7 Interview Questions to Identify Productive Pharmaceutical Sales Talent

In a sea of job applications, the productivity of candidates can be difficult to gauge, yet critical to a successful hire. As a pharmaceutical recruiter, you have the challenging task of weeding through hundreds of candidates with similar education, work experiences, accolades, and more.  

Here are seven interview questions to identify which pharma candidates will be most productive for your clients: 

1. Can you describe your typical workday?

How a candidate organizes their day can tell you a lot about their potential for success and productivity. Look for pharmaceutical sales reps who very thoughtfully plan out their days. This could mean identifying priorities the night before or first thing each day. Productive candidates look at the big picture and strategically work toward their goals.   

2. In what type of work environment are you most motivated?

In addition to how they spend their time, it’s important to hear job candidates explain their ideal work environments. There is no one right answer to this question, but there are some clues to listen for. Whether they prefer to work alone or in a collaborative environment, distractions are inevitable. How do they deal with distractions? What organization and collaboration tools do they prefer to use? Ensure their answers align with your team.

3. What are your 30, 60, 90-day plans?

Productive people will come into an interview with an idea of how they will be successful in the role. Asking them about their plans for the first month or quarter will quickly show a candidate’s preparation and motivation for your pharmaceutical team. If their answer is actionable with clear steps for success, they’ve already been productive in forming these plans. This is a good indication this productivity will continue once hired.  

4. What’s an example of a time when you found a way to make your work more efficient?

Another way to identify top pharmaceutical sales talent is to ask situational questions with specific examples from their previous roles. For example, employees who can identify and improve processes or workflow are ideal hires. You want to look for someone who will use their downtime on the job to increase efficiency for themselves or your team.

5. How do you handle competing priorities?

Multitasking is essential to any pharmaceutical sales role, so you want to determine how candidates cope with several priorities at a time. Candidates who can demonstrate how they stay organized during busy periods, are certainly going to be productive on your team. Being able to stay flexible as things change is also important.

6. What do you do to cope with work-related stress?

Identifying a candidate who will be the most productive includes determining if they will remain productive in times of stress. Everyone goes through work-related stress sometimes. A candidate who will be more successful during those times knows it’s important to take a step back when they’re stressed and remember why their work is important. This shows that they will make every effort to stay motivated and productive. 

Strong candidates might also note that they will stay transparent with their manager when stressed. After all, it’s better to hire someone who will ask for help than someone who will pretend nothing is wrong and let their work or team suffer.

7. What makes you the most excited about this position?

This last question truly gets to the root of the candidate’s motivations, which will influence the way they work. If their response is about the impact they’ll have on the product, for example, you know they’ll prioritize productivity because they love to reach their goals. Additionally, if they’re excited about the growth and learning opportunities, this shows their motivation will lead to success in their job.