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The Job Interview: the Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Posted on: October 08, 2019

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written by

Alex Evans, PharmD

Interview Intext

In my previous articles, I’ve mentioned that I have been both a hiring manager and an applicant, so have a unique perspective on the hiring of pharmacists (and I believe much of this applies to all clinicians).

In this two-part series, I’ll cover what it is really like in the other person’s shoes; for applicants, it is helpful to understand what the hiring manager is thinking, while for hiring managers, it is helpful to understand what the clinician is thinking. Both parties can benefit from each article, but I am primarily writing for the opposite party: if you are a hiring manager, stay tuned for the clinician’s perspective; if you are a clinician, be sure to keep reading.

Here are the top things as hiring managers we want you to know:

We still have our job to do.

I know that you are excited to hear back from us about the job, but please know that, with every interview I’ve conducted, my job has also been to staff as well as manage the pharmacy. If you have not been a manager before, I’ll give you an idea of what it entails: scheduling, resolving conflict among staff members, safety and quality initiatives, new business initiatives, legal compliance and record-keeping, inventory management, handling subpoenas and records requests, income statement reviews, and troubleshooting the computer system, just to name a few.

I haven’t forgotten you, but by the time I interview a few candidates and have time to review each candidate it might be a few weeks.

    What should I do?

    Politely follow-up, but not too soon. I like to think of the interview as similar to the ‘flirting’ stage of dating: come on too strong and you might scare us away. Disappear and we might think you don’t care. It is a balancing act, but as a general rule this should be OK:

    • After the interview: Follow up with a thank you (but don’t expect a response at this time),
    • One week later: Follow up with the status and when to expect to hear more, then,
    • 3-4 days after when the hiring manager said they would respond: If you still haven’t heard, follow up again.

    For travel assignments, you are more likely to hear a decision at the end of your interview call, but your recruiter will be able to answer questions about what to expect with the hiring timeline.

    I have some pet peeves. 

    I’m human too, and there are some things that are an immediate “no” for me when considering an applicant. While those pet peeves will differ among hiring managers, I can almost guarantee none of these examples would be seen as positive by other hiring managers. Here is a list of things I have immediately written off candidates for:

    • A sloppy resume: Poor formatting, numerous typos (if you can’t be accurate with your resume how can you be accurate when reviewing prescriptions?), grammar mistakes, etc. In short, your resume should reflect you as an educated professional.
    • Tardiness: If you show up late to the interview, in person or over the phone, I am very unlikely to hire you because I don’t want to deal with attendance problems after you are hired. 
    • Complaining about current/past employers: They may be bad, but if you are complaining to me about any current or past employer, I get the impression you could quickly become unhappy in my department if it doesn’t fit your ideals.
    • Lack of motivation: I actually had a pharmacy technician candidate ask me at the end of an interview once, “Is this an easy job?” Don’t do that! I might pick up on more subtle queues about motivation and I might not. However, every manager wants employees that are intrinsically motivated to do their best.

    What should I do?

    Have a polished resume (in my opinion, hiring a resume writer is best), show up on time, and think through your interview. What kinds of questions do you think you might be asked? When interviewing, use the STAR technique to address how you handled a situation, present good energy, and most of all – don’t complain! This is the hiring manager’s first impression of you.

    Show up on-time and ready to go for onboarding.

    We picked you and you got the job! Now we have a date in mind for you to start and are mapping out your training, and adding you to the schedule after you are trained. The company has specific start dates to streamline orientation of candidates and we have targeted a specific date, but then you don’t show up for TB testing, you miss too much of the orientation and have to repeat it, you don’t come with the right paperwork, etc.

    Some of these are more minor and you might still keep the job, but you will also give me a bad first impression. Some are severe enough (missing orientation) that I might just terminate your employment before you even start.

    Which ones are severe enough? It actually depends – if I had another very strong candidate I almost hired I might just call that candidate back and offer them the job.

    Work with your recruiter to know exactly what's needed ahead of time, and you'll start off on the right foot.

    What should I do?

    To start, none of the above. Work closely with your recruiter, HR, and whomever else we put you in touch with to ensure you are on-track to start on the target date. If they ask for a document, to show up at a certain time/place, etc. – do it. Don’t let me hear about anything again until you are ready to start in my department; after all, I also have my job to do (see #1).

    Ask me about department specifics prior to starting.

    It looks especially good if you ask about dress code (i.e. do you wear a specific color of scrubs? Khakis or black pants?), what time to arrive on your first day in my department, etc. That way expectations are clear and you come ready-to-go on your first day.

    What should I do? 

    Email me. A phone call is OK, but the problem with a phone call is that I might be in the middle of something (again, see #1) and it could interrupt me, mess up my current train of thought, and put me on the spot to answer questions I don’t answer very often. Email allows me to take the next day or two responding to you, at my own convenience. Now that is managing up!

    Ready to tackle your next interview? Contact a BHS recruiter today to explore our open positions!

    Alex Evans, PharmD
    About Alex Evans, PharmD

    Alex Evans, PharmD, BCGP is a community pharmacist and medical writer based out of Jacksonville, FL. He graduated from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro with a BS in Biology and from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He has experience in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy, long term care, outpatient health-system pharmacy, and academia. He is particularly interested in medication safety and supply chain as well as in compliance and legal issues pertaining to the community pharmacy setting. He is currently pursuing an MBA from West Texas A and M University.