So I have an interview for a pharmacy technician position tomorrow at a local drug store (major national chain) and after searching the sub for a bit I thought I may as well post. I’m looking for specific tips and information anyone here may be willing to share that I could read up and or ask tomorrow during my interview. I have 5 years experience working in a local hospital with patients but not in Pharmacy so I’m just soliciting any advice or tips anyone is willing to share would be greatly appreciated….Thanks
As for interviewing specifically for a drug store, emphasize the fact that you can work well as a member of a team, and maybe provide examples of when you’ve done this and why you’re good at it. Most retail pharmacies (aside from very slow ones) function best when everyone works together and communicates well. Regardless, I’m sure your experience working in a hospital will benefit you greatly over the competition. Relax and don’t worry about it so much; you’ll be fine.
I’ve been in retail for 15 years, and thankfully only spent <1 year of that as a pharmacy manager. Qualities I looked for in pharmacy technicians: 1/ Does not get ridiculous amounts of narcotics filled at my pharmacy, and thinks he should would make a great tech because he gets his Soma, bars, OPs, and Percs filled on different days of the month and therefore is qualified because he spends a lot of time at the pharmacy; 2/ schedule flexibility (day shifts, evening shifts, weekends, holidays are all a must); 3/ a full set of natural teeth; 4/ clean and presentable clothing and good hygiene in general; 5/ speaks very understandable English; and finally, 6/ if he’s certified, I need him to understand his certification means nothing to me and in no way makes him a better pharmacy technician than my veteran, uncertified pharmacy technicians (my state does not require pharmacy technician certification).
Now, I know this post sounds facetious, but it totally the opposite. In retail, and especially my chain, our pharmacy technicians are paid barely above minimum wage. The job doesn’t usually attract the upper echelon of society. We seriously get applicants who think that they get to try the drugs if they work at the pharmacy and applicants who think they know it all because they’re in the pharmacy twice a week.
As for the teeth and good clothing and hygiene and speaking good English – customers will complain about ANYTHING. Most complaints are considered “chargeable” complaints, i.e. for every complaint, $2500 is “charged” to our pharmacy and taken off our bottom line. One complaint our store was “charged” for: our PDM was helping us out and running register one day. He is of Middle Eastern descent and has a fairly decent accent. Customer called and complained and asked for “more English-speaking people” working behind the counter.
As for being “nationally certified” – it’s useless to me. I need you to know how to spell, pronounce long-but-very-easily-sounded-out words, type, read, speak, and do basic math. Most importantly, I need you to run the register and run interference between me and the patient when a pharmacist’s intervention or presence is not required. I need you to listen to what I say and remember things I teach you. I need you to ask questions when you’re unsure about something. I need you to work every hour as if you’re earning $20/hour, not $8/hour. I need you to show up to work. No fancy certificate is going to teach you those things. I would rather you have a completely open mind about pharmacy to allow me to teach you how things are done in the real world.
I’m sorry to be the negative voice of reality here, but let’s dispense with the sing-songy fairytale bull crap and be real.
As a pharmacy technician only for 1 year working in an extremely busy CVS, it’s about accuracy, speed, and friendliness. If you lack any of these, retail is not for you.
Every time I walk buy rite-aid, target, or other pharmacies, I get so jealous that there is barely a line and there is like.. 2-3 people in the pharmacy (Where we have 5-6, 3 close though) just on their computers and in no rush and probably getting paid more than I am.
You come across very angry and seem to hate your job. There are so many different types of pharmacy careers, why don’t you get away from retail for a while?
There are days I hate my job, but for the most part I find it very tolerable. The bull pucky has no place in a retail pharmacy, though. I’m telling it like it is. Let’s face it: the guy at Starbuck’s making your frozen mocha makes more money and gets more staffing than the pharmacy technician filling your prescription.
It’s a decent profession and a good job to have in the grand scheme of life. It has its ups and downs, just like any job. However, if people go into retail with all these warm-and-fuzzy expectations, they’re in for a very abrupt and agonizing awakening.
Being realistic is very different than being angry, and it is also very different from la-la-fairy-land.
I would make sure to emphasize your past experiences interacting with other patients in a healthcare setting. Pharmacies want people that are able to deal with difficult individuals and have strong interpersonal skills. Also, make sure you showcase your previous healthcare experience in a positive way, and are comfortable working in that setting. Also, if you have an interest in pharmacy, that will obviously help you, because there is a lot to learn, even as a pharmacy technician. Good luck!
Thsnks, I have a broad interest in healthcare and thought this may be good way to explore a new area while still in school.
I had an pharmacy technician interview a few weeks ago and had to answer the typical interview questions and in addition the interviewer had me do worksheets that had calculations for day supply and quantities, some ‘what would you do in this situation’ questions, I had to count in front of him and had to type about 100 words. I would emphasize team work and customer service skills. Good luck to you!