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interview with answers from the best selling "Insider's
Guide to the World of Pharmaceutical Sales" by Jane Williams.
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Promote pharmaceutical drug sales by forging
relationships with physicians, hospitals and managed care organizations. Through one-on-one sales presentations, group discussions and educational programs,
a sales representative presents the latest in medical news and treatment programs.
Candidates require strong interpersonal
skills, a team orientation and a mature, resilient outlook.
Additional qualities include strong analytical and
communications skills. Experience in the pharmaceutical industry and in advertising, marketing and sales, recent college graduates, and those with advanced business degrees are encouraged to apply.
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Pharmaceutical Sales Interview
How did you decide pharmaceutical sales would be the right career for you?
This is the most basic of questions, but you are almost certain to be asked this question. While people interviewing for other types of positions are asked why they decided on their career choice, it is very important that you answer this question correctly for a pharmaceutical sales interview.
First tell them that you love selling and site examples where you have done this even if you havenít been employed as a salesperson. Mention instances where you persuaded someone to "buy in" to your ideas, etc. That is selling! Mention that you have always been highly motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic. Successful sales people have all of these qualities as well as being creative and resourceful. Be prepared to cite examples where you displayed these behavioral characteristics.
Next, expound upon why pharmaceutical sales would be right for you. This is a good time to pull out the information that you have collected during your research. You can explain how stable the industry is, how exciting it would be to be part of such a dynamic field, and one where the opportunity to help thousands of people is a reality. State that this would give you tremendous job satisfaction. Also let them know that you realize the opportunities for personal and professional growth are tremendous with pharmaceutical sales companies. You will thrive on the daily challenges of performing a pharmaceutical sales representatives job. (This would be a great time to mention the "field preceptorship" and how much you enjoyed your day in the representativeís territory!) The research you have done on their company and the industry, and the extra effort you have put forth to spend a day in the field to see for yourself what a pharmaceutical sales representative does will give you tremendous credibility. You will be viewed as a serious candidate!
What is your current occupation?
Give an honest answer, but highlight any area of responsibility that you may have which would be seen as a benefit for someone in pharmaceutical sales. This would be a good time to show the "Career Comparison" information that you have placed in your Personal Presentation Binder. You will have already compared your job responsibilities to that of a pharmaceutical sales representative. Were you responsible for marketing a product or idea to others? Have you analyzed a "buyer" to determine that buyerís potential? Do you have daily contact with physicians or other medical personnel in your day-to-day activities? These are excellent job responsibility areas to compare with pharmaceutical sales job responsibilities. Be careful not to make a negative statement. Always expect to be asked to prove any statement that you make!
I see you have held several different positions over the last five years? Can you explain why?
The obvious objective in this question is to determine whether you are a "job-hopper." Training and educating pharmaceutical sales representatives is very time-consuming and expensive. A bad choice would yield an ineffective pharmaceutical sales representative and one that would potentially leave the job "undone" because that person has again decided to do something else. The district manager will attempt to ascertain whether you are a dependable person and whether you do indeed really want a career that offers upward mobility. He must be convinced that you will stay and work smart. If you have changed positions in order to increase the challenge of your job and allow upward mobility, then that is an excellent reason for changing jobs. Career transitions or job transitions made to increase compensation for your work is another good reason.
When did you decide to pursue a pharmaceutical sales career position?
You might reply that after your extensive research into this career field including actually going on a field preceptorship, that you believe this a perfect career for you. Then you must explain why it is perfect for you. It is perfect because you thrive on the type of challenges faced by pharmaceutical sales representatives! You want to make a difference at a job you are certain you will love. Pharmaceutical sales is a perfect match for your personality and work experience. Then supply proof for your statement.
How long having you been seeking employment in the pharmaceutical sales industry?
Your answer here will be important. You have the opportunity to make yourself look good with the right answer. If you have been looking for a position for a long time, six months or more, then you need to present yourself as a tenacious person who never gives up because you are absolutely certain that you are the right person for the job. Whether you have been granted interviews will matter, because the district manager will wonder why you didnít gain the position if you interviewed. On the other hand, if you didnít gain an interview that means you failed the first sales test. Perhaps you turned a position down because of location. Thatís a good reason to decline. If youíve just started looking for a pharmaceutical sales position and youíve already gained interviews, itís because you are impressive, on paper and in person.
How does your current or former job experience compare to pharmaceutical sales?
What was your rating on your last Performance Management Review?
How would you describe "selling?"
Name five reasons why you believe you would be a good pharmaceutical sales representative.
Have you interviewed with other companies?
How do you feel about working on your own most of the time?
Why should we hire you over other candidates?