You finally get the e-mail you have been waiting for “I’d like to speak to you about our medical sales job, are you available at 1:00 p.m. today?” It is 10:00 a.m. and you immediately say “yes”. Then you realize you will have no time to prepare and will not have much insight into what will happen during the call. This happens all too often and unfortunately and in the excitement of the moment candidates forget to ask if the next day would be an option, giving themselves time to be prepared. Being prepared (and coached if possible) is extremely important during the medical sales interview process. Once you do poorly on an interview, that can’t be undone and you don’t get that opportunity back.
There are many other times during the interview that you can step forward and manage the process as well. Candidates often will tell me they are totally dumbfounded because they had “amazing chemistry” with the hiring manager and could not understand why they weren’t called back. It has happened to everyone at some point. You walk into the interview, he mentions he also went to Auburn and suddenly 50 minutes of the one hour interview have been spent discussing last year’s national championship football team. You answer a couple of questions and feel great – then get the e-mail saying they will be moving forward with another candidate. You were sure you connected, so how could this have happened? Well, connecting on a personal level does not mean he sees you as someone that he would buy from. If he doesn’t feel he would buy from you, why would his customers? As a salesperson, you do want to connect, but must also remember this is a business interview, not a cocktail party. If you find yourself going down this road, simply pause and redirect him by asking something about the job or company.
Over the course of the interview, a hiring manager has a checklist of sorts that he needs completed to review later when comparing candidates. If he forgets to interview you, that checklist will be blank when he reviews his notes. It also demonstrates that you cannot manage people during the sales process. If you do this with him, would you do it with a potential customer – forgetting to even cover the product and close the sale?
I am frequently told by hiring managers that “over talking” is the number one reason a candidate would not receive a job offer, even if they are qualified for the job.
Always remember, how you handle the interview is the first indicator of how you will manage a sales call. Don’t try to take control, but do stay on track!
Job seekers are always welcome to contact me with any questions they may have about the search process or their specific obstacles.
Elizabeth Danford, The medical sales / MSL job search expert, resume writer, job search strategist and interview coach