Pharmaceutical Interview Preparation Guide
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Pharmaceutical Interview Questions and Answers will guide us now that the pharmaceutical industry develops, produces, and markets drugs licensed for use as medications. Pharmaceutical companies can deal in generic and/or brand medications. They are subject to a variety of laws and regulations regarding the patenting, testing and marketing of drugs. So learn more about the Pharmaceutical Industry by this Pharmaceutical Interview Questions with Answers guide

44 Pharmaceutical Questions and Answers:

1 :: How do you think you would get a Physician to switch to your drug?

The biggest challenge comes with a physician who is happy with his current drug. In such a case, your first step is to make your presence felt by setting small goals and making small in roads. As you gain more knowledge about the drugs and the physician’s prescribing behavior you would use your product knowledge and other tools to make the physician view your drug favorably. Then your next step is to get the physician to prescribe to one patient type, and you have a foot in the door. Follow up with the doctor to see the results on the patient type and then you can push for other patient types.

2 :: 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, 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.

3 :: If given a territory and a list of physicians to call on, how would you go about it?

Nothing beats sound field knowledge to make a strategy. Know your territory first. Know your customers and their sales potential. Analyze the data and figure out where your biggest potential is in terms of the 80:20 principle (80% of your business comes from 20% of the people). After the A list is covered, then make your own B list and C list within a time frame that fits with the organizations sales closing

4 :: What is the most challenging aspect of a pharmaceutical representative?

As a pharmaceutical representative your biggest challenge is pretty much in influencing the physicians among many others representatives who are doing the same thing. Tell the interviewer on how you find your way to sell yourself to physicians creatively and to make it count in numbers.

5 :: How do you perceive a pharmaceutical representatives typical workday?

As a sales representative you know very well that your job is to sell to the physicians. Whatever it takes you have to increase the sales figures. To do that you must make a favorable impression on the doctors, especially the ones that count. Discuss how you plan for each doctor differently based on their work schedules and preferences, likes and dislikes.

6 :: How do you think the company would help you the best?

This question basically means the company wishes to know whether you are a team player and whether you can handle your own resources.
The answer to this question is that the company should chalk out a plan and quota that you should achieve in a month and then give you the resources that are reasonable and logical for you to meet.

7 :: 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.
The best answer to this question is that you had a cordial relationship with your supervisor and that any differences you had were purely theoretical and in the end, what was best for the company won.

8 :: How do you perceive a typical day for pharmaceutical sales representative?

When asked this question, it would normally mean that the interviewer is looking for your dedication and whether you are up to the physical aspect of working as a pharmaceutical salesperson.
To this question, you should generally reply that you are quite aware of the day time table of a pharmaceutical salesman.
You would also have to make a special mention of the times when the medical practitioners and other medical officers are relatively free, that being around seven in the morning or even around nine in the evening.
This way, you will not only speak about your knowledge of the business, but also inform the interviewer that you are ready for the hard work that goes into becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative.

9 :: What is the most challenging aspect of being a pharmaceutical sales person?

A person who is new to the world of pharmaceutical sales will most definitely point out that the most difficult part is meeting the medical practitioner, but that is actually not so.

The most difficult part is actually convincing a doctor to switch from a drug that s/he and their patients are quite comfortable with and present a new alternative, which may or may not be better. Of course, the target group of a pharmaceutical is quite different than a common salesman, but that is the least challenging aspect of a pharmaceutical sales rep.

10 :: I am 40-something years old. Am I too old to land a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative?

No way, baby. It is true that most of the new hires are in their twenties. However a good candidate is a good candidate regardless of their age.

One of my mentors, a super successful representative here in Long Island, began his career at the age of 45. (He is now in his 70's and is having his best year ever). Age usually brings with it a level of maturity and wisdom. This will translate into confidence and poise in front of the customer. Also, keep in mind that many of the docs are older than 40.

However, keep in mind that all hires are done on the local level. Each hiring manager brings his or her own set of preferences and biases to the interview table.

One of my best friends in the industry started pharmaceutical sales at the age of 45. He left the insurance business
after 16 years to become a rep.

I had the pleasure of training him and mentoring him. Last year, after 4 years in the field, he made enough money in bonus to buy a brand new BMW. (I'm talking 5-series here).

He relates real well to his customers and they will do almost anything he asks them to do.

That being said, being young is not a disadvantage, but it is not the panacea either.

11 :: I think I want to be a pharmaceutical sales representative, but how can I know for sure?

The first thing you should do is sit down and talk with as many real live reps as you can. Ride a day in the field with a rep, too. You'll learn firsthand that the job is not all peaches and cream.

You should be very familiar with what you are getting yourself into. It's like any career choice - you need to not have merely a good idea of what the job is about, you should have a working understanding of what a rep does.

The other things you should do is examine your motives. If you're looking for big money fast, this is not the job for you. If you want to be continuously learning and training, this might be up your alley.

12 :: Is a scientific degree required for entry into pharmaceutical sales? What about prior sales experience?

Successful candidates do not necessarily require either of the above. However, there is a great deal of variation here.

Mostly, it depends on the hiring managers' personal opinion. If she is trying to fill a very competitive territory, she may feel the need to hire a real seasoned "pit-bull" to go out there and grab the business. Or maybe, she has had a problem with a recent hire who has difficulty grasping scientific data and is determined to hire a person with strong science background to add to her team's qualities.

13 :: How long should I expect my job search to last?

If you don't have any experience in the field, it's reasonable to expect your search to last 6 to 12 months, start to finish. It will probably take a minimum of 3 months to land your first interview, and more like 6 months if you don't have any connections. The interview process - from the time you have your first interview until you are offered a job - takes a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks.

In my case, it took a long time. I sent out 170 resumes. I got four or five interviews. I saved my stack of rejection letters for a long time. Apparently, I had " outstanding skills and qualifications, however there were candidates that were more suitable" than I was. Be prepared to get a whole bunch of rejection letters (if they even bother to send you a rejection letter, which they don't always).

14 :: I am willing to relocate for the right pharmaceutical sales job. Will this help me in my job search?

You don't necessarily have an advantage simply because you're willing to relocate. In fact, it could add a great deal of complication to your job hunt. Territory managers are rated on recruiting effectiveness, and they want to fill their own spots before passing on information to other managers.

I would recommend trying to set up interviews in the city you're hoping to live. After you've already landed a job as a rep, your willingness to relocate may give you more opportunities.

15 :: Will a DWI hurt my chances of being hired as a pharmaceutical rep?


It used to be if you have a DWI on your record you were toast. However sometimes exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. There is no way of predicting if they will make an exception in your case.

There are instances where people who got DWI's in their teens and have clean records for many years have got hired. Also, sometimes one of the smaller companies will tolerate a DWI for an outstanding candidate.

16 :: I have bad credit, will this hurt my chances?

This is a common question. There is no clear consensus regarding
how your credit rating impacts your viability as a candidate.

I have surfed many pharmaceutical sales message boards looking fo
r information regarding the importance of a credit rating and its impact
on a hiring decision. I have read postings that swear it's important to
have a good credit rating; others say it is not important at all.

You have to remember that your potential employer will be entrusting
you with a company car, a company credit card and a company gasoline
card. You will be required to manage a territory budget of many
thousands of dollars each year. You may have to deal with cash advances
and other financial instruments.

Therefore, you can understand that some hiring managers may want to
use your credit report as a barometer of how you handle money.

In my opinion, you should not let your credit report prevent you from
applying for the job. As long as you don't have any bankruptcies or
liens against you, you should be in good shape.

17 :: How necessary is it to have a 4-year degree?

YES; The one thing that every drug rep has in common is a 4-year college degree or higher. Even an RN without a BS degree won't get in.

A 4-year degree is a prerequisite if you want to be a pharmaceutical sales representative. I don't want to sugar-coat things -- if you don't have a 4-year college degree, you have very weak prospects of becoming a pharmaceutical sales rep regardless of what your work experience is.

Even RN's with 10 years experience and an Associate's degree must obtain their 4-year bachelor's degree in order to meet the minimum qualifications.

I get all kinds of hate mail, blah blah blah, etc for stating this. I do not make up the rules; it is what it is.

18 :: Will an MBA or other advanced degree improve my chances of being hired as a pharmaceutical sales rep?

In my experience, an MBA is not going to make or break you.

Most of the people hired for pharmaceutical sales rep positions do not have MBAs. It's more important to have charisma, to present yourself well, and to be able to clearly articulate your thoughts.

19 :: What are the pros and cons of working with a recruiter?

There are times when it is wise to work with a recruiter. Usually a recruiter is looking for a very specific candidate. If you match the profile that the recruiter is looking for, your search can be expedited. Also, it's smart to work with a recruiter if you have experience in the field.

Your recruiter can do the dirty work for you while you pick and choose what opportunities to pursue. For example, you can say "I want to work in this particular neighborhood, here are my salary requirements, and don't bother me unless you find something that fits the bill."

On the other hand, a recruiter isn't the answer for most job-seekers. Recruiters tend to cherry-pick: they'll harvest 1,000 resumes knowing full well they are only going to place a few easy candidates who are most in demand.

20 :: How do I shop for a professional resume writer?

You need to be very careful when choosing a resume writer. There are many people in the resume writing business
. Many are skillful and professional but some of them are scam-artists looking to make a quick dollar. It is up to you to screen out the wannabees from the true professionals.

The best way to find a resume writer is by personal referral from a friend or colleague.

I recommend that you choose a minimum of three resume-writing services and interview them before you plunk down any money.

Here are some questions to ask your potential resume writer:

- How long have you been in business?

- Can you provide me with references from clients that have used your services within the past 4 - 6 weeks?

- How many resumes have you done within the past 12 months for people like me trying to break into a particular industry?

- Do you write the resumes yourself or do you farm them out to someone else.

- Do you have a guarantee whereby if my resume does not attract interviews, it is updated for free?