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The Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Pharmacy School Interviews

The Dos and Don'ts of Virtual Pharmacy School Interviews

As a pharmacy school applicant, you know that all schools of pharmacy require an interview as part of the admissions process. But, like most things in 2020, pharmacy school interviews will likely look a bit different this year!

Instead of the traditional in-person pharmacy school interview, most colleges of pharmacy have chosen to hold virtual interviews to keep both their prospective pharmacy students and their faculty and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help you prepare for this non-traditional form of pharmacy school interview, PharmCAS has put together a list of virtual pharmacy school interview dos and don’ts. The following is an adaptation of their helpful document, which you can download here!

Before Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

Before your virtual pharmacy school interview takes place, there are a lot of things to think about—from preparation to organization. The following are the dos and don’ts you should keep in mind at this stage.

Things You Should Do Before Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

  • Be prepared, prompt, and seated in front of your webcam 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled
  • Learn the pharmacy school’s mission and curricular and programmatic structure of their PharmD program
  • Find a quiet place where you’ll have privacy without any distractions
  • Sit in a clean, well-lit room where you can be clearly seen and choose an area with a neutral background
  • Visit the PharmCAS School Directory and read the interview invitation to prepare for the right type of interview
  • Research the school’s website so you’re familiar with the program and requirements in advance
  • Check your equipment – use a device that has a secure connection and stable camera
  • If you plan to use a virtual background, be professional with your selection and test it early
  • Change your screen name to your first and last name
  • Ensure that you pay attention to the time zone the interview is scheduled in
  • Get a good night’s sleep before your interview
  • Communicate your interview schedule with others you share wi-fi with to avoid connectivity issues
  • Schedule a recorded mock interview session with your school’s career center to receive feedback on your body language
  • Have a back-up plan in place in case of equipment failure or wi-fi issues, such as a phone with the meeting login information prepared

Things You Shouldn’t Do Before Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

  • Wait until the last minute to get ready or double book yourself
  • Sit in a busy, noisy common area – make sure pets are placed in another room
  • Sit at a window with light coming in behind you or sit in the dark
  • Expect the school to solve your technical issues
  • Wait until the last minute to decide on your background
  • Wait until the last minute to learn the pharmacy school’s time zone
  • Stay up late preparing for your interview
  • Download large files or movies during your interview – it’ll slow down your internet bandwidth
  • Assume you’ll interview well online without practicing

During Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

While you’re in the middle of your virtual pharmacy school interview there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Here are a few of the most important dos and don’ts.

Things You Should Do During Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

  • Make sure that your cell phone is turned off or on silent
  • Dress professionally from head to toe, focusing on dark or soft colors and shades
  • Sit up straight in the center of the frame and have your camera at eye level
  • Be calm and relax – speak slowly and clearly
  • Be genuine, be honest, and smile
  • Treat a video interview just like an in-person interview
  • Be prepared to show your ID on camera, if asked
  • Listen carefully to questions and take your time before answering
  • Have prepared questions that reflect you researched the program in advance
  • Take notes on paper versus typing

Things You Shouldn’t Do During Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

  • Have electronic distractions in the room
  • Dress casually in a t-shirt and jeans
  • Slouch, sit sideways of the webcam, or have your camera at an awkward angle
  • Have too many caffeinated drinks that make you jittery
  • Say what you think the committee members want to hear
  • Dismiss those not officially interviewing you
  • Provide information or documentation other than what is requested
  • Rush or jumble your answers to questions
  • Take over the interview by responding with lengthy answers
  • Make avoidable noises like cell phone or computer dings and typing on a keyboard
  • Ask for information that is easily found on the school’s website

After Your Virtual Pharmacy School Interview

Once your virtual pharmacy school interview has wrapped up, there are a few things you should (and shouldn’t) do to leave a great impression. Here’s a look at the dos and don’ts for this stage of the interview process.

Things You Should Do After Your Pharmacy School Interview

  • Send a thank you email
  • Reach out if you have not heard from an admissions representative in two weeks
  • Practice patience as you understand the admissions process
  • If you promised to follow-up with an answer, do it
  • Always be humble and polite during your communications

Things You Shouldn’t Do After Your Pharmacy School Interview

  • Have grammatical errors or misspelled names in your email
  • Have alumni, elected officials, or parents contact the pharmacy school on your behalf
  • Contact the pharmacy schools too often
  • Make excuses for why you have not followed-up with a response
  • Complain about the pharmacy school on social media or in another school interview

Want More Interview Tips?

We hope these tips for virtual pharmacy school interviews are helpful as you prepare for this important step in the pharmacy school admissions process! If you’re looking for more advice, check out some of our previous blog posts:

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