September 22, 2020
Inside: Ask the right questions to find the perfect person for the job.
Everyone has had an interview where they’ve been stumped by an oddball question — “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” While these types of questions may test an applicant’s creativity, the answer won’t tell you much about what they’d be like as an employee.
In an effective interview, you should focus on questions that give applicants a chance to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. At the end of an interview, you should know whether the applicant has the right experience and a track record of getting things done. And of course, you have to accomplish this while avoiding questions that could introduce bias.
These starting questions may seem like softballs, but they will tell you a lot about whether the interviewee is the right applicant for the job. If they don’t have the right education, certifications, or work history, you can weed them out of the applicant pool right away — though you should still do them the courtesy of finishing the interview.
How candidates answer these “get to know you” questions can reveal important information about how their attitude toward their work as well as their previous bosses, so pay close attention to their tone.
These are concrete questions with straightforward answers, and you should press a candidate for clarification if they don’t give a clear answer.
Next, you’ll dig into the candidate’s duties and experiences at previous jobs to see how prepared they are to take on the open position in your pharmacy. You should have them identify what concrete experience they have — like software they’ve worked with, bookkeeping skills, or customer service experience.
They don’t necessarily have to be one-to-one comparisons. If a candidate has worked with patients in a nursing home but not a pharmacy, for example, their skills will still transfer. Similar but not identical experiences demonstrate the candidate will be a quick learner.
These questions will also help you identify candidates’ competencies and struggles without having to ask the blunt and awkward question, “What is your greatest weakness?”
Behavioral interview questions also focus on the candidate’s experiences at past jobs, but they focus more on how they behaved in certain situations rather than the concrete skills they used. They aren’t yes or no questions and require the candidate to recount specific anecdotes and reflect on their behavior.
Situational questions are similar to behavioral questions, but they pose hypothetical questiskills and demonstrate their ability to think on their feet.
Since these questions are open-ended, you may have to ask follow-up questions that encourage interviewees to get more specific.
By asking questions about work habits and style, you get a chance to assess how the job candidate will fit into your existing work culture. If a candidate says they prefer to communicate by email, that isn’t an inherently negative answer, but if everyone else in your store likes face-to-face communication, they may not fit in.
The candidate’s answers in this category should give you a good idea of how they approach their work and the strategies you should take when managing them.
If you’re hiring for a management position, you need ask specific questions about their management style. Find out how they communicate, handle conflict, and give feedback to their employees. A good leader isn’t just a good people manager, but a role model in the workplace.
But even if you’re not hiring for a manager job, it’s still smart to evaluate a candidate’s leadership abilities. This can help you evaluate if they are able to take charge and be decisive at work. And even if you’re not currently hiring a manager, you may want to promote them down the line.
At the end of the interview, you should get more specific about the job at hand. If the candidate gets the job, what do they plan to do? This helps you make sure you’re on the same page with candidates about what the job entails. Your goals in the short term and long term should align.
Even though it can be uncomfortable, you should also talk about salary in the interview. If you and your preferred candidate have vastly different expectations about salary, it’s better to find out now than when you offer them the job and they decline because of money.
When you’re done asking questions, give the candidate plenty of space to ask questions of their own, and be honest with your answers. No workplace is perfect, and if you give rose-colored answers to tough questions, your new hire might become disillusioned.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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