Episode 50

PGP Fundamentals: Being a Standout Candidate Part 2

This episode is all about all about Being a Standout Candidate: Part 2. If you haven't already, go back and listen to Part 1 to discover how to shine as a candidate leading up to residency application deadlines. Here, we discuss being a standout candidate during the interview process and beyond.

Joining us is Dr. Elizabeth Hearn, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and the creator/host of the Pharm Five podcast.

Questions we discuss:

  • What elements from the pre-interview still maintain importance through interviews
  • Which elements are less important or become obsolete
  • How branding or selling yourself change during in-person interviews or Zoom calls

This episode's take-aways:

  • Organization and professionalism remain crucial during the chaotic interview season.
  • Reflect on past experiences, showing a growth mindset and resilience.
  • Be prepared to discuss every aspect of your application materials, including potential weaknesses.
  • Finding the balance between professionalism and personality is key.

What should you do now?

  • Maintain organization and professionalism throughout the interview process.
  • Reflect on your past experiences and be ready to discuss personal and professional growth.

What should you do later?

  • Continue embodying a balance of professionalism and personality in your personal and professional life.
  • Strive for excellence, understanding that being a standout candidate is an ongoing process.

Check out our website and sign-up to join the SASO (separate and stand out) squad. Check out our blog. If you like the show, support us by telling your friends or colleagues about it. You can also support us by clicking the coffee button on the website and buying us a cup of coffee or getting yourself some of our premium merch.

Follow us on twitter @PGPharmacist or on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn @ThePostGraduatePharmacist. What questions did we not answer? What did you think of the show?

Music | "Sweet" by LiQWYD

Watch: https://youtu.be/eIYlaVPdNYM

License: https://www.liqwydmusic.com/how-to-use

Download/Stream: https://hypeddit.com/link/un7fp7


Part 2 - Standout Candidate


So, in part two today, we'll identify how to be a standout candidate during the interview process and interview season and beyond that, because it really never stops. Yeah, I agree. You don't want to just sell yourself as a standout candidate, but show how you demonstrate that during the postgraduate training experience as well.

ersity of North Texas health [:

I didn't realize I was one of the few, so I appreciate being in that select group of people. Thank you. Yeah. We only invite our favorites back. So yeah, that list of favorites has to be a pass. Well, we're definitely happy to have you back. Uh, make sure to check out part one to hear about Dr. Hearn's postgraduate training journey, and make sure to check out the farm five podcast, um, where you'll get up to date pharmacy news in five minutes or less.

pre application application [:

Oh, yeah, that's a great question. I would argue most of it is still relevant, um, but organization, of course, is going to be huge throughout the entire process. So interview season really can be such a chaotic time. You know, you're trying to schedule meetings, plan travel, still balance your rotations and your work.

So keeping organized, um, keeping a calendar, balancing your budget is going to make this a lot easier. We talked about. Uh, also professionalism as one of the low hanging fruits. Professionalism within your communication is, is important here. When I, when you're extended an interview, you know, show your interest, respond quickly, answer every question that they pose.

ot to answer while you're at [:

them to give you. So that same professionalism and organization that you needed pre interview is going to be a common theme throughout the interview day, making sure you show up on time, that you're prepared with concrete examples of your experience. If you've been asked to provide a presentation, make sure that it's clean.

It's got neat fonts, white background, easy to read. And again, have somebody proofread that and edit your work. I will repeat that until I go blue in the face, but it really makes. makes such a huge difference there. So professionalism and organization are the two key takeaways that do extend into the interview process too.

rocess. So Elizabeth kind of [:

Uh, we did talk a bit about this on part one, and I want to kind of reiterate that. It's obsolete what you've done in the past, you can't change anything if you failed a course or you didn't get a job that you wanted, you can't change it at this point, they are obviously okay with you not being totally perfect because they offered you that interview, but they may ask you to reflect on that experience or your missteps and you should be able to do that, you know, talk about your personal and your professional growth from that loss or that failure.

d I'm really liking what I'm [:

You have, you may have thought was like questionable or, Ooh, I don't know what they're going to think about that. Yeah, absolutely. And they may ask you like, Oh, you know, I didn't notice any work experience or I didn't notice. So they may ask you about things that aren't even on your CV, trying to figure out where they are.

And so just be prepared that any question is fair game. Then we talked about branding yourself. We talked about. Selling yourself with pre-application materials, what, how does that change when you're in person face-to-face, or you're on one of these Zoom calls, how, how do you brand yourself or sell yourself then?

shine through. So the Interv [:

I know y'all have talked about before, you know, dressing professionally, muted colors, nice blazer suit, you may think throwing on a pair of fun earrings or skipping the tie makes you appear more laid back, but it may not come across that way to everybody. So professionalism in the way you dress and in the way you speak is important.

That's your first impression. Maintain that professionalism through the more serious parts of the interview, like the presentation or the patient cases, because RPDs are going to be looking for residents who can go to national conferences and make presentations and kind of fit in among the most professional professionals.

But you can contrast that high level of professionalism with when it would be appropriate to show off a silly side. So say you're at lunch, you're at coffee hour, professionalism here may make you appear a little bit boring. So loosen up, talk, talk about your family, your friends, uh, what you're watching on Netflix.

r candidates who are kind of [:

And you will be asked a million times, you know, that, that little question, tell me about yourself. It's awkward, but it's a great opportunity to talk about your personal interests too. So. You can, and you should say what pharmacy school you hail from and what area of pharmacy practice you're interested in, but also include personal moments here.

You know, if you have kids share their names, if you like to run marathons, talk about that. Uh, try to avoid saying things like, Oh, I don't do much outside of school cause I never have time. Or when I do, I just watch Netflix all the time. I mean, that's common. Every, everybody does that. Um, give them something with a little bit more pizzazz and still try to keep it, you know, within that.

ant and preparing as much as [:

I always love that movie, The Intern with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Have you seen that? Oh yeah. Yeah. I've seen that. I love the part. And I always tell it to my students where they say about the, the airport. Layover tests where they say, is this the person you want to be sitting next to for five hours at the airport, at the bar, when your flight's laid over, like, is that, do they, you, can you pick up, can you carry a conversation?

Are they interesting to talk to outside of just the purely work stuff? Yeah. And I think that's what they're looking for. Programs want that. And especially if you're on an interview day with other candidates, you know, they may be trying to. Test with these two people be good Coke co residents. So talk, get to know everybody there.

much as it is your chance to [:

So when does trying to be a standout candidate stop, if ever? Well, of course I have to tell you, it never stops, you know, through residency, I'm into my professional life and I'm still trying to be a standout person. You know, I think that's a kind of a common thread in the professional pharmacy, that desire to do our best to never stop pursuing excellence ways to continue that throughout your career is.

To kind of embody that balance of professionalism and personality that we just talked about, you know, try to avoid one or the other taking control all the time. You are both a pharmacy professional who does require continuing education. You have to possess leadership skills. You, you gotta focus on patient safety.

But at the end of the day, [:

And I think investing in both personal and professional aspects of life makes you a better and more well rounded and more standout individual, even after residency's over. Yeah, this is a major part of your life. I think you, it's really good to be able to look back on it positively. Be that person.

They're like, Oh, they were great. Oh, they were, it was fun having them. They really showed, you know, shh, they went above and beyond. Versus the, you're, you're in the RPD's office or you're in your, uh,

you don't, you don't want to [:

Yeah, definitely, and you can impress people in different ways, you know. You don't have to impress people with your clinical knowledge all the time. Impress them with your flexibility, with your, uh, ability to roll with the punches, or to show up on time, you know. Smaller things can really make a difference and make you stand out too, as apart from just how quick you are on the draw with that drug info.

conversation at any point in [:

So. That's a skill. I wish I had that skill. Dan, teach me your ways.

All right. Well, that's all excellent advice. Elizabeth, is there any piece of advice you want to leave just kind of as a last minute, um, tip? Yeah. You know, I started as we were getting ready for this podcast, I kind of started reflecting back on what I wish I had known during the residency interview process.

And, uh, I kept coming back to this quote that I read during my residency. It was from President Obama's book. It really stuck with me. Uh, so I wanted to share with y'all, he said, enthusiasm makes up for a host of deficiencies. And I love that. I mean, there's so many times during residency or during the residency application process where you just feel deficient or inadequate.

ncy that you have, you know, [:

And in our last episode, thank you so much for joining us and be sure to check out the farm five podcast on all your major podcasting apps. Thanks so much for being here today. Thanks to y'all. Thanks for, for hosting this podcast. It really does make a big difference and I know it's a great resource for many residents and potential residents out there.

So, uh, thank y'all for having me and best of luck to everyone applying to residency.

If you want to continue to hear up to date topics from us and our guests, please like and subscribe. You can listen to us for free on your favorite podcast app and check out our show notes below to see links and highlights of the episode and remember you can separate and stand out.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for The Post-Graduate Pharmacist
The Post-Graduate Pharmacist
Expert advice on how to get a pharmacy residency, fellowship, or other post-graduate training experience

About your host

Profile picture for Sean Smithgall

Sean Smithgall

Assistant Clinical Professor at Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy. Completed a PGY1 pharmacotherapy residency at Geisinger Medical Center and a PGY2 ambulatory care residency at East Tennnessee State University, Gatton College of Pharmacy. Interests include family medicine, post-graduate training preparation, and making podcasts.