Fourth-year pharmacy students interested in applying for post-graduate residency positions were able to practice their interview skills Jan. 10-11 at the School of Pharmacy’s annual mock interview sessions. Twenty-nine faculty members, 19 residents and three staff members served as volunteers for the exercises.
The 2019 event, sponsored by the school’s Office of Professional Affairs, included 38 students representing all four School of Pharmacy campuses. Each student completed two one-on-one faculty interviews, one group residency interview and one faculty group interview. The students also presented a clinical case during the mock sessions.
Krystal Edwards, associate dean for career development, said the students were required to dress professionally and to act as if they were visiting and interviewing at the site of their preferred residency location.
“The students provided their CV and a letter of intent to interviewers to simulate the individualized residency interview,” Edwards said. “Interviews were conducted with both students and interviewers asking and answering questions, followed by immediate feedback from the interviewer.
To better help the students prepare for future interviews, Edwards said faculty volunteers were encouraged to play different roles like administrators, residency program directors and preceptors. The volunteers also were encouraged to act like people in those jobs might act if they were actually interviewing potential residents.
Each student received formal written feedback about their interviews and clinical case presentation when the mock interviews and clinical case presentations were completed. After the sessions ended, students, residents and faculty on each campus joined together for a question-and-answer session, an overall debriefing and to fill out an evaluation of the event.
One student evaluation said the different types of questions posed by the volunteer interviewers and the feedback provided at the end of each interview were the most helpful aspects of the event.
“I loved receiving feedback on the variety of questions and I feel much better prepared for the questions I will receive on interview day. The two-on-one interviews were good preparation for speaking to more than one person and good practice for the art of making eye contact with both people.”
Another student evaluation said the feedback they received after one interview helped them improve for the next interview.
“I found myself improving on answers from previous interviews in subsequent interviews and saw how the change in my answer impacted the impression I made as a potential candidate.”