Pharmacy Technicians are licensed professionals who work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist in a hospital, retail pharmacy, community clinic or other health care environment. Their scope of practice can be fairly broad depending upon the guidelines under which your facility utilizes them. Pharmacy Technicians may be responsible for assembling and supplying medications to patients, explaining the effects of those medications to patients, managing dispensaries and/or supervising other pharmacy employees.
Mistakes cannot be made when it comes to dispensing medications, so pharmacy technicians must be attentive to detail. Since their role often involves interacting with the public, they must also have strong interpersonal skills. A qualified candidate will demonstrate strong math skills to perform the types of complicated calculations he or she will need to determine proper dosages. Organizational skills are also essential since pharmacy technicians will be organizing inventory, reordering supplies, maintaining electronic records and performing other similar tasks, often simultaneously.
General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests, and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position.
Below are Pharmacy Technician interview questions to help you get started:
1. Why do you want to work in this retail pharmacy (or hospital pharmacy or community clinic pharmacy)?
What you want to hear: This question gives you the opportunity to find out whether your candidate researched your workplace prior to the interview. They should demonstrate a general understanding of how your workplace dispenses medications and the types of patients likely to be encountered at the establishment.
Red flag: A candidate who answers with simple generalities about a desire to help others in all likelihood hasn’t researched your specific workplace environment. This need not be a deal breaker if the candidate is strong on other points.
2. What types of pharmacy-related software are you familiar with?
What you want to hear: This question is designed to measure whether your candidate is up to date with evolving trends in the pharmacy industry. Many different pharmacy software solutions are on the market today, and your candidate should be familiar with several even if proficient at only one.
Red flag: If the candidate isn’t familiar with the software your pharmacy uses, the training period is likely to be longer. This is not necessarily a disqualifier, but it is something to think about based on your company’s needs.
3. Walk me through the standard procedure for filling a prescription.
What you want to hear: A qualified Pharmacy Technician understands the job’s responsibilities. While procedures may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, the basic steps for filling a prescription remain the same. They involve checking the patient’s profile; scanning and counting the medication; performing a clinical check for side effects, allergies and potential interactions with other medications; and dispensing the drug.
4. How do you keep yourself up to date with new medications, practices and other developments in the pharmacy industry?
What you want to hear: The pharmacy industry is evolving rapidly. The ideal Pharmacy Technician is someone who can respond quickly when new products or procedures are implemented. Of even greater value is a candidate who will bring the initiative to suggest changes based on new industry developments.
5. When you’re performing routine tasks, how do you keep yourself motivated?
What you want to hear: Repetitive work like restocking inventory and updating databases is part of every pharmacy technician’s job description. In their answer, a strong candidate will reference the importance of meeting deadlines and goals, working well as a team member, or seeing a project through to the end.
Red flag: Candidates who are not team players invested in an organization’s overall goals will often have difficulties with “motivation” questions. Consider how much of their duties will be repetitive and how effective the candidate might be over the long term.
6. Why did you leave you last Pharmacy Technician job?
What you want to hear: As licensed professionals, Pharmacy Technicians occupy a position of trust. The candidate’s response to this question will give you early insight into their level of candor. Today’s workplace is fluid, and there are many acceptable reasons for leaving a job that don’t involve professional breaches, including an eagerness for career advancement or the desire to redefine one’s professional role. You don’t want to hire someone who changes jobs too indiscriminately, however, or who may have acted in an unprofessional manner in a prior position.
7. How do you handle a workload with strict deadlines?
What you want to hear: Efficiency is very important in a pharmacy. This question helps you evaluate the candidate’s ability to multitask and meet deadlines, especially when high priority prescriptions are involved. Listen for clear methodologies for staying on task as an individual and as a member of a team in order to maximize pharmacy productivity.
Red flag: Not having an effective process or plan for ensuring that tasks are completed properly and on time will result in delays or errors in prescription fulfillment. Additional damage will be caused by the diminished reputation of the pharmacy in the opinion of doctors and patients alike.
8. How might you past coworkers describe you?
What you want to hear: This question will challenge the candidate’s self-awareness. Look for answers that focus on qualities such as competence, professionalism, integrity, dependability, and interpersonal skills.
9. What would you do if you suspected a customer of having drug-seeking behavior?
What you want to hear: Unfortunately, “pharmacy shopping” to obtain medications illegally is commonplace, and sooner or later, most Pharmacy Technicians are likely to run into a drug-seeking customer. The proper response here indicates the candidate is aware of the signs and would refer the situation to a manager.
10. Do you have experience providing service to customers who do not speak English very well?
What you want to hear: This question addresses any bilingual or multilingual skills your candidate may have. Depending upon your workplace’s location, such language skills may be a great advantage to your pharmacy when providing patient consultations.
Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Pharmacy Technician position.
Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Demonstrate competence in the professional and technical aspects of pharmacy science
- Are effective multitaskers and communicators
- Can work well as part of a health care team