Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:07

Interview Question: How have you handled a conflict with a doctor/patient as a pharmacist?

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Interview Question PharmacistAs a pharmacist, you know for a fact that your job is a challenging one. Obviously, the well-being of patients and the reputation of doctors are partly in your hands. Therefore, when you apply for a job, the interviewer will be interested in your past experiences – especially the conflicts you encountered. This is because they have to make sure that the people they hire are levelheaded and trustworthy.


It is possible that one of the questions will be: “Have you had a major conflict with a doctor/patient?” Moreover, the interviewer may ask you to explain how you handled the situation.

The fact is, you might or might not have experienced this, depending on how long you’ve been a pharmacist. If you have had a conflict experience, you’ll need to explain it honestly without compromising your image. If you haven’t had any such experience, the problem is knowing how you can answer the question at all.

To provide a safe yet honest answer, here are some thoughts you can ponder:

1. If you have experienced this type of conflict already, take note of these reminders:

  • Stay in control of your emotions. Usually, these types of situational questions will remind you of stressful experiences, so always remember to keep yourself guarded. Keep in mind that you are talking to the interviewer and explaining an experience; you’re not just ranting to a friend or a stranger.
  • Don’t get too specific. Maintaining the confidentiality of everyone involved is essential, so avoid naming names. Just explain the general situation and how you handled it in a diplomatic manner.
  • Choose your words wisely. To answer such a sensitive question, you might want to prepare an answer beforehand so that you won’t say anything inappropriate when the interview comes. You don’t have to memorize your speech; you just have to practice.

2. If you haven’t experienced it yet, here are some things to remember:

  • Imagine yourself being in that position. What would you do? How would you deal with it? Will you be angry and let this anger influence your response? Or, will you be patient and control your temper? How are you going to explain things to the patient or the doctor? How are you going to talk to them?
  • Think smart. Be objective and answer the questions listed above with unbiased and neutral feelings. Of course, if it was your mistake, then you have to apologize to the patient or the doctor and explain afterwards what happened. On the other hand, if it wasn’t your fault, don’t be rude about it. You have to understand and recognize the perspective of the other person involved. Patience is a virtue; understanding other people’s situations is the key to finding a solution.
  • Carefully consider what you’re going to say. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you have to use the right words to answer a very sensitive question. Don’t let your guard down. Prepare an answer ahead of time – don’t memorize; just practice.

The main point of this article is: Keep yourself calm and composed. Tell the interviewer how you can handle any conflict that might arise in the workplace. The interviewer wants to see how you can provide solutions to difficult situations, so show him or her that you’ve got what it takes to do this job.

Read 3345 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 March 2016 19:33
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 40,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.