Interviews are the only means for a company to decide if a candidate is suitable to work for the organization or not. Interviews help the interviewers form an opinion about the interviewee beyond their academic grades. This is the only opportunity an interviewer gets to assess the candidate not just on the technical/hard skills required for the job and the competency but also for soft skills such as attitude, communication, people skills etc.

Hence, interviews need to be taken very seriously. Be it an Entry Level Job or the job of Senior VP, recruiters are looking for people who will make a positive contribution to the growth of the company. Importantly, those to whom a candidate is expected to report functionally, that interviewer would be very hard on the interviewee.

Especially if you are a Pharmacy Graduate, the interviewer is likely to ask bumper questions like what is Rideal Walker Coefficient. No one will expect the interviewee to take 10 min and explain the theory behind RW coefficient. As an interviewer, I have always asked this question to Fresh Pharmacy Graduates. Usually, their explanation for it has been “Sir, it has been taught to us in the second semester and after 8 semesters we have forgotten about the same”. However, one cannot afford to forget such basic terms such as the RW coefficient which was taught in Microbiology. It is a red flag!!

Yet another subject which is conveniently ignored by the students is Biochemistry. Very simple question can be asked - what is another name of Kreb's Cycle and a candidate is expected to know such basics.

The reason for asking these questions, especially in a fresh graduate interview, is that the candidate is expected to contribute and perform for the company as soon he / she is onboarded. He / she does not know anything about the job content and what is considered as a good performance, what is average and what is below average. Interviewers are trying to figure out if the person can retain certain parts which has been taught to him/her in the college, his/her attention to details and possibly judge if he/she can be useful for the company.

It is not expected, especially for a Fresh Graduate and Entry level job, that the candidate must give correct answers. He /she is measured by an attempt to answer what’s been taught in college, the communication and the vocabulary and the confidence. Like I used to ask many people if they can describe Cannizzaro's Reaction. It is not expected that the candidate should draw structure of Alcohol and Water and how does it make aldehyde or Ketone. I liked especially two candidates. One started with an Imaginary Swedish Scientist Cannizzaro having won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1949 for his discovery. And another candidate simply answered to me it is a Ring Expansion Reaction. So, it’s all about alertness and how a candidate approaches an interview question.

It is expected that besides the basics of the course the candidate is expected to know in detail about the role for which he / she is being interviewed. One must also go through the company details, job profile and what is expected from the candidate. Any negligence in this part reflects very poorly on the candidate.

It is also expected that the candidate confidently tells what is Salary Expected and he / she should not be too below or too above the reality. Answering that "as per company rules" does not leave a strong impression (anyways companies will always offer only whatever they wish to offer).

Atul Bhopale
Mentor - PlatPharm