By: Janine Corridoni, Lead Talent Acquisition Consultant at Philips
As a salesperson, you have a knack for inspiring confidence, especially with customers or even with colleagues. But sometimes that confidence may be misinterpreted while interviewing for a new job.
If you have ever struggled with what to say during an interview so that you don’t oversell your experience, you’re not alone. The key to advancing in the recruitment process is learning how to highlight your strengths thoughtfully.
If you want to ace your next medical device sales interview, here are six ways you can stand out from other candidates for all the right reasons:
1. Use your research skills
Most likely, you are excellent at digging into data and doing your research about a potential new customer before meeting with them. Put that strength to use when entering a job interview, too.
You would be surprised how many candidates walk into an interview unprepared. This gives you a competitive advantage to stand out by knowing about the company, its products, and competitors in depth.
A company’s website, LinkedIn page, and recent news stories are great places to start finding this information. Also, study the job description to get a feel for how your competencies are a fit for the position.
It helps to think outside the box. For example, I recently had a candidate at Philips purchase one of our products the same day as our phone interview. This above-and-beyond effort demonstrated how serious he was at learning about the product prior to his interviews with the team.
2. Start a dialogue
Interacting with customers will be a large part of your job and recruiters want to see how you establish rapport and build relationships. Prepare questions that will engage the medical device sales recruiter, such as: what are the attributes of your most successful salespeople? Asking questions helps you assess how you will fit into the sales organization, while also getting the recruiter excited about your potential as an employee.
To help keep your responses to their questions concise — and make the best possible impression — try a classic interviewing technique: the STAR method. It’s been around for decades for a reason. Here’s how it works:
- Describe a situation you were presented with.
- Explain the task you were trying to achieve.
- Define the actions you took to resolve the problem.
- Discuss the results, particularly quantifiable outcomes in terms of revenue, efficiency or impact (without embellishing).
Craft stories in advance that you can share in under 60 seconds. Consider practicing with a significant other or trusted friend. He or she can give you feedback to avoid coming off as too boastful.
In medical device sales, it helps to be fearless. I once had a candidate find an employee within Philips with the same job title as the role she was interviewing for. She took the initiative to reach to our employee on LinkedIn and pick her brain about what it is like to work for Philips.
This dialogue went a long way with the hiring manager, showing initiative to get an inside perspective on the role and our company.
3. Show you are a team player
In an interview, you are selling yourself, which means it is easy to talk too much about your personal achievements. Balance speaking about your own successes with those you achieved thanks to the support of a team.
Some products or solutions may have a long sales cycle making your team a critical part to fulfilling your sales potential. Switch your language to focus on “we” versus “I” or “me” (i.e., “We were able to do…” vs. “What I did…”). This will convey the caliber of your accomplishments and demonstrate your commitment to collaboration.
4. Be honest about your areas for growth
People who are truly confident admit they have room for improvement. In fact, companies highly value employees with a growth mindset — meaning they learn from past failures.
Do not dodge questions like: what’s your greatest weakness? Instead, embrace them and see it as an opportunity to share a story about how you overcame a professional challenge.
Similarly, be clear about your career aspirations. Explain, specifically, how you would like to grow within the company and how you will get there. Also, give the interviewer insight into your passion: why did you pursue a career in medical device sales? What inspires you most about helping doctors treat their patients or even helping people live healthier?
One of my best hires at Philips actually did not have sales experience with the type of product this position was responsible for selling. He went into the interview knowing this was a gap in his experience but had a strategy on how to close that gap.
He came prepared with a 30/60/90 day strategy on how he would invest in his own training, including leveraging colleagues that were in the industry. He made it impossible for the interview team to say no based off of his lack of his experience selling this particular product.
5. Highlight key wins
Presenting a laundry list of your accomplishments can come off as overselling. Curate a selection of your top accolades that closely fit the job requirements. On your resume and in conversation with the recruiter, focus on measurable sales data, products or solutions you have sold, or awards you have received.
6. Nail the follow-up
The majority of candidates fail to send a follow-up note, so be sure to email the recruiter a quick “thank you” within 24 hours of meeting. It is a simple way to show you are invested — and even gain a competitive edge.
Remember, in a medical device sales interview, your goal is to position your skills as a match to the company’s current challenges or needs. When you do, it is a win-win for both you and your potential employer and increases your chances to land the job you want.
Wondering what it’s like to work in sales at Philips? Learn more.