Most pharmacy residency program application deadlines have recently passed or soon will be. Are you ready to ace your residency interview? Don’t be caught off guard and end up frustrated with your performance.
Most ASHP accredited pharmacy residency programs have applicant screening criteria. If you have been invited for an onsite interview, then it’s safe to assume you have met their minimum requirements.
According to the National Matching Services, a total of 5,063 PGY1 and PGY2 applicants participated in the Match in 2015. Of that number, a total of 3,308 (65.3%) applicants matched to a residency program, leaving 1,755 unmatched applicants to scramble for the 382 remaining unfilled positions. This means that there were approximately 4-5 candidates per residency position after the match in 2015, with numbers increasing each year.
Rxduo suggests you do the following:
1) Practice answering performance-based interview questions
Performance-based interview (PBI) questions are designed to screen a candidate’s past performance and outcomes to gauge future success in the position they are applying for. These are very common during residency interviews and it is vital to practice answering these types of questions. One example of a PBI question is “tell me about a time you had a disagreement with a co-worker, how did you resolve the matter, what was the outcome, and what would you have done differently?”
2) Research the residency program and organization
This is something you hopefully have already done prior to applying to the program. Everyone has different professional goals and knowing if the program and organization have the ability to facilitate you achieving your goals is paramount. Knowing the basic structure of the program (i.e., required rotations, available elective rotations, and staffing requirements) and specific facts about the organization make you look better prepared and interested in working there.
3) Dress professionally
This is pretty much a given in my mind and I have included it in the list for completeness. It is always better to overdress than to underdress to an interview situation. This will make you appear more serious about the position. This is not the time to show your creative side either, keep things simple and sophisticated.
4) Be confident and mindful of your body language
There is an unspoken understanding about residency interviews when it comes to confidence. The key is to be confident, but not cocky. Being too cocky during an interview is almost like indirectly insulting or disrespecting the program.
A person’s body language during an interview is extremely important and may make the difference between landing the job or scrambling post-match. I will never forget the body language of a residency candidate we were interviewing for a PGY1 position. The candidate was explaining how great it was that our program offered a specific rotation while leaning over the table with chin resting on top of a water bottle. The candidate’s body language made it seem like they were uninterested and would be fine ending the interview early. Residency interviews can be exhausting, but don’t let this show, keep your poise.
5) Be on time
This is another common sense aspect of the interview process and when I say on time, I actually mean, be early. You definitely do not want the interviewer(s) waiting for you. Start the interview off right and make sure you are where you are supposed to be 5 – 10 minutes early.
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