Pharmacist Assistant Interview Questions (With Answers)

Updated 24 February 2023

Pharmacist assistants manage and ensure the smooth functioning of pharmacies and support the pharmacist in delivering medications while helping customers with prescriptions. The job of a pharmacist assistant requires strong attention to detail to perform various clerical duties like managing cash registers, fielding telephone calls and restocking medication or pharmaceutical supplies. If you are interested in working as a pharmacist assistant, learning about essential questions employers can ask you in the interview can help you prepare efficiently. In this article, we discuss some commonly asked pharmacist assistant interview questions and share sample answers to help guide your preparation process.

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Common Pharmacist Assistant Interview Questions

Some common pharmacist assistant interview questions include:

Did you ever face a situation where you had to tell the customer that their insurance didn't cover medication? How did you convey your message, and what was the response?

This question aims to test your problem-solving and decision-making skills, primarily when an unexpected situation arises at work. Employers can ask you this question to assess if you have the relevant skills and traits to overcome certain workplace challenges and how promptly can you think of alternative methods to solve an issue. When answering this question, consider sharing an authentic experience and expressing your state of mind clearly to help interviewers understand your levels of compassion and empathy during the situation.

Example: Most people prefer using health insurance to purchase their medicines as it saves them a lot of money, so it is natural they expect their insurance to cover their pharmacy expenses. When I worked as a pharmacist assistant in a previous role, I often encountered customers unaware of their insurance expiry dates. They would ask for medication, thinking their insurance would cover it. One such instance was about a regular customer at our store, and when she came to collect her monthly medicines, I informed her about her expired insurance.

At first, she was shocked, so I contacted her insurance company to discuss getting her insurance renewed. Since she was a regular customer and did not bring cash with her that day, I offered to give her medicines and told her she could pay me later. She refused and returned the next day with money to purchase her medications. The experience taught me how a little understanding by the pharmacist assistant can help customers navigate these experiences smoothly.

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What do you do to improve yourself as a pharmacist assistant and develop new skills?

Irrespective of the job field, employers usually prefer candidates who constantly learn and improve their knowledge and skill set. Since pharmacist assistants work with various customers daily and may encounter unexpected situations, improving one's interpersonal, listening, and customer management skills is essential. Employers can ask you this type of question to see if you challenge yourself to perform and serve your customers better and if your personality traits meet their job description. When answering, try being specific and sharing your strategies for improving yourself.

Example: There are so many innovative developments that are happening in the medical world, and I am constantly reading the latest research articles and medical journals to familiarise myself with industry standards. As a pharmacist assistant, it is crucial to have excellent customer service and computer skills. To improve these aspects of my job, I regularly enrol in online courses to update myself with the latest technological advancements. I also practice speaking with people from diverse backgrounds to improve my management and interpersonal skills.

My goal is to advance my study and understanding of pharmaceutical practices, so I am always looking for courses that I am eligible for and reading books on essential concepts like medicine, prescription and mathematical functioning. Besides reading newspaper and magazine articles, I also engage in conversations with other pharmacist assistants to boost my understanding of the industry practices.

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Tell me about a time when you had to explain the use, effects and benefits of a medicine to a customer. How did you ensure they understood you

Employers can ask you this kind of question to determine if you have the relevant knowledge and expertise in medicine and the skills to explain essential concepts to customers. They may also want to know if you can precisely describe the prescription's crucial aspects and if you can tend to customers' needs appropriately. Since the question has two parts, consider giving answers for both of them separately and personalising your response to make it more credible.

Example: When I was working in my previous pharmaceutical role, I would often meet customers who were clueless about the effects and benefits of a medicine, and they often inquired about it at the pharmacy. To ensure that I share informed knowledge with them, I keep myself updated with the uses, effects and benefits of each medicine we sell, especially those high in demand. I once had a customer who hesitated to ask about the usefulness of a blood pressure medicine, and I could sense he was afraid of coming across as unknowledgeable.*

I politely asked if he had questions regarding the medication and its treatment implications to make him comfortable. This question helped him open up with me and share his questions about the long-term effects and advantages of that medicine, which I carefully explained. He thanked me at the end of our conversation and seemed relatively relieved as he trusted our pills and prescription process.

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What qualifications and educational experience make you fit for a dynamic position like this? What helps you stand out from other candidates?

This may be a typical question that employers can ask you to determine if your educational qualifications and professional experience make you a good fit for their pharmaceutical company. They want to assess if your personality and skill set aligns with their values and if you can be an asset to help achieve their organisational objectives. When answering this question, consider giving specific answers to describe your qualifications and personality best and give examples to show how you can contribute to this job.

Example: After completing my secondary school, I registered for a one-year certificate program for a pharmacy assistant. This helped me gain relevant skills and knowledge, like reasoning, mathematics, computer training and customer management. I then worked under the mentorship of a seasoned pharmacist to get trained and enhance my experiential learning to assist the functions of a pharmacy better. Once I started working as a full-time pharmacist assistant at a previous pharmaceutical company, I enrolled in various online courses to boost my understanding of essential medical concepts, like common illnesses. I developed my technical, communication, and organisational skills to advance my learning process.

I want to work at this company because of the high quality of meditative procedures that pharmacists and medical scientists follow in your company to ensure holistic health and wellness. The CEO's mission to put people first inspires me, which is why I believe I can contribute immensely to this company and position. I am a compassionate person, and I put people first, so my values significantly align with your company's vision. My experiences and educational background make me a perfect fit for the compassionate and value-driven individual you are seeking.

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Given the tight schedule required for this job role, how do you manage your time?

Employers can ask you this question to assess your time management, organisational and prioritisation skills to determine if you are a good fit for their organisation. Since pharmacist assistants often juggle various tasks at work, such as counting and labelling medications, stocking pharmaceutical tools or medication and managing finances, having good time management skills can help them perform their job efficiently. When answering this question, consider sharing any specific strategies you use to manage your time effectively and be more productive at work.

Example: I once had two customers asking for their medications urgently since both of them were in a hurry, and I was the only assistant working at that pharmacy. They required a significant number of medicines for different health issues. After reading the prescription, I realised that their respective medicine shelves were far from each other. I learned how this could lead to a brief service delay, and I saw one customer getting upset about it. They were also willing to leave our store and purchase their medicines from another shop.

I patiently explained that it would not take much of their time and asked them to cooperate while requesting the other customer to wait a little longer. The second customer was accommodating, and after listening to me, he said he was okay with waiting and asked me to deliver the medicine to the first customer before him. Once I gave them their medications, I thanked the second customer for their patience and understanding. So, my most effective time management technique is showing gratitude to the customers and politely asking them to cooperate to help provide the best customer service experience.

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