CVS Health is the 7th largest company in the world in terms of revenue. They employ more than 300,000 people, majority of them in their retail pharmacy chain (CVS Pharmacy). As you can likely imagine, such a big company is always hiring new employees, for both full time and part time positions. The interview process is slightly more sophisticated when compared to the interview process of their major competitors, such as Walgreens or Ride Aid. Nowadays everything starts with Hirevue interview (video-based), and other rounds follow, depending on the position you try to get with CVS.

They will almost always use a combination of personal, situational and behavioral questions in the interview, and it doesn’t matter if you apply for a job of a cashier, pharmacist, shift manager, or data analyst. Of course, applying for technical and engineering jobs with CVS you will also face technical questions related to your field of specialization, but we won’t focus on them now. In this article I will look at 10 most common personal and situational (behavioral) questions you may face at CVS, while interviewing for most common retail jobs (cashier, pharmacist, shift manager, etc). Let’s start!


Why do you want to work for CVS?

Motivation is important in every interview. The key is to pick two or three things that matter particularly for you, and made CVS Pharmacy your first choice. It can be their mission statement, corporate values, and other rather abstract concepts most big corporations are proud of.

Or you can focus on more concrete reasons, such as a fitting location of their store (near your living place), great shift patterns, recommendation you got from a friend (who works in one of their retail branches and said good things about the team, the working conditions, etc), employee benefits, etc.

Or you can read the job ad again, and pick something that catches your eye or resonates with you. At the end of the day, the key is to convince them that they are your first choice, and that you know why you apply with them, instead of some of their competitors, other pharmacy chains.


Why are you leaving your present job to work with CVS? (Why did you leave your last job?)

Try to avoid complaining about your former colleagues or duties. I suggest you to focus on the future, instead of the past. For example, you can say how the job with CVS resonates more with your career goals and ambitions, how it is a better fit for your education, personality, etc. Just like everyone else you want to progress in your career, and see CVS as a place to do so, whereas your present job offers you nothing but stagnation.

Of course, in some special situations (career change, massive downsizing in your last company, applying for a job with much better salary, etc), you should be honest. But make sure you do not sound like an employee who is never satisfied and always complains about something. Because no company wants to hire such an employee.

* Special Tip: What if I told you that you can practice your answers to all tricky CVS interview questions, getting an immediate feedback from a life-like AI interview coach? And that you can start doing it for free, and it is a lot of fun too? 🙂 Check out this page on our partner website, Real Mock Interviews, pick a question, enter your email, and start practicing for free, either on your mobile phone or on your computer. Check it out now and see for yourself!


What are you looking for in this position with CVS?

A similar question to the previous one, just from a different angle. Good answer really depends on your level of experience, and how you see your role with CVS. Applying for customer service job, you can say you see it as an opportunity to improve on your communication and sales skills, especially if it is your first job application in the field.

You can also say that you are looking for experience, and want to learn from the best, because they are successful and have great processes in place, and you’d love to belong to such a place. If you have some senior position in your sight, a job you’d like to have with CVS in 5 years from now, you can say so.

And of course you can refer to more obvious reasons as well: stability and job security that comes with an employment in a big corporation, motivating employee benefits, and so on. Do not forget to speak with some enthusiasm, they should get an impression that you are really looking for these things, and cannot wait to start your career with CVS.

How comfortable are you dealing with an upset customer?

Working in any retail establishment, you will have to handle all types of customers. And regardless of how hard you try, some customers will be upset–for example because of the price tag on some OTC medication, something you have no control of.

Ensure the hiring managers that you count with dealing with upset customers, even though you want to try your best with everyone. You can say that you feel comfortable, and won’t take their bad words personally. You will simply try your best to help them, to make them satisfied, and then you will move on to the next customer. Of course, you will be receptive to their feedback, because you can make a mistake like everyone else, and will try to learn from difficult encounters with the customers.


Describe a time when you resolved a conflict.

You can narrate a situation from both work and personal life. The key is to show that you approach conflicts constructively, and focus on finding solutions, instead of blaming this or that person for the situation. Remember that you do not have to pick something big. Any conflict will do, as long as you show right attitude to conflict resolution.

What’s more, you do not have to talk about conflict you were actively involved in. Perhaps two of your colleagues argued about something trivial, not even work related. You came in, pointed out that both of them had their reason, and than turned their focus to some other issue, for example something work-related, or something they easily agreed upon.


Tell us about an obstacle you overcame.

Again it can be anything from work, or from your personal life. Obstacles you faced in your education, or while you tried to achieve some goal in your last job. It can even be health related, or a problem you faced in your last relationship.

We have a great article with 7 sample answers to the question here: Tell us about an obstacle you overcame. Check it out if you aren’t sure what obstacle to talk about in your interviews.


What is your availability?

Many jobs with CVS are part time, and if you apply for one, they will for sure ask about your availability. The key is to convince them with your answer that the job with CVS sits high on your list of priorities. Said in other words: beside school and perhaps another part time job you have (if it is the case), you should be available to come to the pharmacy and work at any time.

Prepare a clear schedule for the entire week in advance. Explain the interviewers when you are at school or working, and what hours you can work on each day of the week. Show some flexibility when it comes to working in the evenings and on weekend. They should get an impression that you are ready to sacrifice something for your new job.


Tell us about a time when you gave a constructive feedback to someone.

Ability to give and receive constructive feedback is highly valued in most retail chains. Employees who give such a feedback help the entire organization grow. Again, you do not have to talk about something groundbreaking. Let me give you a few examples of an important constructive feedback.

Your colleague talked too quietly to customers in the store, and many had problems hearing them, especially older people. You suggested them to speak more loudly and clearly, to avoid customer confusion and improve their satisfaction.

Or your colleague spent too much time chitchatting with customers. And while it helped with the atmosphere in the store and the customers felt good, it put an excessive workload on you and other sales associates, because each of you had to handle more customers in a short time. You decided to tell them, because you saw the negative impact on the results of the team.

You can even talk about feedback you gave to your manager, when you saw (from your perspective, which always differs from their perspective) something they could improve on in their work. And since you care about the results of the business, you were not afraid to come forward and speak up. Whether they eventually followed your suggestion is not important. What matters is that you were not afraid to confront them with your feedback, regardless of their position of authority.


Tell us about a mistake you made in your last job.

The key is to admit making some mistake. Because everyone makes mistakes. It can be in an interaction with a customer, with a colleague, or manager. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything major. As long as they see that you are not afraid to admit making a mistake, they will be satisfied with your answer.

What’s more, ensure them that you learned from this lesson. Maybe you made a mistake, even a big one, and it perhaps eventually cost you your job. But you do not hide from it. On the contrary, you accept the responsibility, try to understand what exactly went wrong, and learn from it, in order to avoid similar mistakes in your new job. That’s the attitude they are looking for.


Do you have any questions about the role, or about anything else?

You do not have to force a question at the end of your interview. If things go well, if you discuss everything important with the interviewers, you can simply thank them for their time, and shake their hand. No need to ask about something they already explained in the interviews.

But if you feel like something wasn’t described clearly on the job description, or you do not understand certain details about the role, go ahead and ask. If they are serious and consider hiring you, they will have no problem answering the questions…

Ready to ace your interview with CVS Pharmacy? Not yet? Check the following articles to continue your interview preparation:

Matthew Chulaw
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