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How to Answer "Tell Me About Yourself" in a Pharmacy Interview
When an interviewer begins the conversation by saying, “Tell me about yourself,” she isn’t asking for a full biography or for intimate details about your life. Rather, this question is designed to break the ice, and give the interviewer a sense of what you’ll bring to the job and the company. Therefore, when interviewing for a pharmacy job, you should focus your answer on information that is pertinent to the job, highlighting your experience and why you should get the job offer.
Summarize Your Experience
Because the interviewer is looking for information pertinent to the job, focus on your pharmacy experience when answering this question. Provide a general overview of your experience, i.e., “I have been working in pharmacies for almost 10 years. I worked as a pharmacy technician while earning my degree, and then became a licensed pharmacist. I’ve been working as the lead pharmacist at a chain drugstore for the last five years.” This tells the interviewer that you have education in pharmacy, and have experience in multiple roles behind the counter. If you have any related experience that can set you apart, such as experience in pharmaceutical sales or training in a specific disease (like diabetes or asthma,) mention that as well.
Highlight Your Strengths
Before your interview, make a list of five or so strengths that you can bring to your work in the pharmacy. For example, you might mention your customer service skills, your attention to detail, your memorization abilities, and your knowledge of drugs and patient assessment. Because pharmacists are increasingly being called upon to work with patients to help them use medications safely and to find the right treatments, it’s important to show that you can do more than just prepare prescriptions. Answer this question by focusing on why you are a great pharmacist.
Add Some Detail
Without rambling (ideally, you should only speak for 1 to 3 minutes) consider adding an anecdote to your answer. You might briefly explain what sparked your interest in pharmacy work or discuss a particularly rewarding experience with a customer. For instance, did you identify a drug interaction that saved someone’s life? You might say, “I became truly passionate about being a pharmacist when a patient came in with a prescription for a medication that has several significant side effects. I realized that she was already taking another drug that could make these effects even worse, so I worked with her and her physician to find another treatment that would be more effective. I realized that I had truly found my calling, because thanks to my ability to memorize and recall information I was able to help someone live a healthier life.” This gives the interviewer insight into your strengths, and who you are as a person.
Avoid Too Much Personal Information
While “Tell me about yourself” might seem like an invitation to talk about your family, your goals, your hobbies or other personal details, avoid providing too much information. Saying things like, “I’m a married father of two and I enjoy camping, football, and spending time with my kids,” will give the interviewer insight into who you are, but not the right insight. By focusing on your family and your hobbies, the interviewer might wonder if you are truly committed to your career or whether you will need to take more time off than others because of your family and hobbies. Talking about the fact that you just moved to the area – especially if it was due to your spouse’s work transfer – is also a red flag, as the interviewer may wonder if you will stay with the job for very long.
It’s illegal for employers to ask questions about your marital status, family, religion, race, and sex, so don’t give them information willingly that could hurt your chances at getting the job.
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An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.