Recruiting the right trainee pharmacist

With increased student numbers, finding a trainee pharmacist may be less difficult than in the past, but finding the right one for your pharmacy might be slightly more challenging.

To do this, in the same way that a trainee will need to sell themselves to you, the pharmacy will need to sell themselves to the trainee.

Here are our top tips to help you find the right trainee, many of which are parallel to our trainee tips.

Things to consider when recruiting:

  • Start looking early - this will mean that you have a greater pool of trainees to choose from. It will demonstrate that you are thinking ahead and you will also be attracting trainees that are doing the same. If you do end up recruiting late there is a good chance you will need to articulate why.
  • Consider what factors are the most important when choosing a trainee pharmacist; which are essential and which ones you are prepared to be more flexible about?
  • What services or other activities are you or your team involved in?
       - How can you use this information to attract the most suitable candidates and sell the position during interview?
       - What opportunities to work with/shadow other people in related or associated roles do you provide/facilitate? E.g. addiction teams, vets, dentists, cancer nurses etc.
       - Are there any particular skills or experiences that you have that you would share with the trainee which they might not experience elsewhere?
  • Will you provide any dedicated study time? How will it be managed?
  • What is it that attracts you to having a trainee pharmacist?
  • What additional activities can you as a tutor or your pharmacy team expose the trainee to? E.g. LPCs, training evenings etc.
  • Will you be enrolling the trainee on a support programme?
       - If so, which one?
       - How is it funded?
       - Will you provide travel expenses?
       - Is it classed as working time or a day off?
    Use this information to help attract the best candidates, it shows that you are serious about the training and are willing to invest in them.
  • Has the pharmacy had a GPhC inspection yet? Use any positive feedback to sell your pharmacy.
  • Would you consider employing the trainee at the end of the year?
  • Why do you believe the trainee should choose your particular pharmacy over and above any other pharmacy?
  • Did you and your team feel a rapport with the potential trainee; can you imagine yourself working alongside the team?
  • Consider offering a one day work trial. This can be used to help you decide between candidates as well as see the suitability of the applicant and how they react and respond to you, your team and your customers. It also gives you an opportunity to demonstrate why your placement is their best option.
  • What will you ask in an interview? Make sure you have a structured list of questions, considering:
       - What experience of working in a pharmacy does the trainee have?
       - What is the trainee's university attendance record like?
       - What additional activities or responsibilities has the student undertaken; what does this tell you about them?

Finding the right trainee is incredibly important because you will be spending a great deal of time working very closely together and through this, play a major part in the pharmacist your trainee will become.

Make sure you find out as much as possible in interview and if you are undecided as yet on which training support programme to enrol them upon, take a look at what is offered with Buttercups.