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Conducting an Effective Interview

Conducting an Effective Interview


Just as your staff are your greatest asset, get it wrong and they  can also be your greatest liability. In an age when everyone in your business  needs to “add value” a slick interview is the first step to ensuring the time  and resources you commit to a new hire will reap returns. Even in this  challenging market, top talent is always in demand. To ensure you attract and  employ high calibre staff preparation is key.

Prepare Prepare Prepare

To ensure you get the most out of the interview you must prepare
thoroughly beforehand. This preparation should include:

  1. Ensuring a clear specification is in place, detailing both what the job entails and the person you need to fill it. This should define the qualities you would like to have in a new employee; reflecting on the characteristics of your best employees might help with this.
  2. Devising a series of interview questions that allow your applicant to demonstrate he/she has these desired qualities, talents and skills. This will then also allow comparisons to be made across all interviewees and ensure you have control over the flow of the conversation. Avoid asking illegal questions.
  3. Scheduling interviews as soon as possible from the time when you receive the CV- this will minimise fallout from the process. It is important also to allot enough time for each interview.
  4. Arranging a suitable location for the interview- preferably not in the dispensary when the store is open as you will not get the most from the time you spend with the candidate.

The Interview

1. Put the candidate at ease

Ask some casual questions not in relation to the Pharmacy or the job to relax the candidate, encouraging them firstly to open up before focusing on more specific work questions.

2. Questions

  • Ask open questions- you will get the most from the candidate through the usage of open questions- these work to allow the candidate to speak openly and candidly.
  • Use questions which will allow scoring between one candidate and another such as: Explain your approach to maintaining high standards and improving poor performance in a Pharmacy? Give me an example of a time where you’ve had to deal with a customer making an unrealistic demand? Why do you want this job? What will you bring to store/company if we employ you?
  • Tougher questioning
    – For an entry level position it will work well to focus on interview questions
    that put the candidate at ease. However, if you are interviewing for a more
    senior role e.g. Supervising or Superintendent Pharmacist, tougher questions
    may be needed to establish whether the person has the attributes required for
    the role.


3.       Probe

Clarification can then be secured by probing the candidate’s answers, delving further into specific areas.


4.      Setting Expectations

  • The interview process is also a great opportunity to set expectations- both yours and theirs.
  • To guarantee a smooth start and transition into the job you need to have a clear picture set of what you expect from your new hire and what they can expect from you in return.


5.       Selling your company/job

The interview is normally also a candidate’s first interaction with you and your store; you should use this to your advantage, telling the person about the job, the store and the team they will be working with. You have to bear in mind that this candidate may also be interviewing for a number of other opportunities and if you decide that they are the right person for your company you must do enough to make sure that they also decide that your company is right for them.

Post- Interview

Provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates. While the current candidate
may be unsuccessful, they may be perfect for a role in two years time; you
don’t want a previous interaction to have left a negative impression.


Planned interview processes increase the quality of staff in a store; having a direct effect on profitability. The customer facing element of Pharmacy further underpins the importance of affording the time to meet the person, ensuring the best candidate is selected for the role and the store. Second-rate job interview methods result in poor selection, waste time and increase staff turnover and ultimately affect customer service, moral and profits. A well planned interview will allow you to find the right person for your vacancy and give the candidate an opportunity to believe that your pharmacy and your job is the best one for them.

Cpl Healthcare- Pharmacy

For further information please call Siobhan Ryan on 01-4825408 or e-mail siobhananne.ryan@cplhealthcare.com




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