Identifying key employability traits in less time

Background

Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences PharmD direct-entry pathway (PharmD DE pathway) is well known for graduating students who transition seamlessly into professional pharmaceutical careers. That's because the school's co-op program gives students three times as much clinical experience as your typical pharmacy program.

With students completing their rotations in top clinics and hospitals across the United States, it's critical that the PharmD DE pathway is enrolling applicants with the right soft skills to succeed in the classroom and in the clinic.

Challenge

Why soft skills are a hard requirement

When the pandemic moved processes online, Northeastern knew they couldn't abandon the interviews but they struggled to find an online platform that could give them authentic insight into an applicant's interpersonal skills.

“We want to continue building relationships with these world-class healthcare-providing facilities,” explained Christina Folsom, Admissions Coordinator for the PharmD DE pathway. “If we were to send them students who continually miss the mark on that communication piece, that’s not going to happen.”

Northeastern initially sought to create their own interviewing tool but quickly abandoned that idea as it placed an overwhelming burden on their small admissions team.

“Kira is a great way to assess applicants in advance of an in-person interview. It makes the overall process more efficient. We want to keep using it as a tool in the admissions process even once we’re back to having that final interview piece be in-person.”

- Christina Folsom, Admissions Coordinator for the PharmD DE pathway

Solution

Leveraging a tailor-made tool

With Kira's Asynchronous Assessment, Northeaster Pharmacy is able to assess and identify key employability skills in applicants without sacrificing efficiency in their admissions process. Submitting their application online through PharmCAS, successful applicants complete an on-demand Kira assessment and a live interview. Having already seen applicants' responses to from the Kira assessment, reviewers often ask application-based questions and follow-up questions during the live interview.

“Kira complements our process in PharmCAS super well,” shared Folsom. “PharmCAS is so user-friendly. It has all the functionality I need as an administrator, while still being simple enough to be used by faculty and reviewers who may never have used a platform like this before. With Kira, I have the same confidence.”

Results

The perfect enhancement to a traditional process

“Whenever we change something in our admissions process, I make sure that I’m getting a beat on how our applicants look at things,” shared Folsom. “We’re coming from a different generation, a different background, a different educational experience, and possibly a different perspective. How we look at things doesn’t necessarily represent how our applicants see things.”

After conferring with work-study students, Folsom and her team felt that Kira gave the program the opportunity to connect with applicants where they were — online.

With all the positive feedback, the PharmD DE pathway is sure that Kira belongs as part of their process. “Kira is a great way to be able to assess applicants in advance of an in-person interview more efficiently because it’s completely virtual” explained Folsom. “We want to keep using it as a tool in the admissions process even once we’re back to having that final interview piece be in-person.”

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