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Interview Questions for Medical Representative

Tell us about yourself and what you have done so far in your career.
Briefly describe your education, career path, jobs and position held, and any relevant highlights and achievements. Substantiate the content in your resume (instead of repeating what it says) such as giving examples of leadership situations, being part of winning teams, or doing some original work.

What is your perception of a typical day for a pharmaceutical representative?
I have an idea of what the day is like for a pharmaceutical representative and I think it parallels some of what my normal day is like. As a representative, I would see as many of my assigned physicians as possible and sell them on why they should use my drug over the competition. I know some physicians are difficult to reach, so I would try to catch them early (6-7 AM) in the hospital or after hours like I have to do with some of my customers.

Some days I would utilize a lunch to better impact difficult-to-see physicians. After 5:00 PM I would enter my calls on the computer (or after each call) and pick up e-mails. At night I would look over pre-call planning for the next day. I don’t know if you entertain physicians like I do with my customers currently but I would do some entertaining at night (restaurant) or on the weekends, (golf, hunting, fishing)-whatever it takes to beat my numbers.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of a pharmaceutical representative?
Well number one, I think it's probably getting quality time with the physician impacts prescribing behavior. Another challenge I think you would face is there are physicians that don’t see representatives. You have to be creative in finding a way to gain access to them. If you are currently in sales and face these obstacles in your present job, be sure to add this to your answer.

You are given a territory and a list of physicians to call on. How would you organize and prioritize your call schedule?
I would analyze my territory and determine the accounts that have the greatest sales potential. I would quickly work to determine the most profitable 20 percent of my clients.

Once they have been contacted and I feel comfortable with my relationship with these clients, I would then work with the rest of my customers and develop new clients.

Tell me about your last manager. Did you like him/her? If I was your manager, what is the best way to coach/mentor you to success? What qualities should a successful manager possess? Describe the relationship that should exist between the supervisor and those reporting to him or her.
I liked my manager and we had a positive working relationship. We had a similar thought process on how to run my territory and how to best manage myself. The best way to manage me is to give me all the tools (training, funding) necessary to be successful. Then let me run my territory in a way to exceed expectations. I would like a manager who periodically rides with me so he/she can understand my account and provide open constructive criticism. 

I view my territory as my own business and take accountability for its performance. I feel the successful qualities in a manager are as follows: high expectations, openness, honesty, excellent communication skills and the ability to assist me in my career development and goal attainment. I want an open and candid relationship with my manager.

How do you think you would get a Physician to switch to your drug?
First, I would NOT expect the physician to make a sudden change to my drug if he is happy with the drug he is currently prescribing. I am going to have to start small and expand his usage (nibble away market share). I would determine what influences his behavior: reprints, speaker programs, peers, and formularies. I would use a combination of the appropriate tools to gain physician agreement on my drug’s effectiveness. 

After this, I would gain commitment from him to use the drug on a specific patient type. After the physician has tried my drug on this patient type, I would get him to notice the success of this patient when the patient comes back in for a follow-up visit. When the physician admitted efficacy, I would then gain commitment for use in other patient types. This is comparable with my current business.

How would you like your ideal sales manager to be - to get the best out of you?
Some pharmaceutical interview questions like this one are tricky. But you would certainly like a helpful sort who equips you with all the tools and knowledge, tips, and other forms of support. You need one who can assess your potential and set you realistic goals based on a well-analyzed sales plan. 

One who actually sees you in action and tells you how to get the best strategy in place. One who can drive you, who supports and believes in you, who is open, and honest, and who can use his knowledge and yours to bring about a synergistic result. One who can add value to both your personal and career goals.

What are the qualities of a medical representative?
  1. should be able to read the doctor's mind.
  2. should be punctual.
  3. should be ready to learn new things anytime anywhere.
  4. should be smart.
  5. should have technical as well as practical knowledge.

Why did you decide pharmaceutical sales would be the right career for you?
First, tell them that you love selling and site examples where you have done this even if you haven’t 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 representative's job. (This would be a great time to mention the “field preceptorship” and how much you enjoyed your day in the representative’s 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 buyer’s 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 of 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, you believe this is 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 have 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 didn’t gain the position if you interviewed. 

On the other hand, if you didn’t gain an interview that means you failed the first sales test. Perhaps you turned a position down because of location. That’s a good reason to decline. If you’ve just started looking for a pharmaceutical sales position and you’ve already gained interviews, it’s because you are impressive, on paper and in person.

What do you know about our organization and the industry?
This should be easy if you have done your homework. You must be familiar by now with the company’s main business areas, products, research activities, geographical presence, turnover, profit, etc. Reel off the information you have gathered about the industry from the internet, industry journals, reports etc to validate your statements.

If you are aware of the latest developments state it to substantiate the fact that you are indeed abreast of industry trends and that you are a valuable asset to the company.

Why have you applied for this job?
Be clear about the value the job adds to your career and the value that you bring to the job as well. It obviously has mutual benefits, economically, personally, and socially, that affect both you and the company in the short and long term.

Why should we select you?
Be prepared for this question because this answer will sell your story. Know lucidly, what you bring to the organization such as personal qualities, knowledge, and skills that will add value to the company. If you can qualify these with quantifiable records you have achieved in previous jobs or assignments, it adds credibility.

What are your career goals and where do you see yourself five years from now?
Spare some thought for this because your prospective employer is interested in knowing how clear you are at this moment about what you want to achieve.

Why did you leave your last job?
Focus on the positives such as your career path and how you needed to further your career and long-term interests. Do not get stuck in how bad the organization was etc.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A good question, answers to which you must certainly know – a job interview or otherwise. A candid conversation with a friend helps in listing the same because an outsider can be more objective. Focus on your strengths. Acknowledge weaknesses and restrict them to professional traits. State how you counter them. Better still, convert it into a strength. For eg. The positive side of “taking time to work on a proposal” could be that you are “meticulous and produce quality results”.

What is your salary expectation?
Research is important so you don’t quote too high or too less. Be in the range or even better, quote a range and leave it tactfully open for negotiations. There is no one way, but to prepare for all circumstances with tactful answers, leaving this answer out – open for negotiation later.

How do you handle a situation such as a conflict or management situation?
Your real-life experiences are your greatest teachers and it helps to draw lessons from similar experiences. Apply your real-life situation to the one cited in the example and address the problem using your experience, creativity, instinct, and sensitivity and in all circumstances keeping the organization's long-term goals in view.

Do you have any questions?
Yes. Any question that you would like an answer for about the organization, the job and related areas may be asked now.

Why should I select you?
There are a number of reasons but to be very specific my use is "hard work and enough passionate to do work" which matches with your job profile.

What is marketing?
Marketing is the creation of a strategy for selling products and services.

What is the role of a frontline manager in pharmacy sales?
  • Target achievement.
  • Management of absence.
  • Launch of new products.
  • People recruitment.
  • feedback to medical reps.
  • Collection of outstanding.
  • Sales forecast.
  • Vacant territory management.
  • Standard tour plan.
  • Budgeting.
  • Stockiest management.

How will you sell your product?
Tell only the positive features, and highlight the extraordinary features of the product and tell about the offers and best price compared with other products which he feels more advantageous, with a pleasing manner.

Why do you want to join pharmaceutical as a medical representative?
First of all, this is the best option to grow personality & interaction skills for the Pharma Graduate and really it is a fast-growing industry that is always untouched by the recession. For a person of a Pharma background, the field is a good option to learn & continuous growth of your knowledge & also improve your knowledge of drugs. 
Secondly, as it is a never-ending industry. As per my knowledge the GDP of this industry is 15 percent. And in this profession, there are a lot of openings instead of govt. sector. And in govt. sector it is much more time taken & money matter.

What is the role of a medical representative?
Medical Representative’s role is to convince doctors and generate prescriptions in favor of the company’s products. And to get the prescription from the doctor to maintain the sales reports and send them to higher officials. So we can say overall MR is the owner of the product in his territory.

What do you mean by pharmacy and FMCG?
FMCG means fast moving consumer goods like biscuits, etc while pharmacy deals with medicines.

Tips and preparation:
  1. Reread your CV before the interview - you need to make sure you can demonstrate your areas of expertise with live examples
  2. Practice your technique and get feedback from friends - this will also help with the nerves
  3. Think about your attitude - be positive, enthusiastic, natural and honest

The key to a successful interview lies in preparation
  1. Find out as much as you can about the company before your interview
  2. If you're new to the pharmaceutical sector, find out about it by reading newspapers and looking online
  3. Try and anticipate the questions you may be asked and think about how you'll answer them
  4. Have a few of your own questions ready to ask
  5. Check the interview format - will there be any personality or skills testing?

At the interview
  1. First impressions are vital - make the most of them
  2. Guide the interviewer toward a discussion of your strengths
  3. Show you've done your research - mention the facts you've discovered
  4. If you're asked a difficult question, don't feel you have to answer immediately Take your time and think about your response. Keep your answers concise and be confident
  5. Tell me about a conflict you had with a coworker and how it was resolved.
  6. Give an example of a time when you turned a negative into a positive

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