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Interview Tips for Students from Residents

Friday, January 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gabrielle Webster
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Pieces of Advice from Residents to Students on Interviews:

  1. Try to imagine yourself working within that hospital, that department, and with those coworkers to evaluate culture and fit.
  2. Don’t compromise the things that are must-haves for you in a program or in a hospital.
Jonathan Burns, PharmD
PGY-2 Pharmacy Resident – Infectious Diseases
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Be honest, prepared to talk about what’s on your application, and cognizant of the fact that you are evaluating the program as much as they are evaluating you.

Jerika V. Nguyen, PharmD, BCPS
PGY-2 Critical Care Pharmacy Resident
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  1. Your personality is one of the most important factors. Do not hide it, instead, embrace your personality to be a part of your interview. It allows for you as well as the program to see if you are the right fit for each other. If the atmosphere did not feel right, it might not have been the right one for you and that is okay!
  2. Not every question has to be related to the program. In addition to the questions you have about the program, be prepared with a question that allows you to get to know the interviewers better as a person and not just an interviewer. For example, 'what do you like to do for fun?'This opens an opportunity for you to view their interests, personalities, and mindsets.
Jasica Truong, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Lehigh Valley Health Network
The best piece of advice I can offer to students going through the interview process is the best piece of advice that was given to me by my mentor. Make sure that you incorporate your interaction with the RPD into your program ranking process. One of the most important parts of your residency year is having an RPD that you can go to for advice and to give and receive feedback. If you’re not able to hold a good conversation with them at the interview, it may not be the best fit for you! Remember, this next year or two of your life is going to be challenging, so you want to be somewhere that you feel your RPD is approachable and someone who advocates for their residents. Part of my success and happiness at my programs have been the relationship with my RPDs.
Melissa Murphy, PharmD
PGY2 Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Resident
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
via Twitter:
Make a list of basic personal questions and situational based questions you may get asked and write out your answers to those! Having these answers already in mind will help even if you get asked a question you didn’t anticipate! It also pays to know what’s going on in pharmacy news! You’ll have a lot of time outside of the interview sessions to chat with people and it’s good to be able to make small talk during that time
Gianna G.@pinkapothecary
Remember, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you! You are going to spend a significant amount of time wherever you match, so be sure to get the information you need from the residents, program directors, and preceptors to determine whether they are the best fit for you and your goals!
Maxwell Norris
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

If you are interviewing with other candidates during an interview, do not compare yourself to them.Interviews are about whether you are a good fit for a program AND if a program is a good fit for you.Go into interviews feeling confident in your own accomplishments and abilities; getting caught up on other candidates during your interview will only take away from what you have to offer to the program and find out if the program is a good fit for YOU.
Christine L. Zdaniewski, PharmD
PGY1 Resident
UPMC Hamot
I know it sounds really cheesy, but don’t be afraid to truly be yourself. Residency sites want to know if they’ll enjoy actually having you around for a whole year. So if you have something that you’ve done that’s unique or different or even a little weird, definitely mention it! Bonus points if it isn’t pharmacy related.
Jose Alejandro Roman, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest
My advice is to be as prepared as possible before going into the interview. If you have thought about how to respond to interview questions and what questions to ask the program beforehand it can help to lessen nervousness the day of the interview. This will help you put your best foot forward!
Ariel Korlinchak, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
  1. Some sites require patient cases or reviews, make sure to review important topics or topics specific to the interview site!
  2. The interviews can be an all-day process, which can be draining. Make sure to be as prepared as you can and to get a good nights sleep beforehand.
  3. Make sure to review the site’s website and do your research. You want to be able to ask them questions about their program to make sure it fits what you are looking for in a residency.
Meghan Martin, PharmD
PGY-1 Pharmacy Resident
  • Be on time (which means be at least 1/2 hr early.. Give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the hospital and to help get rid of nerves)
  • Look up the place and the people that are interviewing you. It's a two-way interview so have questions for them too and genuinely show interest in their program.
  • Don't let your guard down...yet be yourself. You are being interviewed even when you think you're not (walks btw sessions, lunch, casual small talk etc). However, don't say what you think they want to hear and make sure you are yourself. Chances are they have heard the "book answers" so being yourself would help you be more memorable.
  • Eat breakfast, get your coffee and stay energetic from the moment you walk into when you walk out. Wear comfortable yet professional shoes. Some hospitals are big and the tours would mean a lot of walking, so make sure you are comfortable walking.
  • Jot down notes right after the interview with your impressions and how you felt about the program. Having a standard process (ex: pros and cons, 1-10 ranking of what's important to you, etc) to evaluate the programs will help you with final ranking later. Do this as soon as you leave the interview so you don't forget details. Also, jot down something specific about the people that interviewed you so that you are able to personalizeyour thank you notes.
  • Look up common interview questions and practice practice practice! Record yourself during the practice sessions so you can see how you respond and you will notice what you might need to work on (ex: filler words, hand gestures, etc).
  • Lastly, be confident and be positive!
Jola Salvaci, PharmD

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