A pharmaceutical sales representative sells medical drugs and other medical related paraphernalia to doctors and other medical personnel. Launching and marketing new medical objects is challenging due to skepticism with regards to effectiveness of the new products and fears of lawsuits.
Additionally, doctors and medical personnel are extremely busy and satisfied with what they have. Therefore, it is not a simple task to get an appointment to present/sell innovative products.
The pharmaceutical sales career requires the same set of skills as does a normal sales career: Good communications and presentation skills, negotiating experience, honesty, dedication and hard-working. But there is more. A pharmaceutical background with both general and specific knowledge regarding all kinds of new and old medical related information is imperative.
The interview of a pharmaceutical sales position will therefore be comprised of additional questions as compared to an ordinary sales position. Here are some sample questions that are generally asked at a pharmaceutical sales interview with suggested answers –
Answering the Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions
Apart from the general questions such as those regarding your previous experience, and why you took up this career, as well as a request for a brief synopsis of your professional background, there will be several questions relating to your day to day work as a pharmaceutical sales person.:
► What is the most challenging aspect of being a pharmaceutical sales person?
A novice to the world of pharmaceutical sales may think that the most difficult part of the sale is meeting the medical practitioner, but that is actually not so.
The challenge is actually convincing a doctor to switch from a drug that s/he and their patients are quite comfortable with and convert to a new alternative. The sales rep must persuade them that such a change would be an improvement, and that is the true challenge. If you have experience, share some of your success stories.
► How do you perceive a typical day for pharmaceutical sales representative?
With this question, the interviewer is investigating your dedication and whether you are up to the physical aspect of working as a pharmaceutical salesperson, as well as the unusual times.
In responding, mention your awareness of the times available for sales calls; that is, when medical practitioners and other medical officers are relatively free. Day time hours are generally off limits; usually calls must take place at about seven in the morning or nine in the evening.
This way, you will not only express your knowledge of the business, but also inform the interviewer that you are ready for the hard work and difficult hours that are part of becoming a successful pharmaceutical sales representative.
► What is your interaction level with your previous supervisor? What did he do right and what did he do wrong, according to you?
Basically, this question is aimed at finding out whether you are good with some kind of authority above you or whether you are someone who requires a mentor. Your response may also cause the interviewer to view you as an optimistic or complaining type, so tread carefully.
The best answer is to speak of the cordial aspects of the relationship you enjoyed with your supervisor. If you must mention any issues, be brief, and downplay any problems. For example, explain how any differences you had were purely theoretical and in the end, what was best for the company won. Of course if this is not so, explain the difficulties and how you overcame them. End with an encouraging example of getting along.
► How do you think the company would help you the best?
This question is really an attempt on the part of the company to discern if you are a team player yet capable of working on your own.
In your response, give examples of how you have worked in both of these capacities, even if not job related. Suggest that the company chalk out a plan with a quota that must be met by the end of a month, and then provide you with the resources to fulfill the goal. Proclaim that you will do your utmost to meet any reasonable goal.
These are some sample questions that are asked at a pharmaceutical sales interview.
You can also read the sales manager job interview article for getting more related questions.
Prepare and review your responses, remember to speak succinctly in a positive manner. Your and there are very good chances that you will be kept in mind by the interviewers.
Sales and Marketing Job Interviews