Finding the right sales job within the pharmaceutical industry can prove to be a challenge. Even more so when you consider that recent years have seen a slight drop in new drugs being brought into the marketplace, effectively reducing the number of available jobs. This makes joining forces with a sales recruiter a crucial aspect of your job search.
In a recent article, MedReps discussed the Top 10 Tips for Working With Medical Sales Recruiters and mentioned that medical sales recruiters have considerable power in the hiring process. The same goes for pharmaceutical sales recruiters. Keep in mind that recruiters are, in fact, much more than simply a “middle man” and ultimately, if you make the right impression, they may even act as an advocate for you with the hiring company.
So, what’s the best advice for job seekers and candidates looking for help from pharmaceutical sales recruiters? Below is a top 10 list to help any pharmaceutical sales job candidate understand how recruiters operate and what individual job seekers can do to maximize their employment potential.
1) Know the role of the recruiter. First and foremost, you must understand and keep in mind the role of the recruiter. The goal of the pharmaceutical sales recruiting process is to find people for jobs, not to find jobs for people. Show the recruiter how you are a good fit for the job they are seeking to fill. Pharma sales recruiters are paid by the hiring company when they place a candidate in a job and they want to get it right.
2) Ask for guidance. Megan Driscoll, Biopharma Recruiter at BioSpace, says that asking questions and showing enthusiasm is definitely recommended: “Asking for help shows you are interested in fully preparing for your interview.” Seeking assistance from a recruiter and asking questions not only shows that you’re interested in a particular job that they may be recruiting you for, but for future employment opportunities. Recruiters are likely to remember you and how dedicated/committed you were to ace an interview or how willing you were to learn about a potential employer.
3) Act like a professional. Pretty common sense, really. Always act professionally in your dealings with pharmaceutical sales recruiters. Be courteous and respectful and keep personal matters to a minimum. A recruiter will assume how you act in front of them is how you will act in front of hiring managers, so show them that you are a professional and know how to behave in an interview. In addition, dress accordingly and be prepared!
4) Prove that you know about new and innovative drugs. The easy drugs, the low-hanging fruit per se, have already been discovered and are already represented quite well. It makes a lot of sense to research up and coming medications to stay on top of the game. In addition, many pharmaceutical companies are producing fewer new drugs now than in the past due to concerns about funding as well as stricter FDA regulations. However, despite industry worry, new drugs are still being tested and manufactured, and pharmaceutical sales jobs are still posted on a consistent basis. Keep yourself not only in the game, but ahead of it!
5) Pay attention to mergers and big buyouts. Companies that just merged might be in the process of restructuring their entire business profile/model, including their salesforce to reduce overall costs. This might result in a hiring freeze or even corporate downsizing, a fancy term for layoffs, or reducing the number of employees. It’s always good to know the companies you are applying to, whether it’s via a pharma recruiter or on your own.
6) Don’t be exclusive. You should never agree to work with one pharmaceutical recruiter exclusively. This will only limit your opportunities. However, if you are working with multiple recruiters, make sure they are not presenting you for the same job. This could potentially prevent you from being considered for the job at all. Additionally, never go directly to the hiring company to apply for a job that you found out about through a recruiter. While it’s unethical, it could also create conflict should you progress in the hiring process.
7) Be willing to take direction and advice. This could mean the difference between you getting the job and not getting the job. Pharmaceutical sales recruiters have inside information about what the hiring company is looking for, so if they advise you to re-write your resume, cover letter, or anything else, you should do it. Definitely take a recruiter’s sales job advice on how you can make the very best impression on their client.
8) Never pay for service. Legitimate medical and pharmaceutical recruiters do not charge candidates; they are compensated by the hiring company. If you’re looking for a career coach or a job counselor, that’s a different story and you should expect to pay for assistance, but none of these professionals should guarantee that they can find you a job. MedReps recommends carefully surveying any service before using them.
9) Open the lines of communication. Always establish communication expectations with a pharmaceutical sales recruiter. Ask how they prefer to communicate (phone, email, social media, etc.). You should also establish how often you can expect to hear from them and them from you. In addition, make sure to request that the recruiter always contact you before submitting your resume to a company for a pharmaceutical sales job.
10) Honesty is always the best policy. Last but not least, be honest. Tell your pharma sales recruiter the truth when it comes to your qualifications and experience. Be upfront about anything in your history that may hinder your ability to get the job. Tell them exactly what you are looking for in a job and be clear about what terms you are willing to accept in a job offer. It’s also wise to be honest about what happened in your interview. They’ll be talking to your interviewer as well, so if you screwed up, let them know so they won’t be taken by surprise.
While medical and pharmaceutical sales recruiters are a great addition to any job search strategy, job seekers should never rely solely on recruiters alone. Both the pharmaceutical sales job and medical sales job market are still bloated with talent, and recruiters are constantly flooded with resumes and phone calls from candidates seeking help with their job search.
Try not to get frustrated if you don’t hear back from recruiters. Of course, you should always follow up whenever you can, but if you’re not getting anywhere, move on. If you are a qualified applicant, there are plenty of other sales recruiters who will be eager to work with you. Lastly, it’s always good to take a proactive approach when looking for new pharmaceutical sales jobs; they’re not always going to come to you! Search for new recruiters and remember that there’s nothing wrong with finding and applying for jobs on your own.