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Pharmaceutical Sales Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Heather Douglass

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Heather has over 20 years experience recruiting and hiring candidates,
specifically in the health care industry.
Job Interviews     Careers     Sales    
Question 1 of 30
If given a territory and a list of physicians to call on, how would you go about it?
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How to Answer
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.
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Answer Examples
1.
If given a territory and a list of physicians to call on, how would you go about it?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
2.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
3.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
4.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
5.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
6.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
7.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
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.

Heather's Answer
"
9.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
10.
What experience do you have that would lend itself to pharmaceutical sales?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
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.

Heather's Answer
"My biggest work achievement has been becoming my Jr. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative's mentor."
12.
How do you handle the pressure of sales quotas?
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
13.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
14.
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.

Heather's Answer
"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."
15.
A doctor doesn't want to use your drug because it's too expensive. How do you proceed?
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.
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30 Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. If given a territory and a list of physicians to call on, how would you go about it?
  2. How did you prepare for this interview?
  3. A doctor is resistant to trying your product. What do you do?
  4. Are you willing to re-locate?
  5. How would your co-workers describe you.
  6. It's your first week on the job; what will you do to organize yourself?
  7. What are your goals?
  8. How would you ultimately describe your work style?
  9. How would your boss describe you.
  10. What experience do you have that would lend itself to pharmaceutical sales?
  11. In all of your work experience what accomplishment are you the most proud of and why?
  12. How do you handle the pressure of sales quotas?
  13. How do you deal with rejection in your current position?
  14. How do you handle stressful situations?
  15. A doctor doesn't want to use your drug because it's too expensive. How do you proceed?
  16. Can you work under pressure?
  17. How do you get past the gatekeeper to the physician?
  18. Tell me about three of your weaknesses?
  19. Are you currently interviewing with other pharmaceutical companies?
  20. Why did you leave your last job?
  21. Why do you want a job in pharmaceutical sales?
  22. 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?
  23. What traits do you possess that will make you a successful Pharmaceutical Sales Representative.
  24. Do you feel you will succeed as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?
  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?
  26. What are your salary expectations?
  27. What is your communication style?
  28. Describe a difficult work situation and what you learned from it.
  29. Tell me about a time to had too many things to do and you needed to prioritize your tasks.
  30. What is an area you would like to improve upon?
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