Pharmacy organizations, like other organizations, will generally hire applicants for positions (pharmacists, technicians, other support personnel) who are most qualified and how they best fit or match the values of that organization. Even while certain hiring practices can always be improved, pharmacists should take note of what employers are looking for in their hires.
Alston et al examined the desirable characteristics of new pharmacy graduates for hire.1 They used a tool called the Hiring Intent Reasoning Examination (HIRE) to survey pharmacists in several states. Nearly 4,000 respondents evaluated 48 different markers. Character traits were ranked consistently higher than academic traits. Among the most highly evaluated markers were politeness, communication skills, coming to work prepared, active listening, keeping one’s temper in check, following directions, demonstrating respect, and the ability to work independently. Among the markers evaluated less important were graduation with honors, student government leadership participation, past research experience, and higher than average NAPLEX scores. It should be noted that a strength of this study was the varied work settings from which pharmacists were sampled and responded. However, it also should be noted that the response rate was low and that if the sample was focused on persons specifically like residency directors or those in unique settings requiring specific skills and/or certifications with greater work experience, that the results might have been a bit different.
Pharmacy managers are looking to hire pharmacists with good communication skills and emotional intelligence, with the right demeanor and work ethic. This does not obviate the need to perform well academically, but young pharmacists should note the importance of these attributes when considering what characteristics managers and peers prefer in a colleague.
Additional information about Human Resources Management Functions and Creating and Managing Value can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 4e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Alston GL, Marsh W, Castleberry AN, Kelley KA, Boyce EG. Pharmacists’ opinions of the value of specific attributes in hiring decisions for entry-level pharmacists. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sapharm.2018.07.004.