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Pharmacy Residency Podcast: Residency Interviews and Advice

Aug 13, 2018

Kelly Haws is the National Business Development Manager at CareerStaff Rx and an expert on finding pharmacy jobs for pharmacists. In this four-part series, we cover:

1. Interview basics 

2. Mock Interview - Answering Questions about Culture

3. Mock Interview - Answering Questions about Work Experience

4. Mock Interview - Answering Questions that are Pharmacy Specific

You can look for jobs or connect with them here:

Full Transcript:

Welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals hey welcome to
the pharmacy leaders podcast today I'm
speaking with Kelly Haws a national
sales manager for the pharmacy division
of a national healthcare staffing firm
at career staff unlimited she's led as a
recruitment specialist staffing manager
market manager she's an expert on what
directors of pharmacy are looking for
when filling pharmacist roles so Kelly
welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
thank you Tony glad to be here yeah I'm
really excited to get to talk to you a
little bit I think one thing that's
always top of mind is you know what am I
going to do after I get my degree or
maybe as I'm going through my career I'm
thinking about a transition and they
don't necessarily teach you a ton about
how to actually do the interview process
to do the things that you need to do in
terms of getting a job so I'm excited to
have an expert and talk specifically
about interviews but before we get into
any of that can you tell me a little bit
about yourself a little bit about the
company absolutely so I've worked with
career staff Rx specifically on the
pharmacy side for about four years now
as a whole we do all national healthcare
staffing but we talk to healthcare
recruits all the time specifically in my
division pharmacists or you know whether
it's a like a local neighborhood
pharmacy they're just looking for a
staff pharmacist all the way up to a VP
level pharmacist that you know are
running whole systems so it is important
to have a good idea what you're going to
talk about on your interviews I agree
with you in the sense that we prepare
for our careers but how much preparation
do we actually put into
getting ready for these interviews and
you know I think this is going to be
most helpful for those who are within
their first year or two of their
pharmacy career or somebody that is
looking to change out of maybe retail
into ambulatory or whatever the
transition is it's important to be
prepared for these situations sure well
so let's let's actually break down the
kind of the three parts or not
necessarily three parts of the interview
but the three kinds of interviews we're
going to talk about because when you go
to an interview although it's a one
event it actually is is more like three
interviews within each other and when we
were looking at it we looked at first
there's kind of the culture fit and
personality is you kind of get to know
the person then work experiencing career
goals is the second and then there are
pharmacists specific questions third so
what we'll do with these podcast
episodes will actually split it into
thirds so that if somebody just wants to
go to one third of it they can do that
so can you first talk in general about
maybe some tips that somebody would want
to have before they even get into the
interview process what are some best
practices maybe that that they that
maybe you know you you don't think about
that are really impactful to the person
that's the interviewer absolutely the
number one being is to do your research
you want to know as much about this
company as possible especially as a
pharmacist you know you're holding a
license that you worked so hard for so I
would say number one is do the research
check them out on the pharmacy State
Board websites to make sure there is not
going to be any issues that come up that
make you wary of the mold because I
think we all have to remember when
you're interviewing for this person
is telling you the role that they're
looking for and then they're also
selling yourself and your experience to
be a good fit within this pharmacy don't
know the company I would look into maybe
Glassdoor look on indeed get some
feedback from those websites of what
kind of company they are the culture
that they have
Costin employees and get to see what
their experience has been to make sure
it's gonna be a good fit for you yes
last thing you want to do is go through
you know three to four interviews you're
ready to take the role and then you find
out they have a restriction on their
pharmacy license or that they just have
the worst culture and it's just not
going to be a good fit or what you're
looking for so definitely do your due
diligence and I would also look up the
job posting that they have read it
look into it and make sure that what you
have to offer is a good fit for what
they're looking for as well so if they
want specific things and you know be
honest with yourself
if you don't have that set of experience
be ready to talk about that in your
interview because they're gonna ask you
but just be 100 like as prepared as you
can to talk about yourself and you know
to kind of sell yourself to this company
to make sure that you'll be a good fit
and you'll stand out above the other
candidates well tell me a little bit
about selling I sold real estate for
seven years so I'm familiar with selling
but pharmacists are may be uncomfortable
with even the word selling they feel
like it doesn't agree with healthcare
they may have learned marketing which
seems a little tamer but let's start
from the selling side where you are a
potential applicant and you're trying to
sell that what you've done is better
maybe than what other applicants may
have on their resume or CV it definitely
is it's a selling a selling point right
you're trying to get all your best
attributes across the board to this
person that's asking you questions
they're putting you on the spot so you
have to be ready to answer with
solutions which is a huge part of sales
and be ready to move forward with just
setting yourself aside from the other
candidates so when potential
interviewers are talking to you know
they're going to be looking at your
appearance number one and not you know
making sure that you're dressed
appropriately you're dressed
you impress I always say that you're
dressed for the role that you want so I
wouldn't come in with you know scrubs
and you're you know you're a
professional you're a medical
so you should definitely dress as that
I've had some very funny in-person
interviews or people or like rain boots
or just the funniest things and you know
that's not what I want to remember a
candidate as what they were wearing I
want to make sure they come in you know
that box is checked and we move on to
the next one I would make sure you're
smiling as much as possible your
interviews might not always be in person
some of the first initial ones maybe
over the phone and you your tone changes
when you smile when you talk it gives
you a better it helps the person talking
to you have more active listening while
you guys are going through your
conversation but it makes you sound like
a better person because you're smiling I
think that's always something that we
should do especially if you're not
having the best day or you're really
nervous kind of smile through it and
you'll sound more appealing to that
person that is talking to you and then I
would you know make sure you bring your
resume make sure you bring some
questions to the table you're doing all
this research ask them questions about
their company and growth potential if
that's something that you're looking for
to ask as many general questions as you
can because you know hopefully you have
a few other options on the table and you
want to make sure that you're picking
out the best role and that's gonna fit
you and you want to you know make sure
you take notes after and just be
prepared as possible but it is like
you're selling because you are
representing yourself to this company
and if you're really passionate about
wanting to work there your interview
should show it 100% so that they say I
want this person this person is gonna be
a great fit or even just enough to get
you to that next step so you can go on
through the interview process okay so we
we've got a lot to unpack there so
solution selling I've I've heard that
now it's that's kind of the mantra where
what you're really doing is you're
you're not just saying okay we'll give
me a job what you're saying is I see
that you need somebody that can do this
this and this well in my past experience
I've done this and this but I can
definitely learn how to do that but for
the most part I'm going to be autonomous
I'm going to be a help to your company
can you talk anymore about solutions
selling or kind of explaining that
because I think that's a little bit of a
paradigm shift from what we had before
where it was more about product and
things like that but now it's kind of
finding the pain point and and how would
you kind of look for the pain point when
you're looking at a particular job
posting so when you're dissecting these
job postings you know absolutely look
into the ones that are gonna best fit
your experience and this is gonna be
relative to the setting that you have
worked in the most most likely or when
you were doing your rotations the
setting that you focused on the most and
then I would get on Google and get on
Safari start looking up a company and
seeing what has been trending with them
for the past year or so look at the
neighborhood surrounding it you can
usually do some kind of market research
to find that okay this area you know
they might have a higher HIV population
than the neighboring pharmacies so you
know you can kind of if it's harder when
you're newer I think and when you don't
know the industry as well but as you
grow and within your role you can
recognize the challenges that are going
to come up with some of these companies
so if you're working in more of a retail
setting you're in I'll use California
because I'm very familiar with
California but you're in a major
metropolitan area like Los Angeles there
are so many pharmacists that are
applying through all of these jobs so
they're gonna and a lot of them aren't
going to want to do retail initially but
they're going to do it so they can get
their foot in the door so a lot of these
pharmacist Barma sees like retail or
neighborhood may have some higher
turnover because they have people that
are just coming in to get the training
and then moving on to a different
setting that they've been trying to get
into so as you're looking through
that job description if that's what's
happening in that area you're gonna see
he phrases you know like looking for a
long-term pharmacist or staff
pharmacist, so make sure it's that's
something that you do want to do you
know if you're trying to hop between
different pharmacies and different
settings it may not be a good idea to
sell yourself as somebody that's going
to last you know quite a long time and
grow within a company but when you're
speaking to the person that's conducting
the interview you can even ask them what
their challenges are as retaining staff
if you're noticing that every week this
pharmacy has a new posting up every
three months they're looking for
somebody new
they're obviously having some issues
with some turnover or maybe staff that
isn't comfortable working in that
specific neighborhood some neighborhoods
are tougher to work and when you're
working on a retail level or maybe the
volume is so high they're having trouble
keeping somebody that's able to keep up
with that script count and still
maintain you know like a happy
personality they're not miserable all
the time so you want to identify what
challenges could come up and ask
yourself if this is something that I'm
willing to do this I'm you know I want 
a long-term role I want to grow within a
company and gain some you know manager
experience then you can sell yourself as
that kind of solution for the challenges
they're having okay well let's talk a
little bit about what goes on at the
pharmacy school and then how you kind of
fit into the process so each pharmacy
school may be in the fall is going to
have a couple of companies coming
although these have gotten a little bit
thinner in the fall where maybe they
they don't have as many companies coming
to them and then the students would
apply to those companies or talk to
those companies but I feel like that's a
very short time to do a job search to
just say okay well I'm just gonna see
who's there at my own colleges event
where would you fit in to someone who's
just either finishing their last year of
school or just finishing residency maybe
first two years out
so where I come in in this process I
will attend those job events that they
have at the schools sometimes we do go
to their commencement ceremonies but I
primarily meet a lot of last year
candidates at local conferences that you
know they cpha AHP the larger pharmacy
associations will have these huge
conferences and a lot of students will
come to present their posters or to you
know to meet prospective job
interviewers that they're gonna be
meeting at some time so I'll come in and
I meet them you know even from when
their first year up to a fourth fourth
year but my role in this is helping them
to come on board with that lack of
experience you know your rotations don't
count as experience so you ought to come
in and and start working right away soon
as you have your your boards passed and
your license is posted you want to make
sure that you have actual real-time job
experience as soon as possible
the resident students are a little bit
different because they've already
established that working experience
through their residency they've already
passed their boards you know they're
they are a student but they are still
working within that realm so for the
newer students that are recently
graduated I come in and kind of help
place them and the settings that they
prefer and hopefully get them some
working experience with multiple
settings that way once they're ready to
move on from me they can get you know
permanent roles in the setting that they
were most happy with or you know have
the most experience in okay well I think
I've got five good points from this so
the first was about solution selling
really doing your research and finding
where your expertise matches not only
your interests but their interest in you
make sure about the professional dress
I remember seeing Josh gates from the
Travel Channel he did expedition unknown
and he said that he had just come off a
plane like from South America or
something the directors like state just
like that don't take a shower you know
you look just like the role is but
you're saying no no
don't don't come in a lab coat or don't
don't you know overdo it just
professional dress just so that you you
know show the respect that the company
needs smiling I've also heard that if
you're on the phone if you put a mirror
by your phone
you can't not smile when you see
yourself in the mirror so that that that
comes over the phone and that that
you're actually a better candidate if
you're you know you're smiling the whole
time you can tell you can definitely
tell audio the CV and resumes not just
that but also questions that you've
research and that you're showing general
interest so it's not I will answer your
questions as interviewee rather I'm
going to ask important questions that
were not on the website that I'm
genuinely interested in to make sure
it's a good fit and finally I think
taking notes for maybe not only to show
your interest but if they've got maybe a
multi-part question that you can make
sure that answer each detail showing
you're detail-oriented before we finish
this just initial part is there anything
that I didn't cover in just the general
this is what we need to think about when
we're starting to think about interviews
and our fourth year or maybe as where
we're looking to the first and second
year out of school the only other thing
I would add is to be honest with
yourself I think you know all of us get
so excited because you've finished all
of the schooling now you're finally done
yes somebody wants me somebody you know
sent me a job offer yeah absolutely and
you know you worked so hard to get those
words out of the way you're finally
officially licensed don't just take
whatever comes to you because you're
gonna in the end get a question why did
you leave that company you know and you
have to be prepared to answer that so be
honest with yourself and what you really
want to do if you know obviously we're
not gonna always get our first choice
right off the bat when we're looking for
roles but look in similar settings so
that you can you know you can do the
work that you want to do without having
to constantly jump from role to role
because that absolutely affects your
your work experience and your profile
that's showing up on your CV
these companies are reviewing them to
even set up your interview so definitely
be honest with yourself with what you're
capable of and you know if you're not
somebody that loves to deal with people
and you're selling yourself as this
customer service like Saban right and
you're not gonna last in a very busy
retail setting if that's just not who
you are so you know as you went through
your rotations and you know I'm sure
something kind of stuck out to you that
you wanted to do so focus on that and
you know don't just throw yourself into
a role just to have a job make sure it's
something that you you're honestly
you're gonna be passionate about because
even in that interview it's gonna show -
if you know you're gonna be filling 500
scripts a day and that's not what you
wanted you the person interviewing you
will notice that lack of enthusiasm 100%
sounds good yeah I I know exactly what
you're talking about in terms of you
know the first offer always seems
amazing because it is an offer but maybe
even pretend that you got two other
offers which one would you take but but
don't don't try to lie to yourself and
say you know I
I could learn to love this or I could
you know deal with this I feel maybe a
little more patience and just being
honest and saying hey you know and this
isn't a good fit I wanna you know be
with the company for the long term so
I'll I'll keep looking or we'll we'll
keep working at it
okay well that's that's gonna in the
first part kind of the introduction some
of the expert tips that you have and
we'll stop the show there so we can have
kind of an evergreen product in terms of
our next episodes where you can just
listen to the episodes individually on
the three different parts but hopefully
this introduction to finding a job the
best practices and finding a job was
really helpful support for this episode
comes from the audiobook memorizing
pharmacology a relaxed approach with
over 9,000 sales in the United States
United Kingdom and Australia it's the
go-to resource to ease the pharmacology
challenge available on audible iTunes in print ebook and audiobook
thank you for listening to the pharmacy
leaders podcast with your host Tony
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