3 Simple Ways to Prevent High Pharmacist Turnover at Your IHS Facility

An Indian Health Service site called us recently & requested an experienced IHS contract pharmacist because their permanent pharmacist left unexpectedly. They’ve had trouble keeping the last 2 pharmacists they’ve hired. Each time they went to look for a pharmacist, they were in a crunch. Have you been in that place before, when you had to hire someone because you had a need, and then your new hire didn’t end up staying for long?

What can you do to prevent hires from not working out?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The best time to look for a new hire is when you don’t need one. That way, you can be making connections without that sense of urgency clouding your judgment. Network with pharmacists you meet at different conferences & trainings –ones that you feel could be a great addition to your team . Talk to them proactively about the possibility of working at your IHS/tribal facility (whether now, or down the road).

2. Ask interview questions that are a little off-beat and give you more insight about what drives your potential pharmacist hire. I went to my first interview last week since I was in pharmacy school (was asked to be a Board member of an organization), and was amazed that I guessed each question they asked me ahead of time. None of the questions offered any element of surprise to test me to answer in a non-prepared, spontaneous way (of course, I do have an unfair advantage from knowing what hiring managers typically ask, compared to other candidates). An example of an off-beat question is “What gets you excited about going to work every day?” or “What do you like to do as a pharmacist where you feel like you are really using your skills & interests?” (well, the latter one may not be as off-beat, but you get the picture…something different than the typical “why do you think you’re good for this position?”)

Aside from a couple of off-beat questions, ask questions that give you more than typical insight about your candidate. Want access to the top 10 pharmacist interview questions to ask, so you can prevent hires who don’t last? Click here now to get instant access to our insider’s interview cheat sheet:

3. Depending on your own goals of how long you want people to stay working at your pharmacy & what roles you need someone for, evaluate them with your needs in mind.

Sometimes you may want someone to work at your pharmacy more than they actually want to. Find out why they are applying—is there a good reason why they are interested in your facility?

Take the person’s own career path into consideration. Are they at a point in their career where this role you’re hiring for fits in well, or do things not really match up? One thing I see is pharmacy directors hiring a pharmacist based on fit and overlooking past behavior, and then being disappointed by their hire leaving within a short time frame.

One example of this is when a candidate seems to be a great fit, but tends to move every few years. If you’re looking for someone to grow longer-term than that with your pharmacy, then put your antennas out for how past behaviors don’t really match up with your needs.

While you’re hiring, if you want access to IHS-experienced temp pharmacists so that your pharmacy doesn’t feel the burden of being short-staffed, click here for your options.