Let’s have a look today at the top 15 Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions and answers 2022. If you still haven’t seen our article about the most common pharmacist interview questions, check this link Top 15 Pharmacist Interview Questions with tips and answers.
Retail pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes – none of them can function efficiently without a good pharmacy technician. Depending on the state, a high school diploma (or equivalent) may be enough to get a pharmacy technician position and start a professional career. Of course, if you don’t have any pharmaceutical background and it is going to be your first job, don’t worry – you will get necessary on-the-job training from a pharmacist or a senior pharmacy technician colleague. See also our tips for the first job interview.
When it comes to the responsibilities, the main role of a pharmacy technician is to assist a pharmacist in the day-to-day activities, such as:
– preparing and dispensing the prescription medications,
– preparing and dispensing the personalized, custom-made medicines,
– handling insurance documentation,
– securing the proper (safe) medications storage,
– maintaining the stock (identifying the shortages, passing/receiving the orders, checking invoices, etc.).
As you already know a little more about a pharmacy technician job, let’s start our review of the best 15 Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions and answers 2022.
Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions
Why did you decide to become a pharmacy technician?
This is probably one of the first Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions which your future employer will ask you. The motivation to become a pharmacy technician can be very different. Even if the truth is that you chose this path because of the low requirements for entry-level positions, flexible work schedule, promising salary rates, and opportunities for further development and growth, think about some more reasons.
Try to show your interest in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. You can say that you plan to go to pharmacy school or that your passion is a healthy lifestyle or homeopathy and you want to gain more experience in this field. It is also totally ok to admit that your dream and ambition is to become a pharmacist and becoming a pharmacy technician is the first step towards this goal.
What are your strong points?
To succeed in this job, firstly you need to have great communication and customer service skills. Pharmacy technicians work with the people and for the people so great interpersonal skills are a must. But as patients’ safety is an absolute priority, not less important in daily work is the efficiency and the precision. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians often work under huge pressure and the tasks they do are usually monotonous and repetitive. Very helpful is also the ability to focus and a knack for the organization.
What are your weak points?
When answering this question trap, as a candidate you have two good options to choose from. You can either tell about something irrelevant for your future responsibilities (for example being unable to lie and telling always truth at any cost) or you can focus on a weakness which, depending on a context and a situation can be a disadvantage or an advantage (for example being a very task-oriented person and liking to get the things done fast).
What makes you special among the other candidates?
This is certainly one of the most important Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions from our list. If you are a certified pharmacy technician or if you already have experience in the pharmaceutical industry (or any other), start your answer with that. This is definitely a big advantage during the interview. But if you apply for an entry-level position and you have no experience, don’t worry – your future employer will anyhow provide you with the necessary training. Tell instead about your strengths and explain how they will help you to succeed.
What kind of work atmosphere do you want to work in?
You probably noticed that the atmosphere in the pharmacies is usually very calm. However, on the other side of the counter, the situation often looks different. Stress, noise, tension, conflicts, etc. should be avoided as they all impact negatively everyone around, including the patients. Mutual trust, reliability, sense of responsibility, readiness to help, and ability to work in a team for sure will make you a great employee and colleague.
What would you like to achieve in the first 30 days of work?
In the first days and weeks, I would like to get to know my colleagues, the patients and of course get the necessary training and become as helpful, competent, and professional as possible. In the beginning, your main goal can be to learn the specialized vocabulary and to get familiar with the composition and the use of the most common medications.
Do you expect any challenges at work?
Work in a pharmacy can be very challenging. For a pharmacy technician, the biggest challenge, especially at the beginning, is probably the learning. On the one hand, the expectation is that the pharmacy technicians become every day more and more independent but, on the other hand, the mistakes can be very dangerous for the patients.
With time, the challenges change. Many pharmacy technicians complain about the necessity to follow and always stay up-to-date with the constantly changing medicines offer and medicines composition, handling difficult customers, working under a time-pressure with no right to make mistakes, etc.
The list of disadvantages and the difficult aspects of the pharmaceutical industry is much longer, however during the interview, don’t spend too much time on this answer. As a candidate, you should make an impression to be motivated and enthusiastic and not overwhelmed by the potential challenges.
How do you stay up-to-date with the new medications?
This is one of the most important Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions as the new medications and recommendations are released every day and it is not obvious how to stay up-to-date with all the changes. A good source of information is the pharmaceutical magazines which offer subscriptions and newsletters (for example American Pharmaceutical Review, Pharmacy Times, U.S. Pharmacist ). There are also many publications and social media accounts to follow. A good idea is also to follow on social media the biggest pharmaceutical companies and to join some pharmaceutical associations.
What would you do if a patient asks for a medication you have never heard of?
Firstly, don’t panic and ask a patient to repeat, maybe you misunderstood the name of the medication, maybe a patient confused the names or reads the name incorrectly. You can ask more questions about the medication itself – maybe it will help. Another thing that you can do on your own is to check in the database for this or any similar medication name. The medication can be withdrawn, unavailable in your country, or restricted for hospitals only, etc. If none of this works, ask for the help of a more experienced technician or a pharmacist.
What would you do in case you are unable to read the prescription due to the illegible handwriting of a doctor?
Giving the wrong medication is not an option but refusing to sell a medication can be equally life-threatening for a patient. You can deal with such a situation in a couple of ways. The easiest and the fastest solution is to ask a patient if he/she remembers the medication name. You can also ask for help from a more experienced colleague. If none of you can figure out what is written, the last option is to call a doctor who wrote a prescription and ask him/her to confirm the medication name.
What would you do if a patient cannot afford the prescribed medications?
If possible, I would offer an installment or a deferred payment or I would redirect the patient to a pharmacy where these payment methods are available. Another possibility is to split the prescription and, for example, but the most urgent medications first, and the rest – later (or not at all). You can also offer some alternative medications but remember that they will be never the same efficient as the ones on prescription.
How do you educate patients about their medications?
Here comes another example of one of the most frequently asked Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions
This question applies, especially to experienced pharmacy technicians. Counseling and advising patients requires a lot of experience and at least basic pharmaceutical knowledge. Another rule is that the more you know about the patient’s problem, the better your advice will be. Getting the whole picture is the key to success in this field. Pay attention to the possible drug conflicts, inform about the contraindication and the possible side effects, and of course, check if a patient knows how to use and dose medication.
Why do you want to join us?
Before taking an interview, think about what is special in the pharmacy, hospital, or nursing home which you applied for. What will make it a unique experience? Show your knowledge of the market. Show that your application is not a coincidence but a fully conscious choice.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
This is a very typical interview question, so increase your chances to get the job and prepare the answer in advance. The training which you will get in the first days and weeks of work, employers see as an investment. Even if you plan to switch the job once you get experience and learn the basics, don’t say it in an interview. Employers are usually looking for long-term employees, so make an impression that you also see your future in the same company. 5 years looks enough to become a senior pharmacy technician or certified pharmacists.
And who knows, maybe you will really like the job and decide to stay longer than initially planned? J
Do you have any questions for us?
This question is an opening for a new discussion. It is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your future employer but also you can get some extra points by showing your interest in the pharmaceutical industry and a little bit more of your personality.
There are however many rules to follow when answering this question. Check our article about the unique questions to ask the interviewer, prepare your own list of questions and nail the interview.
Pharmacy technician salaries
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly pay for a pharmacy technician in the United States is around $16. But the salaries vary on education, work experience, type of workplace, state, and many other factors.
The average salary for a pharmacy technician who has just started a professional career is close to the minimum wage of $10/hour – $11/hour. However, a certified pharmacy technician can expect to earn up to $18/hour (source: theepharmacytechnicians.com). Depending on the place you will choose to work in, the salary will be slightly different. In general, the hospitals and the nursing homes pay a little more than the retail pharmacies and when it comes to retail pharmacies, small and private ones offer usually lower pay than the big chains.
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