Do you want to pursue your career in pharmacy? Are you looking for a permanent or part-time job as a pharmacy technician? Are you preparing for a viva? Then pharmacy technician interview questions are necessary for you to read.
The whole blog talks about different answers you can give to an intense pharmacy technician interview questions. From the core responsibilities to the written test and negotiating your salary, I tried to cover every possible aspect. This blog is also suitable to answer the pharmacy technician trainee interview questions. Now let’s jump into the details.
Who Is A Pharmacy Technician?
In the United States, it is mandatory to have a registered pharmacist in every pharmacy. So what does a pharmacy technician do? Where a pharmacist can do most of the works.
According to the General Pharmaceutical Council, there is three major work of a pharmacy tech.
- Firstly, supplying medicines to patients irrespective of prescription or over the counter.
- Secondly, able to assemble medication for the drug.
- Last but not least, educated enough to inform patients and healthcare professionals about medicines.
Besides these three criteria, you need to acquire more 3 to get an advantage to work. They are-
- Able to manage medical supply areas, e.g., dispensary.
- Experienced in managing other pharmacy staff.
- Mixing and producing medicines with accurate doses in hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry.
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How Much Salary A Pharmacy Technician Get?
A vital question, you need to know the answer. Without seeing a bright future ahead or a good salary, I do not recommend pursuing a course. But Pharmacy will last in this world until there is a disease. So it is quite an important sector.
In the US, a pharmacy technician trainee earns $9-$13 per hour in different companies. The salary goes as high as 15$-$17 if the candidate has experience. A very reliable website gathered wages from pharm techs to give you an insight-
Remember, this is only the trainee’s salary! If you have credentials or a diploma in Pharmacy Technician, then it might go higher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor reported the actual salary of the pharmacy technicians-
What Are Pharmacy Technician Interview Questions?
A pharmacy remains busy 24×7. So you have to prepare yourself for any time. Patients and Customers can come at midnight or early morning for medicines. Not only that, but many drug addicts may also come by and look for unusual medicine tablets to you.
So before a pharmacy hires a potential candidate, they check some knowledge regarding medicines and pharmacy. A pharmacy interviewer could ask you such questions that eventually determine your job.
Here are some common pharmacy technician trainee interview questions you may face-
Why Do You Choose To Become Pharmacy Technician?
The question is shared among the employers. Your answer should convince the employers that you need this job.
Firstly, you may say that this job your first career step, and you look forward to studying pharmacy. So a pharmacy technician job can add some experience in your bucket. That is a wise answer if you are interested in becoming a pharmacist.
Alternatively, the answer can focus on the good things about the job. As mentioned in the first section of this blog, there are certain things you have to do as a pharmacy technician. Mention them specifically, and express how these works relate to your interest.
Say, for example, You like to communicate with people and love to answer their queries. This nature is a prerequisite if you want to pursue this career. Thus carry on this way to other responsibilities. This is a well-established answer if you are not to follow pharmacy, just looking for a job.
An employer knows that you are not in the interview because you have a job. You are here because you need this job. Your answer should simultaneously convince them of your need and your knowledge.
Why Should The Employer Hire You As A Pharmacy Technician?
The pharmacist or HR wants to know your strengths by this question. Do not flatter about the job. The questioner is not stupid. He knows that sometimes PTs can be a tedious job.
Instead, talk about these points and emphasize them as you mean it-
- Your high school sweet experiences
- Any previous responsive activity that might attract your boss
- Your excellent communication skills
- Your smiling behavior towards the person talking to you
- Good memory and eyesight
- Discipline and listening skills
- Any diploma that might add value
Such qualities are desirable from a Pharmacy Technician Trainee. It is not necessary that you got to have all of them. But mentioning some of them can get you this job.
Tell Us About A Certain Experience In Working
At this point, you should be happy that the employer is interested in you. So he/she wants to know whether you have handled any critical situation.
This is important to a pharmacy that you have got the temperament to work under pressure. In peak hours or seasons, customers make noises in the pharmacy. Everybody wants everything at the same time e.g., medicines, payment change, packets, etc. You have to be the one to manage all this chaos and do your job correctly.
The employer wants to know a look-alike story from you from your life—an experience where you handled a workforce or a team in a critical situation. Or, You faced any problem but solved that without losing anything.
Never lie at this point. They will know if you are making things up. Trust me. Instead, please show them your resilience and patience to work under pressure while talking. Describe how you managed to overcome a critical situation. Additionally, what more you could do if you had a better environment. The pressure falls back to the employer because you indirectly asked about their working environment.
What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
It is one of the most tricky pharmacy technician questions. The employer asks this to know your secrets or make you uneasy in the hot seat. Do you know what your Biggest weakness is? I know that!
Knowledge is a never-ending gain. No matter how much knowledge you acquire, there will be something that you do not know. Thirst of experience and enthusiasm to learn is what makes you wise.
The pharmaceutical branch is so huge that you can not be on top of everything. Convince your questioner that you know but not enough to become extraordinary. But you are always keen to learn new things and seek knowledge from experienced persons. That is your way of developing. This is a weakness everyone has, but none wants to reveal.
Telling your failures to employers is not going to get you a technician job. Also, your nightmares about needles or stitches will undoubtedly add a negative value.
A tricky answer to a tricky question. Do you have a better one? Share in comments.
What Should Be The Top Notch Quality of A PT?
The pharmacist or the questioner wants to see your reasoning with such a question. While answering this question, keep in mind to explain-
- why is this the most desired quality?
- What can go wrong if you do not have this quality?
- How does this quality add value to the pharmacy?
You don’t need to answer in order, but you have to respond appropriately.
Say, for example, the top-notch quality for a PT could be the memory to remember. This saves a lot of time per customer in the pharmacy. Firstly, a PT with good memory does not need to look at the prescription or the aisle to look for medicine. Just name the drug, and he/she will provide you the treatment.
Secondly, a good memory helps to remember the doses of a particular drug. Maybe you heard it from your pharmacist or saw it somewhere. You remember it now and can save the pharmacist’s time to write the doses. A serious point to get your job is assisting your boss.
Lastly, they might ask for some doses to examine your statement upon you. Be prepared to answer them; otherwise, say no. Don’t try any guess here. Giving a wrong drug dose can cost a pharmacy a considerable fine. They don’t want a technician to provide inaccurate information to customers.
How Would You Handle A Frustrated Customer?
Firstly, you have to understand what does he mean by a frustrated customer? In a busy pharmacy, patients usually want to get their drugs and leave as soon as possible. Sometimes a single patient has a long prescription serve, so the queue becomes long unwantedly.
This is your job to do the following-
- Ask them politely to calm down and wait for their turn
- Tell them that their order is in progress
- Do not raise your voice to them
- Diffuse the frustration of your customer
Not everyone follows the same technique to oversee a situation. You may have a better way to do so.
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Can You Spot Errors in Medications and Drugs?
The knowledge of drugs is quite essential to get a Pharmacy Technician job. A good pharmacy technician is very good at spotting defects in drug packets, tags, or even cartoons.
A skilled pharmacy technician should be able to understand a proper medical prescription. This is important because drug addicts may come with a fake prescription. You may give away supplies without consulting your supervisor or pharmacist.
So gaining knowledge about these facts is vital to satisfy your employer getting this job. A quality diploma might work just fine to acquire essential knowledge.
Pharmacy Technician Interview Math Test
Pharmacy Technician Interview might add a math test. Now why a math test is necessary to become a pharmacy technician?
A pharmacy technician needs to know the necessary addition, subtraction, fractions, percentages, tiny weight calculations. These sections are required because a small error in dosage may result in severe health damage or even death. Down here, I listed some topic you might need to cover to pass a Pharmacy Technician Interview Math Test-
Firstly, algebra is what makes you solve problems. Secondly, there is a direct relation to real-life solutions to algebra. So you might need to review those lessons somewhere. Solving small equations, square roots, and cubic roots are necessary for a counter person.
Dosage changes proportionally to a standard. So you have to calculate the ratio and give medicine accordingly. Do you get how important it is to know algebra?
Accounting works where you need to calculate losses and profits. So, in a way, your accounting lessons might come in handy in this job. You won’t face any complex problems in the question paper. But without basics, you can not answer them also.
Insurances, total sales in a day, inventory tracking, etc. are calculations that need accounting background
Conversions of Units
In the pharmaceutical sector, one has to have this ability as a prerequisite. Tablets and capsules are tagged with ‘milligram‘ unit, but Syrups, saline, and injections are classified with ‘ml/milliliter‘ unit.
Sometimes a doctor prescribes a 500 mg tablet in liquid form or injection. You will have to convert the ‘mg’ into ‘ml’ cautiously and adequately. Otherwise, bad things can happen.
In another case, sometimes, a syrup can replace a capsule dose and vice-versa. If you do not have the particular medicine available, then with proper conversion knowledge, you can prescribe an alternative.
Measurements are necessary to inspect a drug. Mostly used in laboratories, a pharmacist can tell you to do some work for him. There, you will need the knowledge of ppm (parts per million), ppb (parts per billion), and many other micro measurements.
All these sections are typical in a Pharmacy technician interview math test. Algebra comes in the highest numbers, but you can think of passing the exam without others.
If you think you missed your algebra, maths, accounting classes in high school, then you can try an excellent online course.
Click this link to get a sample math question from a pharmacy school.
All over the United States, PT salaries do not vary. But you can check different websites and official government sites to know the update. I discussed the average and annual salary at the starting of this blog. You can also get an idea from there.
Remember, ‘they’ will always try to lessen your salary. Even one dollar saved means one million dollars save annually from all employees. So negotiation is a must when they ask about it. This conversation depends on your ability to bargain.
Pharmacy technician interview questions are tricky. You not only need to be calm and collected but also competent to answer smartly. The interviewer or the pharmacist may ask personal, academic, and IQ questions to assess your ability.
Don’t be afraid or nervous. If you know, then the confidence is just a matter of time. Rehearse the questions in the blog and prepare a 3-minute bio of yourself to impress your boss. This diploma can help you get a suitable job as a pharmacy technician.