to pursue a doctorate degree in Pharmacy. My plan right now is to work full time as a Pharmacy Technician and work towards my bachelor's degree over the next four to five years. From there, I will look to pursue my doctorate. It is important for me to find an employer where I will be able to learn and grow and hopefully remain employed once I become a pharmacist."
"In five years I'd like to have the opportunity to be in a leadership position in one of your pharmacies in this facility. I am currently in a leadership role in my position in retail and fully realize that I will have to start over as a general technician if hired here. You'll find out quickly if you hire me that my experience and leadership skills will be invaluable to the team."
A great way to prove that you can be relied upon is to be consistently on time. Be sure to set the standard by arriving at least a few minutes early before your interview. Map out the route and go the day before so that you know where it is and how long it will take. You could also talk about a time you followed through with something even in the face of conflict. Consistency in your work shows you are dependable as well.
"I do my best to show up to work 15 minutes early, just in case something comes up on my way there that might set me back. Traffic can be unpredictable, and it's important to me to be on time."
"My attendance record at the job I held through my schooling was perfect, even during times where school and family life were hectic. My mother instilled this trait in me when I was young and I'm very appreciative that she taught me this responsibility as a young man."
"I currently have a schedule that allows me to pull call whenever needed with a short amount of notice. My flexibility comes in handy when someone calls in sick and my current manager really appreciates my ability to do this on a moments notice."
Take a look at the job description before your interview. As you review the list of responsibilities, think of the character qualities that will help you to be successful in completing those tasks. Now think of the bigger picture. What qualities will enhance the overall work environment for everyone else?
"Flexibility, communication skills and attention to detail are important qualities that I posses as a pharmacy technician. I love the fact that no two days in the pharmacy are the same and all three of these traits are necessary to handle all of the changes that are thrown our way throughout each day."
"The two most important qualities in this position are being detail oriented and a people person. I am a very detailed person in my work and this will translate great to a pharmacy tech position in your hospital. I must be accurate in my work because a mistake can be very detrimental or lethal to a patients health. As well, the ability to work with people from all walks of life and backgrounds is equally important."
"Patience and empathy are two important qualities that I pride myself on in this job. A lot of times our patients are sick so being patient with them and empathetic can show that you truly care about them and their well-being."
Prescription medication require a Dr's prescription while over-the-counter medication does not. As a Pharmacy Technician your job is to interpret and fill prescriptions written by various doctors. So be sure to know this definition.
"Prescription medication is typically something you can't purchase over the counter. Sometimes there is a version of the medication over the counter but it is generally a lower strength."
"The obvious difference is that prescription medication requires a physician's prescription and is intended for just one person. For a retail position like this, it is still important for a technician to be able to answer questions on over-the-counter drugs as customers will ask many questions about them."
"Over the counter medications are typically available in any grocery or retail store and do not require a prescription from a physician. Having worked retail for many years, I'm very familiar with helping patients pick out the best over the counter medication for their symptoms with the assistance of the pharmacist."
The pharmacy is a cultural melting pot. Each customer will be different in appearance, demeanor and communication style. You also can't predict what type of day a customer experienced before they came to the counter.
"I have no problem working with customers from all walks of life. I understand that everyone's different, and I can adapt easily to different personalities and communication styles."
"Having worked in customer service type jobs through college, I have great experience working with customers from all sorts of backgrounds. I can keep a calm and collected mindset when dealing with customers that are angry, knowing full well that most customers in this mindset are experiencing things in life outside of our interaction."
"I don't change my work style or level of customer service because of a patients background. My job is to be professional, educational and personable to each and every customer that I work with."
The best way to answer this question is to focus on what you did right. Talk about your accomplishments and how you were able to balance your workload.
"No. When I look back, I am proud of how much energy I put into my studies and my work. I grateful where I ended up and I feel like I made the right decision to pursue a career in the pharmacy field."
"While being 100% happy with my decision to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician, I would've taken a few more credits so I could've finished a bit quicker. I wanted to take my time and not overload myself. I did so well that sometimes I kick myself for not taking on a bit more."
"When I look back on my career choice, I have no qualms with my choice or my education. This career has enabled me to leave work each and every day satisfied for being able to help customers that need my services."
Before your job interview, make sure you are familiar with the company's mission and values. We recommend visiting the company website, reading employee reviews or talking to anyone you know that works there to learn as much as you can. You want to be able to talk about what you like about the company so that you can convince them you're the best fit for the role. Your interest in current seasonal promotions and ongoing events shows them how well you would integrate into this position and the culture of the company. Watch the videos on their website and take note of the information on their careers page if one is available. If you're not clear on something you read or heard, ask about it!
"Being a small, independent pharmacy, I love the fact that you give so much back to the community. Having grown up here, this city is very important to me and I look forward to the opportunity to help in contributing giving back to it."
"One of the students a year ahead of me was hired here a year ago and has nothing but great things to say about this organization. In coming into the field, I knew that I wanted to work in a retail pharmacy for the unique customer base as well as work for a large, established employer. I know that your organization values both employees and their customers and I would be honored to work for a company that holds those values."
"I was excited to learn that you have an inpatient pharmacy as well as an outpatient pharmacy. I'm excited to get the chance to possibly move to a new area and learn new skills having only worked in retails for all of my career."
Keep your answer career focused for this question. Your role model can be anyone who has inspired you to pursue your education and training. Sometimes family members motivate you or a close friend. There may be researchers in the medical field who's work caught your interest when you were in college. Talk about how your role model inspired you. What qualities do they embody? What did they do that motivated you to persevere through the challenges in your life? Here is a sample answer: "My greatest role model in my life was my grandfather. Having owned a dairy farm for his entire working life, he taught me the value of hard work at a very young age. From the time I was a young girl, I spent many days with him milking cows and tending to the other chores around the farm. Watching my grandmother and him go through positives and negatives in his business while he kept a very positive attitude has always been an inspiration to me in my work life."
"My greatest role model in my life was my grandfather. Having owned a dairy farm for his entire working life, he taught me the value of hard work at a very young age. From the time I was a young girl, I spent many days with him milking cows and tending to the other chores around the farm. Watching my grandmother and him go through positives and negatives in his business while he kept a very positive attitude has always been an inspiration to me in my work life."
"My older cousin is currently working as a Pharmacy Technician while pursuing her doctor of pharmacy degree. When I was coming out of high school, she had so many good things to say about the field and that getting years of experience as a Pharmacy Tech is vital to eventually pursuing a career as a Pharmacist. I plan to pursue my doctorate someday as well."
"My mentor and pharmacist from my current place of employment is my role model. He started from the ground up, put himself through school working nights and faced many challenges along the way."
Texting your boyfriend and getting on social media are probably not the best responses! Even though you may need time to reset, you want your interviewer to know that you understand how valuable your time is and that you take your job seriously. If you want to stay accurate in preparing medications and prescriptions, you might need to make the most of those 10 minutes of free time after by reviewing your to-do list, checking in with your boss and then grabbing some coffee. Express to your interviewer that you use your downtime wisely.
"I realize that downtime is rare in this field and that if it ever happens, there are other important things to take care of. I'm not a person to stand around on the job so I would look to find other tasks that can't normally be done when the pharmacy is busy with customers."
"I like to shadow the pharmacist and learn more about the medication that we are dispensing to our patients during my downtime. I have been doing this for a few years now with the permission of both my supervisor and the pharmacists and it has helped me become a much better technician."
What sparked your interest in the field? This question gives you an opportunity to show off your communication skills. Tell the interviewer about some facts you've learned along the way that drew you to the field. Show off your intelligence and your personality. This is just one of those questions that allows the interviewer to get to know you and see how well you articulate yourself.
"When I was in high school, my father was given too large of a dose of heart medication and it caused a mild heart attack just days after beginning to take the medication. At the time, I knew that I wanted to pursue some sort of career in the medical field. Not wanting to see another family go through what we did due to a careless mistake, I decided that this was the right career path for me."
"I've always wanted to be behind the scenes in patient care. I have a strong desire to help patients recover from sickness and injury and nursing just wasn't the career for me as I can't handle the dirty parts of that job. This career will enable "me to work with patients in a manner that I am most comfortable."
"Growing up, I had a passion for chemistry and also a love for helping people. A long time ago, when career aptitude tests were common for kids in high school, Pharmacy Technician was one of the top choices for me based upon my interests. After being set up to shadow a local independent pharmacist for a week during my senior year, I knew that I could get the best of both of these worlds in this career and I've enjoyed every moment of it."
What tools do you use to manage stress? Tell the interviewer that you can handle working in a constantly changing environment. You will need to be able to handle demanding customers, manage relationships with coworkers and fill prescriptions. Give an example that demonstrates your ability to manage stress in your life.
"I was studying for the Pharmacy Technician Board Exam while working full time and completing my externship. It was an extremely stressful time for me. I found that managing my time and prioritizing was the most helpful to make sure I was able to balance everything."
"While I was enrolled in school I had a hard time juggling being a parent, student and work part-time. I kept a detailed to-do list and asked for help from my family. I got past the stressful time and grew from it. Prioritizing was important as was taking care of myself and giving time for plenty of rest and relaxation to clear my head."
"Recently, I worked a PM shift where we had three techs on duty by myself. This was during peak flu season and both my coworkers called in sick. Coming in to the news from my supervisor that I'd be alone for the evening, I first sat down with the pharmacist on duty that evening to make a plan for how we would handle our busy times. Weekday PM shifts get really busy around 5:00 pm when people are getting off of work. We formulated a plan and the pharmacist was willing to help with some of the duties that a fellow tech would normally handle. By making a plan, a stressful evening turned into a successful one."
Your leadership ability is a reflection of your initiative and collaboration with others, among several other qualities. Talk about a time you led a team to success, whether it was a sports team or a day in the pharmacy. Companies like to hire leaders because they are reliable and trustworthy. A good leader listens to their coworkers and their boss and communicates effectively. How have you embodied these qualities in the past?
"In my current position, I am one of the lead techs for training new employees in our department. As part of my training with new techs, I walk them through the training on policies and procedures in the department as well as the day to day duties we provide. I lead and train using great communication skills and leading by example."
"During my high school years, I was a team captain for my volleyball and basketball teams. As a leader on these teams, I promoted teamwork among my peers and communicated the plays that we were running. These are skills that I will be able to bring to the workplace by being a team player and great communicator with the other members of my team."
"Having been in my current position for many years, I am now the lead tech when I work PM shifts when our manager is not at work. In this role, any procedural questions that needs to be answered come to me. I enjoy this role as I have become well versed in our processes and policies. I maintain a positive attitude at all times and lead by example with my team."
Talk about your favorite aspect of the job. If you're new to the field, think about what you're looking forward to learning. Talk about some of your on the job training and what you enjoyed about it.
"I like working in an environment where I am constantly learning. I like being challenged. There are always changes to regulations and new information a."
"Being both a people person and someone that is knowledgeable in science and chemistry made this field very interesting for me to pursue. I love the fact that I'll be getting the opportunity to work with pharmacists, hospital staff and patients on a regular basis while utilizing my pharmacy skills at the same time."
"I enjoy the ability to work in different areas of pharmacy. Inpatient, Outpatient, Compounding. The face that each day is different and I get to learn new things on a regular basis make this a very fun field to work in."
Be realistic with what you can take on, but above all, be flexible! Plan ahead by researching what the job entails and looking at your schedule for availability. If the job requires 40 hours a week, make sure that's something you can do. If you know they may need nights and weekends, see if you can clear your schedule to be flexible to work those times. You don't need to tell your employer everything that's on your schedule, just be clear on what you can offer.
"In my current position, I work a rotating schedule schedule that includes week long stretches of both day and PM shifts as well as an every other weekend rotation. Having a family and active kids, I am open to any scheduling just as long as I know my schedule ahead of time. Can you provide detail on how scheduling in the department works?"
"Coming out of schooling with no children, my schedule is quite flexible. If I can be given a 24 hour advance notice I can work any shift."
"Having worked in a large hospital setting for many years, I am able to work any shift. I actually really enjoy working night shifts if I need to be scheduled there. Having grandchildren, I do appreciate knowing my schedule ahead of time but still have flexibility to swap shifts if ever needed."
Pharmacy Technicians work with a variety of people through their workday and functioning in a larger team is extremely important. Depending on the setting that you may be working in, you may work with Pharmacists, Nurses, Physicians or any other hospital, clinic or retail staff. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are willing to do what it takes to help the greater good of the organization and that you are able to work with people from different walks of life and that work in different jobs.
"The team-based atmosphere at my current job is very inspiring and makes work both productive and fun. I work closely with our Pharmacists and am able to take direction from them on a daily basis while also being able to discuss issues with them. My fellow techs and I are a great team together and we bounce ideas off of each other and help each other out whenever needed. In this team environment, I am definitely a leader among my technicians."
"Teamwork is vital in any work environment and its extremely important in a pharmacy setting. I will be dealing with powerful medications and communication between myself, me fellow technicians and the pharmacists is something I will take great pride in. During my schooling, I worked for a large retail establishment where I quickly became a lead in my department. In that role, I was tasked with leading pre-shift meetings and helping train new staff and I loved being in a lead type role."
"Throughout my career, I've thrived on the fact that I got to work as part of a greater team in a patient care setting. In my current role in a hospital setting, I love that I get to work with providers, nurses and fellow pharmacy staff. Among my colleagues, I am a natural leader due to my experience in the field. I am on our interviewing team and also help to train new staff when they start in our pharmacy. I am also a great communicator with all members of the team that I work with."
For this question, your interviewer will be looking for you to remain calm and stay focused during times where things get hectic in the pharmacy. If possible, think of a time where you had to work under this type of pressure and explain the step-by-step approach you and your team took to ensure that customers were handled to the best of your abilities and to their satisfaction.
"In my current position working in a large retail pharmacy, we can get very backed up at times. When I am working the front register, communication is very key for me both between my coworkers and with the patients. As I process each customer, I let them know the wait time before the pharmacist will be able to speak with them and I ask them to wait to the side. At the same time, I am communicating with our tech that is processing orders. It is a smooth process that keeps things flowing nicely. If I notice customers becoming irritated, I announce a wait time for those at the back of the line based on my best judgement."
"Customer service is something that I take very seriously and this can be noted in my time working as a waiter through college. If customers became frustrated due to time concerns, I learned quickly that the best way to ease their minds was to give them a clear expectation of wait times for a meal. In the pharmacy setting, communication and teamwork will transfer well in keeping customers informed of their wait times and working closely as a team to continue to meet those deadlines."
"Having worked in both retails and hospital pharmacy setting, I have experienced busy times in both. In both settings, communication and teamwork among the pharmacy team is extremely important for everyone to come together to get things done in a safe and efficient manner. At the same time, I find that communicating potential wait times to the customers helps ease some tension they may be having due to the wait. When people know how long a wait it may be, they more often than not are acceptable to the fact and understand that we are very busy."
The fast paced life of a Pharmacy Technician requires you to stay organized in your job. Your interviewer will be looking for you to reiterate the importance of staying organized in your job as well as gain insight in to how you keep yourself organized. There is no right or wrong answer in how you stay organized, just that you put through the effort to stay on track and accurate throughout your work day.
"To help keep myself organized throughout the workday, I am kind of old school in the fact that I keep a written notepad on me to track my tasks in the hospital. At the beginning of each day, I write down a simple work plan of known tasks for the day. That list grows throughout the day and by keeping it up to date, I am able to prioritize my tasks as I go through the day without missing anything."
"Staying organized as a Pharmacy Technician is very important to complete tasks both accurately and on time. Personally, I utilize my Outlook calendar throughout the day to update with tasks. In both my personal and professional life, I take advantage of this technology and it helps keep me on track on a daily basis."
"I find that by making a plan at the beginning of every shift, I am able to stay on track and also deal with any emergent type of tasks that come up throughout my shift. A simple checklist works the best for me."
With the rise of abuse in opiates and pain killers, pharmacies have seen a dramatic increase in people coming in with fraudulent prescriptions. If possible, let the interviewer know of any protocols that you've worked under if these situations were to arise. If you have a specific example of a time where you encountered a drug seeking customer, let your interviewer know how you handled that situation.
"With my current employer, we've been trained to spot potentially fraudulent prescriptions and behaviors of people looking for drugs. We have specific protocol in place if we ever suspect this is the case where we inform the pharmacist right away to handle the customer. Just recently, a man came in with a prescription from two states away that just didn't look right. When I informed him I needed to grab the pharmacist, he became very angry and shouted profanities in front of other customers. The pharmacist quickly told him we wouldn't fill the prescription and he was asked to leave. Luckily, he did without incident."
"If I suspected that a customer is looking for medication outside of the scope of a legit prescription, I would immediately speak to the pharmacist on duty. It is their responsibility to either fill or deny a prescription based on their knowledge and best judgement."
"Having attended a continuing ed course on drug seeking behavior, I consider myself very proficient in recognizing this type of behavior in an individual as well as being able to spot a fishy prescription. With my current employer, our policy is for me to notify the lead pharmacist on duty if I have any suspicion of fraudulent activity from a customer. The pharmacist then speaks directly with the person, reviews their prescription and contacts any necessary parties to determine the validity of the prescription."
With the advent of the computer in the workplace, Pharmacy Technicians have had to become more proficient on different types of systems to effectively perform their job duties. Your interviewer will be looking for the systems that you have familiarity working on. While there are no right or wrong answers to this questions, be sure to reiterate that you have the ability to work on a computer and learn new systems with ease.
"I currently work on a pharmacy management system called Liberty. This system is great in the fact that it manages patients, inventory and tasks all in one system. I've been working on this system for almost 10 years and find myself very proficient. I see no issue in being able to learn any new systems if required."
"Being new to the field, I don't have any direct experience working on pharmacy specific software. However, I am very proficient on all computer programs and have great typing skills. I have experience working a retail inventory system and I believe these skills will transfer great in learning a pharmacy specific system."
"I currently work on a system called Winpharm. With minimal training when we took on the system a few years ago, I can now use it to the best of its abilities. It allows me to efficiently manage customers in a timely manner and also greatly benefits them with auomatic refill processing and communications to them via text or email."
In a constantly changing field, Pharmacy Technicians must stay up to date to keep up with the times on the job. Your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are invested in your career by seeking further education for yourself in the field. Be sure to talk about any training you attend, publications you read or career related groups that you belong to.
"Having worked in the field for what has been eight short years, a lot has changed in that time. New drugs are continuously being approved by the FDA and new regulations are passed regularly as well. By being certified as a tech, I have greatly looked forward to and taken part in the continuing education requirements. These credits have enabled me to be able to learn and adapt to a changing career."
"Being new to the field, I became a member of the NPTA and receive both the "Technician Today" magazine and their e-newsletters. After just starting to receive these, I can see that I will be able to learn a lot about changes in the field moving forward."
"So much has changed in this field during my career that furthering myself and my knowledge has been critical and will continue to be in the future. I have been a certified technician for many years and look forward to continuing education credits to maintain the certification. Last year, I took a CE credit course in third party reimbursements and learned a lot about changes that have taken place in government funded reimbursements for medication."
In today's world, fraudulent prescriptions are being passed along to pharmacies at an alarming rate. Your role as a Pharmacy Technician is often the first line of defense in spotting a fraudulent prescription. If possible, talk about any formal training that you've had in this area and how you've worked closely with your Pharmacists to help prevent these from reaching the hands of people that they shouldn't. Here is a sample answer: "With my current employer, I receive training on the warning signs of a fraudulent prescription. My first step when receiving a new prescription is to look at the drug and the dosage to verify it is within the norm. Then, I verify the provider that prescribed and where they are from. If any warning signs come out, it is the job of my on-staff pharmacist to work with the patient directly and to address them directly."
"With my current employer, I receive training on the warning signs of a fraudulent prescription. My first step when receiving a new prescription is to look at the drug and the dosage to verify it is within the norm. Then, I verify the provider that prescribed and where they are from. If any warning signs come out, it is the job of my on-staff pharmacist to work with the patient directly and to address them directly."
"During my schooling, we received training on the proper steps to verify a prescription. Red flags like a prescribing provider from far away and a new patient are things that should be brought to the pharmacists attention to address with the customer."
"Working in a retail setting for many years, I have been subjected to many customers that tried passing fake prescriptions for drugs in our pharmacy. My first step when I receive a new prescription is to verify the patient and the type of drug that is prescribed. We receive yearly training on the top abused drugs and prescriptions for those drugs are heavily scrutinized by the pharmacist that I work with."
A Pharmacy Technician performs work under pharmacists within a pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians have many duties in the pharmacy, some of these functions include; opening the pharmacy, sterilizing equipment, greeting patients, data entry, dispensing drugs, inventory reports, stocking shelves, answering phones, and other administrative duties.
Preparing for a pharmacy technician interview is simple, just know the skills that a pharmacist looks for in their technicians and make sure you align yourself with those skills. A pharmacist will want a technician capable of multi-tasking, handling customer complaints in a professional/positive manner, diligent in their work, very organized, communicates clearly and efficiently, passionate about pharmacy, and motivated. Understand how your skills align with the ones mentioned and prepare your interviewing theme around these skills.
Pharmacy technicians can expect an interview by a pharmacist and possibly an assistant or store manager. The assistant or store manager will want to be sure you fit the company's values while the pharmacist will check your skill set and make sure you are capable of handling the duties of a pharmacy technician inside their pharmacy. Most interview questions will center around customer service and responsibility within the workplace. There is no room for error inside a pharmacy so expect to be asked how you double check your work and are sure your work is error-free. Interviewers will want to know how you handle customer complaints and how you solve customer problems in a calm manner. The interviewers will also want to know what your future career plans are and why you want this current job opening.