In our previous two articles from this series, we discussed the appeal of med rep jobs and later, the duties and responsibilities of med reps. In this final article, we look at successfully interviewing for your Medical Sales Representative (Med Rep) job.
A Note on Qualifications
You should be aware that employers generally require applicants for Med Rep Jobs to hold a Bachelors Degree. Also, given the technical nature of the products and services on offer, holders of science or medical degrees are likely to be given preference. Some well-suited degree concentrations include, Biochemistry; Biology; Chemistry; Medical Sciences such as Pharmacology, Anatomy, Physiology and Nursing.
Degree preferences aside, understand that if you can work your way through the door, a compelling interview can make up for deficiencies in your qualifications. As such, your number one asset is interviewing with confidence and assertiveness. That said, please do NOT confuse confidence with being cocky! The latter is likely to guarantee you nothing more than a short and fruitless interview.
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Before the Interview
Obvious as it may sound, be very familiar with your resume and be able to answer questions about the different aspects of it. Don’t take it for granted that you will remember everything on it, particularly if it was recently updated. So review it, study it and practice answering questions about it. You need to inspire confidence when answering questions in the interview, particularly about your stated employment history, your skills and your competencies.
Do Your Research
Be sure to research and know about the company you are interviewing with and the job you are interviewing for. Learn about the products and services you will likely be handling and any special requirements that the job may demand of you. If those points aren’t explicitly known to you, then base your research on a desire to demonstrate your knowledge of, and interest in the company. Points that underscore this, include information on the company’s background, key products, focus areas, company strengths and objectives, just to name a few.
Difficult as the topic often is, invest the time and effort in finding out about compensation packages and be ready to answer questions about your desired level of remuneration. Ideally, ask persons currently in the industry, what a reasonable package would be and work from there.
What to Take With You?
Be sure to take copies of your up-to-date resume as well as supporting documentation like educational certificates and reference letters. If already a med rep, take copies of relevant awards, certificates and letters demonstrating your previous performance. If new to the profession, favourable appraisal reports, letters of recognition, proof of academic performance among others, can all be valuable.
During the Interview
Point of Caution
If you are already a med rep looking to switch companies, it may be tempting to share details that highlight your previous sales performance during the interview…Don’t! Appealing as this may seem, sales information is usually considered confidential, so disclosing it will not leave a positive impression with your interviewer, regardless of how spectacular your sales achievements may be. In fact, you’re more likely to raise questions about your suitability and about how exposed the company will be if you get the job and later decide to leave with their information.
Again, be calm and confident, not cocky!!! When asked a question, take the time to analyze what is being asked, formulate your answer and respond accordingly. If you didn’t hear or didn’t understand the question, say so! Demonstrating assertiveness in clarifying a question, is far better than firing-off an irrelevant or ill-formulated response.
- Be prepared to explain gaps in your employment history.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. We all have them and should know how to manage both.
- Be able to clearly articulate what value you will bring to the organization.
- Certainly, be ready to justify why, out of all the candidates selected, you should get the job.
Be Ready for Situational Questions
You can be sure that while questions related to your employment history, qualifications and abilities will be asked, so too will situational questions. These will typically ask about ‘How you handled a previous situation you found yourself in?’ This is based on the principle that, ‘The best predictor of future behaviour, is past behaviour‘. These questions take the format:
‘Tell me about a time you had to…? What did you do? What happened? What did you learn from the experience?‘
When answering these questions, keep in mind that you can usually draw examples from any area of life not only professional experiences. In the end, the example needs to compellingly demonstrate that you possess and can master the quality / skill being sought. Be sure to state clearly:
- What the Situation was
- What Action you took
- What the Result of your action was
After answering these or any other questions, check with the interviewer whether you adequately addressed it.
While not absolutely necessary, a very nice touch my fellow-interviewers and I were recently exposed to after conducting a series of interviews, was an email from one of the candidates thanking us for the time and consideration given during her interview. As noted earlier, this isn’t absolutely necessary but certainly suggests that the individual understands the nuances and value of follow-up. What’s more, it will most certainly get you points in the area of courtesy and since good jobs are as scarce as they are these days, every point counts.
While the strongest endorsement you can give yourself is a confident, well poised interview; employing the tips mentioned in this article will certainly help you achieve this. Probably the most important thing you can do in assuring your success during the interview however is fully exploiting your pre-interview preparation. Be sure therefore to take the time to research, review and practice because once the interview starts, you have only a few minutes to make that first impression and at that point there are no ‘Do-overs‘.