Category: Professional Posters
Purpose: Pharmacy post-graduate residencies remain in high demand and due to the number of students seeking residencies growing faster than the number of available residency positions, residencies are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. On-site pharmacy residency interviews consist of many situations in addition to traditional one-on-one and panel interviews. Interviews may include student presentations, patient cases or demonstrations of clinical skills, and a meal. In 2015, our school of pharmacy developed a mock interview design to fully immerse students in the tense interview environment and prepare them for residency interviews.
Methods: The faculty-organized mock residency interviews at our school of pharmacy place students in the following interview settings: two separate traditional 1-on-1 interviews, 3 interviewers with 1 candidate, 2 interviewers evaluating a 5-minute formal candidate Powerpoint presentation, a clinical case where candidates have 15 minutes to evaluate and develop written recommendations, a follow-up 1-on-1 interview to discuss the clinical case, and a group lunch scenario with other candidates and current pharmacy residents. Each interview setting lasts 15 minutes and 24 students rotate through all areas over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes. The mock interview event takes place on one evening in early January, before actual residency interviews begin. 24 fourth-professional year pharmacy students can participate in this process, with a total of 38 faculty members, pharmacists, and current residents acting as interviewers. Candidates submit their CVs in advance to be reviewed by their interviewers. Feedback is not provided live in order to preserve the realistic atmosphere of the event. Each interviewer provides written feedback which is compiled, de-identified, and returned to students after the conclusion of the event. Each student received 2-3 pages of strengths and weaknesses.
Results: Our school of pharmacy has held this event annually for five consecutive years. The event has expanded from 12 to 24 students and new interview scenarios were introduced over time. The two greatest strengths of the above format are the lengthy time candidates spend in a formal interview format without breaks and the variety of situations they experience during the evening. Pharmacy residency interviews can be quite lengthy and a short mock interview session, although valuable, does not prepare candidates for the mental fatigue associated with remaining in a performance mode for hours. Possible areas for further development include expansion to involve more candidates, standardization of interview questions, and more areas of assessment or addition of objective assessment items. At this time, it is unknown how this residency mock interview design impacts students and whether it improves their performance on real interviews or confidence leading into real interviews, therefore this does not allow assumption that this particular mock interview design improves student outcomes. Significant participation by pharmacists, preceptors, and faculty members is essential to run a large scale mock interview simulation. Otherwise, minimum infrastructure is required to develop the interview program.
Conclusion: This pharmacy residency mock interview format describes a comprehensive design intended to be similar to actual pharmacy residency interviews. This particular event has been successfully hosted by our school of pharmacy for five years and allowed many students to practice interviewing in an environment similar to what they may experience on actual residency interviews. Implementation of this or a similar process relies on a precise schedule and widespread participation of faculty members and pharmacists to act as interviewers and provide feedback.