Interviewing for a pharmaceutical sales job? Follow these specific tips by guest author Clint Cora for a better chance at success
Job interviews for pharmaceutical sales are unlike other types of job interviews. These interviews are used to assess whether a candidate is suitable in the sales environment in addition to reviewing background histories and skills. Interviewers would often ask tricky questions that test the personalities of candidates in order to determine sales potential.
If during a pharmaceutical sales job interview and the reviewer asks you a question on whether you prefer to work alone or with others in groups, you have to be careful here. If you say a solo environment is definitely better, they may not see you as a team player. If you say that you prefer working in groups, they might think that you would not be effective in sales since most of the time, pharmaceutical reps are out in the field on their own.
Therefore, the safest route to take here is to say that you like both environments and can be effective in both. When you are alone, you can be effective as an independent worker. Then when you are working with others in group projects or at meetings, you can also work effectively in teams.
You must convey the impression during a job interview that your skills enable you to excel in both scenarios. Don't get fooled by the interviewer’s trick question. Here's an effective response:
"I like both. I realize that most of the time, reps work alone and I certainly can be effective in this mode. Working with others at times will be a nice change and I can also be quite effective in teams as well. It's a good working mix in my mind."
Asking you about your strengths during an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. Asking you about weaknesses is another matter and is another example of a tricky question. You must be careful here not to expose any specific weak skills that may hurt you during an interview. Whenever I encountered questions about my weaknesses during my interviews, I countered with something like this:
"In all honesty, the only weakness I think I have is perhaps a lack of industry specific experience since pharmaceutical sales will be new for me. However, I am strong on my communications and sales related skills. I am also a fast learner so I am certain that industry specific training that your company could provide will help me make up for this lack of industry experience. I’m sure that I would be able to get up to speed pretty quickly and start growing those sales for your company."
Notice that I bring up the trainability fact in the above statement. It is extremely important that you convey the fact that you are an effective learner of new skills and environments. I use this attribute to effectively wipe out any weaknesses.
Be prepared to answer trick questions during interviews for pharmaceutical sales positions. They are designed to see if you really have what it takes to be in sales. Learn all you can about the pharmaceutical sales job and focus on selling your skills as well as personal attributes.
Clint Cora is the author of the book "How To Get A Dream Job In Pharmaceutical Sales - Direct Inside Advice and Guidance from a Sales Manager". He had a very successful 14-year career as a pharmaceutical sales representative, sales trainer, product marketing manager and a national sales manager. More information about pharmaceutical sales careers can be found at www.GetPharmaceuticalSalesJob.com.
For even more information about job interview questions and how to answer them, consider the "Job Interview Success System."
One of the 5 key components of this system is a 31-page report entitled "How to Give Job-Winning Answers to Interview Questions." In addition to giving more tips and strategies on general answering techniques, it lists 45 of the easiest, toughest, silliest and most common job interview questions as well as how to respond to them.