30 Questions and Answers Written by Heather Douglass
Updated on August 30th, 2018
| Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates, specifically in the health care industry.
Question 1 of 30
What experience do you have that would lend itself to pharmaceutical sales?
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Sales experience is not essential for entering the pharmaceutical industry. If you conducted research, networked with individuals in the profession, and conveyed your determination to be successful, you should be more desirable as a candidate than someone with sales experience. If you have experience selling a product or service, now is the time to sell the interviewer on how you performed. If you have no previous sales experience, describe times in the past that you have sold an idea, yourself, or a new way of doing things at your work or school.
"I've been a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative selling oral asthma inhalers for the last year. I look forward to the opportunity to represent your company and it's ACE inhibitors and BETA Blockers."
If given a territory and a list of physicians to call on, how would you go about it?
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A map is your best friend as a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep. Being able to map out the locations of your offices will help you make the best use of your time. Tell the interviewer how you will divide and conquer. Will you drive the furthest and make your way back? Will you contact all your Dr.'s first to keep track of the best time to visit them and then work from there? The important thing to relay to the interviewer is your ability to be flexible and patient.
"My schedule is based solely on the provider's availability. I do my best to start furthest from the office and work my way back."
To answer this question you can run through your list of stress remedies with the interviewer. Tell the interviewer that you start with taking a few moments to gather your thoughts a few moments with a cup of tea and some music. Going for a run and getting the endorphins moving could be a great way to relieve the stress as well. There is also nothing wrong with stating that you would ask for help.
"I'd continue my routine of the gym and time to myself to relax but if I needed help I would ask. I'd ask one of my fellow Representatives if they had any tips or suggestions to meet my sales quotas."
A doctor doesn't want to use your drug because it's too expensive. How do you proceed?
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This is a common concern heard by Pharmaceutical Sale Representatives. Your job is to change the doctor's perception of the value of your product. Tell the interviewer that you would acknowledge the physician‘s concern about the price and describe the benefits of your product based on the information that you know and have been given about the physician‘s patients and about your product. Tell the interviewer that you would then prove that your product is a good value even though the price may be high. Let the interviewer know about your ability to gain agreement and ask the physician for a commitment to prescribe your product.
Don't sell yourself short by giving a simple yes or no answer. Take advantage this question and take the opportunity to sell your skills and value profiles. Provide a brief yet comprehensive answer and seize the opportunity to sell yourself.
" Yes, I usually find it stimulating. I believe in being proactive and not reactive. I incorporate planning and time management into my daily routine to avoid any stressful situations."
6. How did you prepare for this interview? When preparing for an interview you'll research the company, talk to friends that work within the company, make phone calls to the company and may even take advantage of a ride along with a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative to make sure you know what you are getting into. Tell the interviewer about the extent you want to prepare and network and you'll be sure to get a follow-up interview. Here is an answer example: "I was invited by a friend, and Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, to shadow him for the last 3 months. I was able to observe his interactions with administrative staff and medical professionals. It not only confirmed that I wanted to be in Pharmaceutical Sales but I also gained a mentor."7. How would your co-workers describe you. This question is being asked to assess your relationships with coworkers and your role within a functional team. Your co-workers may describe you as being dependable, trustworthy and hard-working. Skip any crazy stories that might paint a different picture. Keep it work related and you'll be in the clear. Here is an answer example: "My co-workers would say that I like to have fun with it’s appropriate and that I know how to laugh to keep morale high and tension low."8. How would you ultimately describe your work style? As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, you may have to change up your work styles based on what you have on your plate that day. Tell the interviewer if you are a planner or if you work best Autonomously or Collaboratively. Here is an answer example: "9. How do you get past the gatekeeper to the physician? The number one thing to remember as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative is to always be kind and polite to everyone, especially the front desk staff of the clinic you are trying to sell to. You must develop and maintain a good relationship with this person. Tell the interviewer about a time you had a hard time getting a receptionist to warm up to you and how you convinced them that you were a kind person just wanting to share more information with their providers. Here is an answer example: "The way to get past the front desk staff is to treat them with respect. Respecting them, and the job that they do, might get you some face time with the provider or give you the chance to leave your contact information behind."10. Are you willing to re-locate? If you are, this can be very beneficial to you. If you are not, now is the time to say so. Most pharmaceutical companies prefer to hire local people because of their local ties. If you are not able to move across the company tell the interviewer that you are comfortable driving between clients and staying the night if necessary. Here is an answer example: "My family and I just moved here and I'm not ready to relocate. I am used to covering large territories and going out of town often and am happy to do so in this role as well."11. In all of your work experience what accomplishment are you the most proud of and why? This question is your chance to brag a little. Because this is your personal accomplishment don't feel pressured to talk about something that you feel will impress the interviewer. The accomplishments you’re most proud of will tell your interviewer about what’s important to you and therefore what kind of environment you will thrive in. Some people need public recognition for their achievements, while for others it’s more about setting and fulfilling personal goals and standards. Here is an answer example: "My biggest work achievement has been becoming my Jr. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative's mentor."12. Tell me about three of your weaknesses? Interviewers these days are getting tricky with their interview questions. Because you've prepared for your interview you have memorized your greatest weakness and can speak to you. But can you answer the question that involves sharing three of your weaknesses? Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits. Public speaking or working within a large team could be a few choices. This will take skill on your part to keep it short and sweet and not allow the interviewer to second guess why they chose to interview you. Here is an answer example: 13. Are you currently interviewing with other pharmaceutical companies? The answer to this interview question is not "this is the only company I'm interviewing with." You'll want to keep the ball in your court and show that you are desired by other employers. This could also be a great tactic to negotiate your salary. If they want you and you are interviewing with others they may offer you more to stay with them. Here is an answer example: "this is the only company I'm interviewing with."14. How do you deal with rejection in your current position? Rejection, disappointment, failure are all concerns of a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative but you get up and keep going. This question gives you the opportunity to pinpoint a particular occasion when you experienced such adversity and how you moved on and learned from it. Here is an answer example: "I asked a client what it was for them that made them decide to buy my product. I was able to use their feedback and apply it to future sales."15. Why did you leave your last job? As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, you know that it's a competitive world out there. Because the market can be up and down there might be times you look for a change to secure your employment. If you are currently employed, tell the interviewer that you are looking for a company that values their employees or a position that you can grow into. If you're unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context. Here is an answer example: "I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me."16. How would your boss describe you. Characteristics you will want to highlight with your answer to this question will be ones that show a successful follower and leader. Share a story with the interviewer where your supervisor appreciated that you could prioritize tasks and manage my responsibilities daily. Here is an answer example: "My boss tells me that I have a sixth sense for sales and I learn new information and procedures quickly. These skills account for my two promotions in three years. My boss was also impressed by how I was able to lead my team."17. Why do you want a job in pharmaceutical sales? Becoming a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative offers excellent salary potential, great benefits, flexibility, the opportunity for growth, and frequently the use of a company car. Tell the interviewer why you chose a career change or to take your medical background to a new level. Be sure to tell the interviewer why you feel you would be best for the job. Have sales experience? Tell the interviewer about your ability to exceed goals. Here is an answer example: "For the last 5 years I've been a Digital Marketer for the Healthcare field. With my medical background and personality, I knew I wanted to get into medical sales. This last year, working alongside pharmaceutical sales reps, assisting them with their marketing information confirmed that this was a role that I was ready to move to."18. On your last visit to Dr. Smith, she committed to writing your drug and you left samples. When you return, the samples are gone but she has not written any prescriptions. Now she wants more samples. What do you do? As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, you use the motto 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine.' There are times that providers don't always hold true to their commitment to writing for your drug. As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, one of your traits is to be direct and confident in your sales. Tell the interviewer how you would be professionally direct with the provider to ask why they weren't writing for your drug. No prescriptions no samples. Here is an answer example: "Very professionally and direct I would ask the provider how they feel about the drug. What do they like best about it and why did they give them to their patients. I would confirm the information and then let them know that I would be happy to provide another 100 samples and that I would be back in one week to follow up."19. What traits do you possess that will make you a successful Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. This is your chance to sell yourself and tell the interviewer why they should choose you. Tell the interviewer that you are organized, goal-driven, persuasive and motivated. Keep your answer upbeat and energetic. Here is an answer example: "I am a confident and ambitious self-starter. I love learning new things. I work well independently, manage my time well and have exceptional communication skills."20. How do you handle stressful situations? Because everyone gets stressed out at work at one point or another, it's important not to state 'I do not typically have problems with stress.' Instead, tell the interviewer that when dealing with pressure and stress you take a moment to prioritize what you have going on. Here is an answer example: "I have learned the differences between negative stress and positive pressure and react accordingly. I reduce negative stress by dealing with the situation and perform under positive pressure by doing my best work."21. What are your goals? Instead of overthinking and getting too deep in answering this question go ahead talk about short-term and intermediate goals. Tell the interviewer about your desire to learn on the job, interest in learning about the drugs you will be responsible for selling and setting a routine in the new job. Here is an answer example: "My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented pharmaceutical company. My long-term goals will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility."22. Do you feel you will succeed as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative? This interview question will give the interviewer the chance to gauge your enthusiasm and confidence level. You must believe in yourself. Refer to the research you have done on your personal strengths and traits. You are organized, self-motivated, competitive and efficient. Share brief stories with your interviewer where you have sold goods, services, or yourself. Leave behind a list of your references for the interviewer to follow up with. Here is an answer example: "Success will be when I meet sales goals that I have given myself each month."23. A doctor is resistant to trying your product. What do you do? Active listening and a little bit of persistence will be what the Dr. ordered. Tell the interviewer that you will listen to what the Dr. is looking for, what their concerns are and that you'll throw in some samples if need be. Tell the interviewer what you've had to do in a similar situation in the past and how it worked out. Here is an answer example: "Hesitation and rejection is what makes me a stronger Sales Representative. If a doctor was hesitant in trying the product I would provide a brief overview, leave information behind as well as samples. I'd let them know that I would follow up with them after a month for feedback."24. It's your first week on the job; what will you do to organize yourself? Not every job allows you the opportunity to sit back, observe and get started in the job when you feel ready and trained. As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, your salary is determined by your ability to jump in and get started. Tell the interviewer about your daily planner you keep in your bag that plans out your life. Binders, folders, and clipboards can be your go-to as well. If you are unfamiliar with the territory, tell the interviewer that you plan on driving the area to get familiar with it and its surroundings. Here is an answer example: "I've always kept a detailed planner. My last three years have run very smoothly and I owe it all to my organization skills and planner."25. You have a lunch with a doctor scheduled, when a larger doctor calls and wants you to do a lunch at his office on the same day, and it's the only time he has. What would you do? Juggling clients can be a tricky thing as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. Tell the interviewer that you'll have to assess both situations. Maybe you just had lunch last week and closed a sale with the first doctor and today was simply a follow up that could be accomplished later in the day. Here is an answer example: "When the Dr. of the larger office called I would be honest in saying that I already had a meeting scheduled during the lunch hour but I would like to stop by with some samples and goodies around 1 pm."26. What are your salary expectations? To prepare for this interview question, do your homework and find out what the average salary is in the location you are looking to be a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. Remember this is just the first interview and you haven't been offered the job yet. The first interview is not the time to enter negotiations. Go ahead and give a broad salary range without selling yourself short. Here is an answer example: "I'm looking for a salary range between 80K and 120K a year."27. What is your communication style? As a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, it is important to know which type of communicator you are in order to effectively communicate with your customers, co-workers and other medical professionals. Do you consider your communication style analytical, intuitive, functional or personal? Tell the interviewer that you are able to change your communication style based on who you are addressing and their way of learning. The important thing to relay is that you are an effective communicator. You welcome the back and forth with your clients. Here is an answer example: "I've found that a clear and direct approach with my clients and coworkers has been my most effective communication style."28. Describe a difficult work situation and what you learned from it. The important part of answering this question will be telling the interviewer what you learned from the situation. Let the interviewer know that you aren't afraid to seek guidance from your superiors. Here is an answer example: "My colleague had horrible customer service one day. I was able to pull her to the side and have her take a break. I joined her in the break room and asked her if she was doing ok. She appreciated me talking to her and not making a scene on the line about her attitude. That day I learned to take a different approach to my colleague's reactions."29. Tell me about a time to had too many things to do and you needed to prioritize your tasks. When answering this question, go ahead and walk the interviewer through your process of prioritizing and why it works for you. Describe the job, the work inputs and the tasks involved. Explain the different levels of importance of each task. Explain how you work with management to arrange your priorities.
Describe how you manage time frames and explain why your system of prioritization works. Here is an answer example: "I meet with my office each morning to go over what each of us has on our to-do lists for the day. Our manager helps us prioritizing by letting us know what he needs from us and what can be put on hold. If one of us has a clear schedule we offer to help the other."30. What is an area you would like to improve upon? You have a couple options for this question. You can think of some weaknesses or skills you need to brush up on. You could also think about some skills you would like to acquire in this new role. Maybe learning how to handle the administrative side will help you learn a new software. If you decide to talk about one of your weaknesses, be sure to focus on how you are taking action to improve it. Here is an answer example: "I'm learning to say "
Author of Pharmaceutical Sales Answers and Questions
Heather Douglass has over 20 years of experience recruiting and hiring candidates. She has a knack for resume writing. You can find her on twitter at @heatherinidaho.
First written on: 07/18/2017 Last modified on: 08/30/2018
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