Written by 11:14 am Pharmacy Careers

The Job Search – Part II: Think like an Employer

Albert Einstein, the German-born Nobel Prize winning physicist whom we thank for E=MC2, once said “We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”  This is true in many aspects of life, but maybe especially so with respect to our careers in pharmacy.   There was a mindset that created our current predicament with respect to our career problem.  When I talk to clients about their job situation, I often ask early on “What got you here?”  Typical first-responses often look to cast the blame entirely on others (a lousy boss, vindictive co-workers, bad economy).  But this approach cannot be allowed to dominate your thinking.  It offers no hope.  It leaves you a victim, and only a victim, and absolves us of the responsibility to take control of our situation and actions.  You may never be able to change your circumstances.  But you have 100% control over your response to them.  We need to think differently.

This came up in a LinkedIn conversation I had recently with a fellow pharmacist whom I respect.  Dr. Pearson and I were discussing tactics to get your foot in the door of a new career path.  I brought up job shadowing.  Here is where the conversation went:



The point of all this is to try and encourage you to begin thinking differently.  In particular, in this little blog post, I’m encouraging you (whether you have a job right now or not) to begin thinking like an employer.  Think like a boss.  Think like the one to whom you report and who, ultimately, has to take responsibility for your actions.


To begin the process of learning to think like an employer, consider (for example) the thought process and action steps which an employer must take when they need to hire someone.  Put yourself in their shoes for a moment.  Allow their predicament to be your predicament.  There’s a hole in your staff, due to losing an employee, termination or business expansion.  Whatever the reason, they need someone.  What will they do?  What are their options today, in 21st century America?

Listen to the way long-time healthcare human-resource expert Keith Feeney of The Feeney Group answered that question for me:

“Employers today typically have two options to bring new talent on board:

1)  They can conduct their own search by posting the position, looking both internally and externally for qualified candidates  and if this is not successful that may choose to advertise in print or industry specific websites or publications. Advertising may or may not involve additional costs.

2)  Their other option is to partner with a search firm and this is usually done on a contingent basis for an agreed upon fee. The fee is only paid after the candidate is hired and works a specific period of time. Terms of these contracts vary but are all agreed upon up front before the search is started. The recruitment firm is then responsible to surface candidates and go through the pool to identify the most qualified and potentially most successful.

The employer will always make the final hiring decision. They may choose option one or two or may even choose to run both simultaneously depending on the situation. Factors that may influence whether to partner with a search firm are tightness of the job market, time constraints, expertise, costs and comfort level.

So in other words, the employer either searches THEMSELVES (the LEAST expensive approach – but potentially time consuming) or allows someone ELSE to do it for them.  That “someone else” would be a pharmacy and/or healthcare recruiter or recruiting firm.  My friend, pharmacy recruiter Holly Breton of Pharmaceutical Strategies right here in my home state of Massachusetts points out “recruiters sometimes have a keen ability to tap into dormant job seekers through their vast networks.  Typically, in a pharmacy the owner or DOP is in charge of hiring but their priorities are caring for patients and the hiring piece can sometimes be put on the back burner.  That is where recruiters can come in handy; especially if organizations are moving more towards flexible staffing models and utilizing temporary and contract employees.



So if you are looking for a job, one of the earliest responsibilities you MUST engage in is to begin thinking like your future boss.  You don’t know him or her yet.  But you must, nevertheless, put yourself in their shoes (or heels, or sandals, or whatever).  How are they going to fill that position that YOU WANT to obtain?

Knowing how the employer thinks helps define your strategy.  They may go it alone, or they may reach out for help.  Think about  these options.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Solve their staffing problem FIRST, then go after that job using the approach that THEY most likely will use to find and hire you.

Here Are Your Action Steps:

A)  Be pro-active in reaching out to potential employers.  Most job-searches last TOO LONG because job seekers wait for jobs to be posted or for recruiters to call them.  You can’t do this!  But additionally, be sure you are active and searching on the top Job Search boards online.  Here’s a FREE TIP– employers want BIG exposure for LOW cost when posting jobs online.  Therefore, start by creating search agents at Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, GetHired.com and Moster.com.


B)  Be ready.  Whenever I stumble across a website that says you no longer need a traditional “paper” resume, I immediately dismiss them as being entirely out-of-touch with the real job-search world.  Listen to me, you MUST have a well written, keyword sensitive, targeted resume prepared and ready to go when looking for a job.  It is still, like it or not, the thing virtually every employer wants to start with.  FREE TIP:  If you need help with this, contact me.


C)  Be selective, but consider partnering with an experienced recruiter that knows the industry you are looking to get into.  And here’s a FREE TIP:  Don’t run out and send your resume to every recruiter on the internet.  Look, ideally, for a recruiting agency or agent that specializes in the career field you are aiming for.  Also, if possible, select an agency that actually has offices in your general area.  That is their home base, and the territory they are most familiar with and probably have the most contacts in.  Get to know them a bit, before turning over your resume to them. 


The pharmacy career has gotten itself into a bit of a mess.  It is not beyond repair, but is going to take some time to fix.  In the meantime, being careful about your job search and learning the Think Like an Employer is a step in the right direction.

By the way, to read PART I of this series, see my article on THE PHARMACY JOB SEARCH SURVEY.

©Jason Poquette and The Honest Apothecary.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jason Poquette and The Honest Apothecary with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Last modified: April 17, 2023