There are many guides all over the Internet preparing students for interviews, specifically medical school interviews, or guides preparing those new to the work force for job interviews. Although these videos and articles may be helpful, they aren’t specific enough to the field of pharmacy to give a potential Doctor of Pharmacy student any added information. If you’re currently finishing up your undergraduate coursework starting a series of PharmD interviews can be an added stress that may push you over the top, which is why I will cover everything you need to know about preparing for an admissions interview at a School of Pharmacy.
Firstly, it is important to know what type of school you are interviewing for. Not all Pharmacy Schools have the same areas of expertise, for example certain schools are well known for preparing retail pharmacists, others are more concentrated on preparing their future graduates for clinical or research oriented work. There are many aspects to the field of Pharmacy and many options available for the holder of a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree, so firstly ensure that the school you are going to interview for is consistent with your career goals. Perhaps you don’t have any specific career goals yet, and it is the options that come with this multifaceted career that have attracted you to the field of pharmacy, then, by all means say that at your interview. If you want to do research one day know what areas of research interest you, perhaps oncology, diabetes, HIV/AIDs, ect., then prepare yourself by researching how as a future pharmacist you could work doing drug research for a Pharmaceutical company. Remember it is important that anything you say at your interview should also be consistent with your PharmCAS or supplemental application essay. If you have previously stated on PharmCAS that your career goals are to do clinical work, and you go into your interview saying you want to do retail, they will see this as a flaw. As long as you sound like you know what you want to do then you have made a good impression. Don’t go into an interview not knowing what you will say if they ask you what you would do with a PharmD, if you give a messy answer and don’t seem sure yourself, the interviewers may not be so convinced you even want a career in pharmacy.
Although I stress knowing where pharmacy can take you, it is important to know that they will never ask you specific questions you wouldn’t know the answer to unless you have already attended pharmacy school. They will not assess knowledge of which drug you recommend for a patient, or ask you to explain how a drug works. All interviews, whether they are for a job, medical school or pharmacy school, are all designed for the employer or admissions committee to get to know the applicant. It is important to be yourself, smile and seem confident (they can most definitely sense fear).
Many times pharmacy schools will post information of their interview on their website. It is good to know going into an interview how long it will take, how intense it will be, whether it will be conducted by a group or individually. Some interviews have essays where your writing skills will be assessed, or projects you will have to work on while the admissions committee can observe your group work skills.
Since most interviews are similar, researching good interview skills is essential, and conducting mock interviews with your friends is important to help work on eye contact, not saying um or filler words such as “like” constantly. You must be professional and confident, but with these added tips you will most likely succeed in impressing the school you hopefully want to be admitted to. Good luck!