Pharmaceutical interviews - Five common mistakes rookies make

  • BY SALLY HODGKINSON
  • FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

There is nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into preparing for an interview only to make a rookie error. Here are some common interview mistakes -

1) Not doing enough research on the industry, company or job you are applying for. Particularly if you are applying to do a job you have not done before, it is essential you have this insight into the day to day aspects before you get to the interview. Know the good, bad and ugly about the job you're applying for.  Employers will ask you what research you have done to prepare and they expect that you have spoken to representatives or even had a field day.

2) Being too vague with your answer to the question “why do you want to be a pharmaceutical representative”. Make your answer unique to you so you don’t sound like everyone else. Don’t use generic phrases such as “I’m looking for a new challenge” because everyone says that. Make sure you don't focus on why you are leaving your current role by saying things like "I am sick of shift work", or "I'm bored in my job" or "I don't like my manager". Your focus should be why you really want to do THIS job. Remember it is a sales role so you should emphasise why you want to be in sales, particularly if you have not held a sales role before. Commit to the role you are applying for and avoid implying that pharmaceutical sales is a stepping stone to something else like marketing, medical devices or management.

3) Not relating your experience and skills specifically to the job you are applying for. Don’t expect the interviewer to understand how and why your skills transfer, especially if you are a rookie looking to break into the industry.

4) Not highlighting your achievements. Pharmaceutical sales is a KPI focused role and they look for high achievers. You need to demonstrate how you have been able to thrive and excel in this type of environment in the past.

5) Not showcasing your interpersonal skills enough. For example, you need to listen carefully to questions, be concise with your answers, don’t go off on tangents, use clarification questions if you are unsure about the question, build rapport, be memorable as they may have a full day of interviewing to get through.

Additional resources:

Click here for Interview Preparation 101

Click here to watch a 10 minute on demand webinar on The Pharmaceutical Sales Interview - A guide for rookies

Click here to learn more about how to handle behavioral questions

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