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Five of the Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions
Adapted from How to Break Into Pharmaceutical Sales
A Headhunter’s Strategy
by Tom Ruff
At some point in your interview, you’ll probably want to come “off script.” You will have rehearsed. You will have memorized a couple of points you want to make. But you should feel comfortable enough to go with the flow of the interview, to respond to any surprises that come your way – and, most important, to speak from the heart. Here are five of the Top Ten most frequently asked questions in pharmaceutical sales representatives interviews along with insight into what the interviewer is looking for with each question:

1. What are your weaknesses? This isn’t necessarily about weaknesses but about determining if you are working aggressively on your self-development and can talk about the areas in which you need work. Some show stoppers to this question: “I need to learn to close better. I need to become more organized.” I can tell how goal-oriented a person is by how they answer this question.
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2. Describe how you worked through a situation with a difficult or dishonest person in your workplace. Here is where you are looking for maturity and sound judgment. This is where someone who is not so mature can slip up. It also gives me a glimpse into their ethics. I’m looking for someone who won’t go along with an unethical choice and who won’t let the team go along with it either. I’m looking for someone who is going to stand their ground.

3. Describe a situation where you had to overcome an obstacle to achieve your goal (the sale). I want to see if this person has a plan in place. I am looking for multi-layers of effort and ideas. Were resources brought to bear that were outside the candidate’s sphere of influence?

4. Why should we hire you? Here I am looking for your preparation. Do you have a track record of success? Do you know what makes you successful?

5. What would you change about your current job or boss, if you could? If they bash a current boss, that’s a big black flag. “Five years down the line, this guy’s going to be making stuff up about me.” I’m not looking for sour grapes, I’m looking for constructive comments.
Based on my proprietary survey of district managers,
here are five of the Top Ten most frequently asked questions in pharmaceutical sales.
A district manager for a Fortune 500 company provides some insight as to what he is looking for with each question.