Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Tips

Pharmaceutical sales interviews can vary. They may focus on products, or they may stress your experience and ability to handle the position, which may involve a wide range of materials and goods. Pharmaceutical sales interviews can also relate to your basic commercial  and industry knowledge.

Read below for three common questions that may pop up in your pharmaceutical sales interviews. Each of these questions deal with primary issues in pharmaceutical sales. You will also find sample interview answers for each question.

1: What Do You Know about Our Business?

This is a particularly dangerous question. If you don’t know anything about the business, forget about the job. Remember, this is a sales job, and ignorance is not an option. You must know a lot about the business, because that really is your job as a salesperson.

Your answer should demonstrate the following qualities:

  • A clear knowledge of the business, its operations and product types
  • An understanding of the priorities of the business
  • If the business is a franchise, an understanding of the situation in relation to franchisee's rights, entitlements, and related issues.

Your typical answer would be, “The company has been in business since 1985. It’s a major national pharmaceutical wholesaler, distributing both its own brands of supplements and vitamins, and a large range of other pharmaceuticals, including prescription materials, throughout North America. Total sales for last quarter were $125 million. The business won Pharmaceutical Wholesaler of the Year last year.”

2: What Experience Do You Have in Pharmaceutical Sales?

This is another extremely important question you may face during your pharmaceutical sales interviews. Your answer must show obvious skills which closely match the pharmaceutical sales position. Your answer must also prove you can do the job well.

For example: The job is a suburban sales position, dealing with 150 pharmacies in the area. The applicant has experience in a smaller sales area with less clients. The answer emphasizes skills, not volume of clients. “I’ve had a lot of experience working with suburban distribution for the last five years. My current position involves very similar work to this position, working with clients in local pharmacies. We distribute mainly proprietary shelf line products and pharmacist materials. I’m responsible for ordering and order tracking, and dealing with client issues.”

The question covers the entire sales role and the type of distribution. It also matches the profile of the sales materials. The 5 years of experience indicate a solid level of knowledge of the job.

3: Can You Give Us an Example of Dealing with a Client's Complaint?

You need to demonstrate understanding of both employer and client issues. Pharmaceutical sales involves a lot of sensitivity to product issues, ordering, and other basic functions of the sales division. During pharmaceutical sales interviews, your examples need to show your full process of solving the problem.

You might say, “I had a customer who was very concerned about some damaged packaging for merchandise which he’d received. The materials were temperature-sensitive, and naturally he was concerned that they’d been affected. Our policy is to take clients at their word regarding any concerns they have regarding goods we supply. We replace goods when these situations arise without question. I arranged for pickup of the damaged goods and delivery of the replacements within 24 hours.”

This answer covers all parts of the client relationship and the employer's policy in the process of dealing with the complaint.