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How to Conduct Great Job Interviews

May 26, 2020

Inside: Find the best hires for your pharmacy with these tips and strategies for your job interviews. 

Very few people enjoy job interviews. Candidates feel like they’re being put under a microscope and interviewers feel the pressure of choosing a new employee based on a brief interaction.

As a business owner, the stakes are high — if you pick the wrong candidate, you could disrupt the working environment at your pharmacy or even have to go through the entire process again. On top of that, you have to sell the pharmacy as a great place to work because the best candidates are going to have their choice of employment.

Use these tips to hire the right person for the job every time.

Go in with a plan

An ideal interview will feel like a conversation, not an interrogation, but that doesn’t mean you can wing it.

Go into interviews well-prepared. Familiarize yourself with each candidate’s resume and cover letter so you have a sense of who they are before you go into the conversation.

Know what questions you want to ask in advance. If you rely too heavily on conversation, you won’t be able to make a clear-headed assessment of the candidate’s skills and will be more likely to fall back on personal biases.

Reduce unknowns

Job interviews are stressful, and when candidates are nervous, they aren’t necessarily their best selves.

Do your best to let people know what your expectations are for the interview before they come in. Outline how long you think it will take, what the dress code is, and who will be interviewing them. You can even tell them, in vague terms, what you plan to talk about, giving them time to prepare their answers.

The more they know about the interview in advance, the calmer they will be, and that will help you get a more accurate picture of the kind of employee they will be if you hire them.

Structure against bias

There are lots of ways that bias can slip into your job interview. You and a candidate may have gone to the same high school, or you both like the same sports team. Even though these seem like small details, they can cloud your judgment so that you end up picking the candidate that you like the most instead of the person that’s best qualified.

In order to reduce bias while hiring, standardize the interview process. Ask everyone the same questions to prevent tangents that may introduce bias.

To go a step further, you can commit to interviewing a diverse pool of applicants. If all of your candidates are the same gender, the same age, or the same race, widen your search. Encourage diverse candidates to apply by posting on a variety of job boards and reaching out to professional organizations that support underrepresented workers.

Let people show off their skills

The most obvious questions to ask in a job interview are straightforward. Interviewers ask candidates about their education and previous responsibilities. But those kinds of questions don’t give candidates a chance to show off what they’re really capable of, and often lead to flat, practiced answers.

Instead, you should ask more challenging, in-depth “behavioral interview” questions. These tend to start with phrases like, “Tell me about a time when…” or “Give an example of how you…” A few examples of behavioral interview questions include:


These questions force candidates to go into detail about their experiences and give you a good idea of how they conduct themselves in the workplace.

Avoid oddball questions

While you do want to ask questions that make people think, don’t get too weird. Avoid questions like, “If you could be any kind of bird, what kind of bird would you be?” or “If you could travel anywhere in the world, what country would you choose?”

Some hiring managers think that these questions will give some sort of insight into the mind of job candidates, but what it actually does is stress them out and leave them with a bad impression. Instead, stick to questions that will give you concrete information about how candidates will perform on the job.

Involve your staff

To make better hiring decisions, involve your current staff members in the interview process. Having one or two employees participate can help you gain a new perspective on potential hires.

When you aren’t the only one making the hiring decisions, there’s more accountability. While you might remember a particular candidate because they grew up in your town, other employees will be able to recognize your bias and help you refocus on the candidate’s qualifications.

The practice also creates a natural test for “culture fit.” You can see if a candidate gets along with your team before they even start. Once you make the hire, your new employee will have an easier first day because they already know one or two of their new co-workers.

Remember interviewing is a two-way street

Interviews aren’t only for you to decide which candidate is right for you, they also help candidates decide if the job is right for them.

Because you want your new hire to be fully prepared to start their new job, it’s crucial that you are upfront with them about what the position entails. Sell what’s great about the job, but if there are less glamorous job duties, make those known during the interview. You don’t want candidates to feel like you’ve pulled a bait and switch once they get started in their new role.

Give candidates plenty of time to ask questions, and be prepared to answer them. Interviewees commonly ask about the company culture, what success looks like for their position, and whether or not there’s room to advance.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies 

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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