Need interview tips/advice.

  • bmoney1

    Posts: 244

    Feb 21, 2012 5:51 AM GMT
    I am preparing for an interview at a pharmacy school in Chicago. Come to find out, the interview will be a group interview. Three interviewers against three applicants. I am semi-nervous about this setup as I have never had a group interview of any kind. Especially one of this magnitude. There will be no individual interview of any kind, so I am wondering if you have any advice for how I am to set myself apart from the group without being obnoxious. I know many of you here have been through interviews for admission into a doctoral program of some kind, so please help!!
  • BmwKid92

    Posts: 1097

    Feb 21, 2012 6:00 AM GMT
    dress nice, Smile.
  • maxferguson

    Posts: 321

    Feb 21, 2012 7:19 AM GMT
    My best advice would be find people who just got in last year and talk to them. They probably did the same interview. It really depends on the nature of the what's being applied for. But definitely try find some people already in the college, even if it's just on facebook and you don't know them. Just explain that you're trying to get in and not sure what to expect and wondering if they could either point you in the right direction or offer advice. The first piece of information I'd want to know is what specifically are the interviewers looking for? I know for a lot of consulting interviews they are looking not for the right answer, but logical thought process. They give you and you work through it WITH the interviewer. They're on your team. You ask them things like "Do we have any information on XYZ. If we had that information we could figure out ABC".

    In other interviews it might be a matter of a fit. Since this is a professional school whose reputation depends on the success of its graduates, they might only want a certain type of person in there. They can't be too picky, but it might simply be that if you are stuck on a technical question, you actually ask them for help. I've had an interview where they give you an estimation question (and it's something stupid....). Mine was "How many basketballs will fit in a Boeing 747?". They don't friggen know (or care). The answer to the question was "Can I borrow a pen and paper to try figure this out?" and then BS your way through it. It might be that they tell you something, and you need to have the stones to realize that what they told you was false and politely correct them.

    Your best starting point, however, would be to find someone in the school on facebook (check groups or pages or somthing). Don't be shy to message them. There's no cost to them saying no vs you not asking, and it could mean the difference between getting in. If you can't find anyone on fb, try the school's website. I've seen law schools that explicitly outline what they look for. It seems to easy, but it really reduces their applicant pool to a group that is confident they can make it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2012 3:54 PM GMT
    Go for blood but be polite. the other 2 are your direct competition. Panels are great cause the interviewers are usually too busy writing down notes to compare later, so they barely look at you.

    But the other 2 being interviewed are your direct competition. If you have an answer, make it known, but be polite and cordial about the other 2 with you, it shows good manners and thoughtfullness while still showing you have an answer and want the job.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19133

    Feb 21, 2012 4:20 PM GMT
    Go prepared...dress appropriately for an interview...try to find something that sets you apart from the others and seize on that...eye contact when speaking to the interviewer is key.
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    Feb 21, 2012 4:43 PM GMT
    they may ask u a question like:

    "out of the 2 applicamnts interviewing with you, which applicant would u choose for the pharmacy program, and why? U may only choose one"

    Last time I went on a group interview they pitted the applicants against eachother it was almost awkward.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 21, 2012 10:57 PM GMT
    I've gone through this, twice.
    Both times, I got the job.
    I dressed in a suit and tie.
    I brought a notebook and a pen, to take notes.
    I stood to greet each panelist, and shook their hands.
    I asked questions.
    I did not ask about money. If they bring it up, fine.
    I looked each person on the panel, in the face, when I was answering their questions. I concentrated on the person who had asked a question, but I regularly glanced at each of the other interviewers.
    I tried to come across as professional, but casual/friendly.
    I smiled.
    I thanked all of them.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 2:52 AM GMT
    Having gone through three of these interviews (dental school, residency, specialty), I have three advice:

    1. Appearances are more important than one would think - dress well.
    2. Greet people with a smile and a firm, confidant hand shake.
    3. Don't be negative (don't try to show off the other candidates); they want to see that you are a team player.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 3:11 AM GMT
    Import saidthey may ask u a question like:

    "out of the 2 applicamnts interviewing with you, which applicant would u choose for the pharmacy program, and why? U may only choose one"

    Last time I went on a group interview they pitted the applicants against eachother it was almost awkward.


    Are you sure that wasn't an episode of the apprentice?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 3:15 AM GMT
    sweetyork saidHaving gone through three of these interviews (dental school, residency, specialty), I have three advice:

    1. Appearances are more important than one would think - dress well.
    2. Greet people with a smile and a firm, confidant hand shake.
    3. Don't be negative (don't try to show off the other candidates); they want to see that you are a team player.

    Good advice especially #3. While you want to emphasize your good points, never do it at the expense of others. Positive attitude attracts, negative repels.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 3:24 AM GMT
    Remember that the situation is different mostly for you, not for the interviewers. To them, it's just like having three separate interviews at once. Their advantage: they don't waste their time. Your advantage: you know they'll react negatively to negative feedback.

    All the questions asked at a panel interview could also be asked at a one-on-one, but they are more specifically about a random person that is sitting there with you. What you want to get across is the same thing: I am the perfect person for the job; I will stick with it because it's what I really want to do at this point, and because it's the right thing for my career; I am focused, effective, and competent; I am a team player, not a trouble maker; I want to make your life easier, more pleasurable; and I will be a person you can rely on.

    Convince them that you (1) want to do the job, (2) are capable of doing the job, (3) are great to work with, and (4) you are not trying to outperform everybody else and it doesn't really matter what other people say or do.
  • bmoney1

    Posts: 244

    Feb 22, 2012 5:48 AM GMT
    All great tips! Thank you all for your imput, it is greatly appreciated. I would respond to each one, but for the sake of time I can't.

    I will show up in a suit, as will most other serious applicants. I plan to wear a black suit with a French cuff shirt and nice tie. Since you guys brought it up, I am curious as to your opinion on color in my attire. Everything I have googled suggests a white shirt and nothing too flashy. I have gotten a lot of suggestions to wear a colored shirt and complementary tie. Your thoughts on this as opposed to a white shirt? Mind you, this is an interview for admission into a doctoral school program, not for a job. I could rock whatever I wear, and arguably that's all that matters, just wondering if anyone has a strong opinion and supportive reasoning either way?

    I also wonder if the group interview could work to my advantage. If synergy develops between myself and the other two applicants, there might be a possibility that we deliver such a performance that renders us indistinguishable in our excellence and gains us all three admission in the program.

    My biggest concern, however, and the reason I started this thread, counts more on the possibility that I find myself in a group of unequal talents. In that situation, I am reluctant to give long answers as to not come off obnoxious or over bearing. But I am not comfortable lowering my performance to match the poor performance of others. In essence, I think it's a delicate balance and was hoping for pointers on how to handle the obvious competition for a spot in the program among my group members.

    Please don't give me the too long didn't read! But, sorry my post is so lengthy!
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Feb 22, 2012 6:18 AM GMT
    white shirt

    shine your shoes

    get a manicure

    get your hair cut a few days before

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 6:33 AM GMT
    To your concerns, the important thing to continually focus on is why you would be an asset to the program. Emphasize your strengths and what you would bring to a team environment. You shouldn't even think about the others (unless they ask you to) because that could derail you. It may help, though, to be complimentary to others achievements to show comradery, but don't overdue it to show submission.

    More importantly, make sure to emphasize why you have a passion for pharmacy school and what you hope to do with that career, without being negatively critical about the current industry.

    Make sure you are researching the culture of the school very carefully and know their mission statements and/or core values if they have any. Then, tailor your answers to those. Also, know the history of the school and any alums who've made strides/achievements within the industry.

    As far as what to wear, go conservative. White shirt with a tasteful, subdued tie. Pharmacists aren't known to be fashionistas.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 8:15 AM GMT
    First fore most be yourself, feel happy! your body language speaks a lot. When you feel happy smiley and having cheerful vibe, they just dont care how you answer but just your personality vibe do the talk.

    Always think and feel happy like a sunny day picture in mind, there's are nothing to be worry about like your going for a holiday. No tense nothing.

    Partly get your ABCs right about that job and company,look decent thats all.

    Happy smiley personality always win! icon_biggrin.gif

    dont be Lady Gaga please!
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 22, 2012 8:33 AM GMT
    LJay saidwhite shirt

    shine your shoes

    get a manicure

    get your hair cut a few days before




    YES, all very important.

    --Wear a beautiful tie, not one with pics of golf clubs or Daffy Duck on it.
    --Answer the questions the same way you would if you were doing a one on one interview.
    --If the interviewers don't explain what your responsibilities would be (on the job) ask them. And, regardless of what they say, respond with positive answers.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 9:01 AM GMT
    bmoney1 saidI am preparing for an interview at a pharmacy school in Chicago. Come to find out, the interview will be a group interview. Three interviewers against three applicants. I am semi-nervous about this setup as I have never had a group interview of any kind. Especially one of this magnitude. There will be no individual interview of any kind, so I am wondering if you have any advice for how I am to set myself apart from the group without being obnoxious. I know many of you here have been through interviews for admission into a doctoral program of some kind, so please help!!


    Hey congrats man! I went through the same process a couple years ago before starting pharmacy school. It was also a group interview, except with 4 other people. Just be yourself, and try not to sound arrogant haha. Some of the questions they're gonna ask you probably have to do with ethics, i.e. pharmacist's refusal to dispense birth control, importance of privacy to a patient's information etc. I gave both side answers and just kind of suggested which one is better.
    Good luck! You're gonna do great!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 22, 2012 9:01 AM GMT
    Be confident in your abilities. There's a way you can do that without coming off as obnoxious, cocky or whatever.

    I have been in group interviews before and while personality plays a big part, interviewers also wanna see how well you work with others, how you might react to a situation and also if you know your shit. I say bring your "A" game and let the others play catch up. That's what the other applicants are gonna be doing. This is a competition whether you want to see it that way or not.

    As one poster said above, interviewers will ask you questions that really don't have an answer. They just wanna see what you do and how you would handle it. They wanna see if you'll be a team player, try to be a "one-man" show (never a good idea) or see if you can take it upon yourself and inquire about certain things.

    Ask others in the school and do a little recon. Show that extra "hmph" if you are really serious.

    Best of luck.