Whether you are a job candidate hoping to land a pharmacy technician job or an employer looking to hire a pharmacy technician, you should spend some time preparing for the interview.
Pharmacy technician candidates should go into an interview prepared to answer questions about their background, strengths, and opportunities for improvement.
On the other hand, pharmacy technician employers should have thoughtful questions prepared that will help them understand job a candidate’s experience, personality, work ethic, and potential as an employee.
This guide goes over pharmacy technician interview question ideas and sample answers that can help both job seekers and employers feel more prepared to find a good match.
Pharmacy Technician Interview Question Ideas
Having an idea of questions that will be asked in an interview can be helpful for both the job candidate and the potential employer.
Going into an interview feeling prepared can make the process less stressful and allow both the interviewer and interviewee to get to know each other better.
1) Tell me about yourself and your background
This question helps the interviewer get a general idea of the job candidate and their experience. It also allows the potential candidates to share anything about themselves that they think is important and worthwhile.
When answering this question, candidates should take the opportunity to highlight any relevant experience they have, education they have completed, accomplishments they are proud of, and why they feel they would be a great addition to the team.
“After working at my first job as a waitress for several years, I decided that I wanted to transition to working in healthcare. After researching a few healthcare jobs, I decided that pharmacy technician was a good fit for me. I completed a pharmacy technician training program and am excited to start a new career as a pharmacy technician.”
2) Do you have a pharmacy technician certification?
This is an important question since most states require pharmacy technicians to be certified.
In states that do not require certification, interviewers can still ask this question to find out whether or not the candidate has been formally trained and has the knowledge necessary to work as a pharmacy technician.
Job candidates should answer this question honestly, and if they do not have their pharmacy technician certification, disclose whether or not they are willing to get a certification or if they are seeking on-the-job training.
“I just completed an online training program and earned my CPhT certification through the PTCB. I learned a lot and feel confident that I have the knowledge I need to become an excellent pharmacy technician."
3) Have you completed a pharmacy technician externship or worked as a pharmacy technician before?
This question helps the interviewer find out specific information about the job candidate’s experience working as a pharmacy technician. Job candidates without experience should not be disqualified as long as they communicate that they are willing to work hard and learn.
Candidates with experience can answer this question by explaining if they completed a pharmacy technician externship, how long they worked as a pharmacy technician, and describing some of their responsibilities during those times.
Those without experience should be honest, but express a willingness to learn and progress.
“I have not worked as a pharmacy technician, but I did complete an externship that included 120 hours of working with an experienced pharmacy technician. My externship allowed me to gain experience with the basics of working as a pharmacy technician, and I am excited to learn more as I gain more experience.”
4) Why are you interested in this role?
This question can reveal a lot about the commitment level of the job candidate, and whether or not they are likely to stick around long-term. Candidates who are only looking for a paycheck may be more likely to leave, while those who are interested in pharmaceuticals or have a genuine interest in healthcare are more likely to stick with the job.
Job candidates should be able to list specific reasons why they are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician. Expressing interest in healthcare, medications, or even customer service shows that you will be committed to and happy with your job as a pharmacy technician.
“I have always been interested in medicine and love helping people. Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great way for me to learn more about medications and treatments while helping people.”
5) Can you describe your experience with pharmacy management systems?
If a candidate does have experience, asking them for details about their knowledge can help interviewers get more information about the candidates' specific experience levels and plan for the amount of training they might need as a new employee.
Job candidates can answer this question by listing pharmacy management systems they have worked with, how much they worked with the different systems, or expressing a willingness to learn about the systems.
“During my three years as a pharmacy technician, I worked with several different pharmacy management systems to track inventory, deal with insurance and billing issues, and ensure compliance with safety checks."
6) How do you stay organized when handling multiple prescriptions?
Staying organized is one of the most important things a pharmacy technician needs to do while working. This question reveals how well a candidate will be able to deal with managing multiple medication orders.
Candidates should give a detailed answer about how they avoid mixing up medication doses, patient information, or payments while working with patients who need multiple prescriptions filled.
“When a patient needs more than one prescription filled, I take my time and make sure I clarify one medication at a time before moving on to the next one. I want to make sure I keep my customers safe."
7) What process do you follow to ensure medication accuracy?
Medication errors can cause serious harm to customers. Interviewers should ask this question to find out whether or not the job candidate is cautious and pays attention to the medications they are dealing with.
A good answer to this question is specific and stresses the importance of being accurate and accountable while working with medications.
“I always make sure to double-check my work and avoid distractions while I am counting medications, mixing compounds, or checking customer information against prescription labels. Patient safety is my number one priority."
8) How would you handle a difficult customer or a patient complaint?
Interviewers shouldn’t focus so much on the specific way the job candidate would handle a complaint but should focus on whether or not the candidate is able to take responsibility for problems and look for solutions.
While answering this question, candidates should focus on trying to find a solution for the customer complaint and taking responsibility for anything that has gone wrong, rather than blaming the customer for being too needy or passing the complaint on to someone else.
“I would make sure to listen empathetically to the customer and find out as much as I can about what went wrong, and then I would look for solutions to the problem. If I cannot resolve the customer complaint, I will work with my supervisor to ensure that the customer leaves the store feeling heard and taken care of."
9) Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you handled it.
Similarly to the customer complaint question, this reveals whether or not the candidate is willing to take responsibility for problems or if they are more likely to blame others.
Candidates should avoid complaining about past coworkers or bragging about how they got someone else into trouble. Usually, the best answers to this question showcase cooperation and teamwork.
“I had a coworker who used to be late every day and it really bothered me. I spoke to her and found out that her bus route dropped her off far away from the pharmacy. We decided that we could carpool together and now we both arrive to work on time."
10) How do you prioritize tasks during busy periods?
Pharmacy technicians can get very busy. Employers need to know whether or not potential job candidates will be able to handle busy periods of work.
Candidates should make sure to let the interviewer know that patient safety is always the highest priority and that they can stay calm during busy periods.
“Even during busy periods, I make sure to follow my safety checklists and try not to make customers feel rushed. I know that when I stay calm, I avoid mistakes and can get things done more quickly.”
11) What steps do you take to maintain patient confidentiality?
Patient confidentiality is vital in all healthcare settings. This question reveals whether or not job candidates take patient privacy laws seriously.
Pharmacy technicians should express that they understand the importance of maintaining patient confidentiality, and be able to list one or two ways that they can protect patient information.
“I never discuss patient information when other customers are close enough to hear, and I am careful to dispose of all labels and printed paperwork properly when I am finished with it.”
12) Can you give an example of how you've worked effectively in a team?
Teamwork is an essential part of any pharmacy technician job. Employers need to know that their employees will work together and help each other to reach shared goals at work.
Answers to this question may include prior work experience, working on a group project at school, participating in a sports team, or even working well together with siblings and other family members.
“In high school, I played on a competitive soccer team. Sometimes, one player would be having a bad day, and I was always the one who would encourage them and build them up. Our entire team worked well together and knew we could count on each other. That experience taught me how important it is for a group of people to help each other."
13) How do you keep up-to-date with new medications and pharmacy regulations?
Healthcare is constantly changing, and employers want employees who stay up-to-date on the latest information.
Membership in PTCB, subscriptions to pharmacy journals, or even performing independent internet searches are all good ways to stay up to date with new medications and pharmacy regulations.
“My membership with the PTCB allows me to complete continuing education courses where I can stay up to date on the latest pharmacy technician information.”
14) Describe your experience with preparing compounded medications.
While not every job requires preparing compounded medication, having some experience with it means that an employer will have to spend less time training the new employee.
Candidates can impress the interviewer by naming specific medications they have compounded, and how they did it safely.
“When I worked in the hospital, I compounded sterile medications every day. I was always careful to maintain sterility and double-check the ordered dose against what I was mixing.”
15) What would you say is your biggest strength?
This question gives the job candidate a chance to brag about themself and explain why they would be great for the job.
Candidates should make sure to choose a strength that is relevant to the job, such as teamwork, communication, organization, or great customer service skills.”
“I am a very detail-oriented person. This helps me be a great pharmacy technician because I am diligent about ensuring accuracy and staying organized.”
16) What would you say is your biggest weakness?
Interviewers can find out a lot about a candidate by asking this question, helping them decide whether or not the weakness is something that can be overcome.
When explaining weaknesses, pharmacy technicians should be honest and realistic, while expressing that they are working towards improving and overcoming their weaknesses.
“I have a hard time dealing with complaints and sometimes take things personally. I'm working on getting better at this, and am currently reading a book to try to improve my ability to manage conflict.”
17) What is your favorite part of being a pharmacy technician?
This question can give employers an idea about whether or not the job candidate is likely to be happy at their job.
There is no right answer to this question, but interviewees should avoid answers like “it pays the bills” or “It’s an easy job for the money."
“I love getting to work with customers all day and go home knowing that I helped people."
18) What is your least favorite part of being a pharmacy technician?
This question gives potential employers an idea about whether a job candidate is likely to stay at their job long-term.
Every job has its difficulties, but interviewees should avoid starting long conversations about how much they dislike something about their job or complaining.
“I wish I had more time to spend with each customer. When things get busy, I don’t always get to have as much personal interaction with each person as I would like."
19) What is your ideal schedule? Are you willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays?
This question simply clarifies whether the job candidate’s schedule needs align with the organization's needs.
At an interview, everyone should be honest and upfront about potential scheduling issues.
“I am willing to work weekends, nights, and holidays. However, my son has soccer every Tuesday afternoon and I would like to attend his games. Is that something you might be willing to work with?”
20) What is your expected salary?
Again, all parties should be realistic and honest about salary expectations. Both parties should do some research on average pharmacy technician salaries in their state before the interview to ensure that what they are each asking for is fair.
“I am hoping to start out making at least $18 per hour. Is that something that would work for your organization?”
Pharmacy Technician Interview Tips for Job Seekers
While going to a job interview can feel intimidating, job seekers can feel more confident by preparing well. The following steps can help you perform your best during a job interview.
1) Write down answers to sample questions
Writing down answers can help solidify them in your memory and make it easier to remember what you want to say when the time comes for your interview.
2) Answer using the STAR method
The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. By answering questions this way, you explain what happened, what you did about it, and how it turned out. This keeps answers clear and concise.
3) Practice with a friend
Practicing with a friend is one of the best ways to prepare for an interview. Pharmacy technician interviews can be stressful and uncomfortable for some people, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
4) Research who is interviewing you
Knowing a little bit about who is interviewing you not only helps calm your nerves but can impress your interviewer. Knowing more about the company's history, mission statement, or who is on their leadership team shows that the job is important to you.
5) Arrive early
Arriving early not only shows that you are responsible and reliable, but it also gives you a few minutes to relax before your interview, use the restroom, or take a few sips of water. It is best to plan to be quite early for an interview in case of traffic, problems parking, difficulty locating the store/office, or any other emergencies.
6) Bring a notebook & take notes
While you don’t need to write down every question and answer as you are interviewing, it is a good idea to bring a notebook to your interview. This will allow you to write down employer expectations, things you need to provide follow-up information on, potential salaries, scheduling conflicts, or required education, as well as all
7) Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer to a question
It is always better to ask clarifying questions than to make up an answer when you are unsure. If the interviewer asks you a question that you don’t have a good answer for, it is okay to say that you don’t know.
The important part is that you also show a willingness to find out or learn the information in the future.
8) Have a list of references
Almost every interviewer will want to call at least one reference before they hire you. Make sure you plan ahead and ask people if they are willing to be a reference for you before you start giving out their phone numbers.
9) Come up with questions of your own
Coming up with your own questions to ask at the end of the interview shows that you are invested in the job and have put some thought into working for the company. Some questions you can ask might include:
- Can you describe the culture of your organization?
- Do you offer any continuing education or certification opportunities?
- What is your process for training new employees?
10) Send thank you notes to all interviewers after
A thank you note can go a long way towards landing a job. Showing the interviewers that you appreciate their time demonstrates respect and shows that you are highly interested in being hired. Sending a thank you note may help you stand out if the interviewers are having difficulties making a decision.
Pharmacy Technician Interview Tips for Employers
Employers looking for pharmacy technicians only have a few minutes with each candidate to figure out whether or not they would be a good fit for the company. The following tips can help employers make the right decision about which candidate to hire.
1) Understand the pharmacy technician's role
It is almost impossible to interview someone for a position that you don’t understand. Before you start interviewing candidates, make sure that you know exactly what you are looking for in an employee.
Knowing what your pharmacy technician will do each day and potential challenges they will face will help you choose the right person for the job.
2) Ask both professional and personal questions
Asking personal and professional questions will help you get an idea of their experience as well as their personality. While experience is great, someone's personality is just as important.
Asking personal questions about hobbies or interests will let you know whether or not a person is likely to fit in and feel comfortable working as a part of your team.
3) Don’t include too many interviewers
Having too many interviewers in the room can be intimidating for the job candidates. While it is okay to see how candidates do under pressure, too much stress can make it a challenge for any potential candidates to do their best.
4) Explain the interview structure at the beginning
Interviews can be stressful, and it is hard to get to know someone when they are overly anxious. Interviewers can ease some anxiety for the potential job candidate by explaining exactly what will happen during the interview process and how long the interview is expected to last.
5) Let the candidate do most of the talking
An interview is a chance to get to know potential candidates. If the interviewer dominates the conversation, they may not gather enough information to decide if a candidate will be a good fit for the organization.
It is okay if you run out of time before you get to every single question. Sometimes, interviewers can just sit back and listen while the candidate talks about themselves and their experiences.
6) Be clear about your timeline for hiring
At the end of an interview, make sure you clarify timelines for when you expect to make a decision, and when you plan to hire your new employee.
This can help ease some anxiety for potential job candidates and may save the interviewer some uncomfortable phone calls in the future.
7) Tell rejected candidates why they didn’t get the job
Part of the interview process includes rejecting some candidates. While it might be uncomfortable, it is respectful to let candidates know why they didn’t get the job.
After they take time out of their day to come and meet with you, it is a kind gesture to give them feedback that may help them improve for their next interview.