COVID has thrown a curveball into just about every aspect of life, from the inclusion of facemasks into our wardrobes to the need to add “homeschool teacher” to the list of duties for many working parents.
Hiring and the medical sales job search have not escaped the pandemic’s wrath – however, for those targeting the medical sales industry, there is good news and some great news.
Starting with the great . . . eight months in, people are indeed hiring in the world of medical sales!
The good news? To stand out, you’ll need to show some unique skills, flexibility, and a great deal of patience. Fortunately, many of these new “requirements” are what make medical device sales reps successful!
Let’s break it down:
Virtual Work Skills
When looking at online job boards, it is clear certain skills are in great demand right now.
Terminology around “working independently” or “working with geographically-dispersed teams” are not new to the world of sales – but this sort of phrasing is absolutely on the rise in online job postings.
I’ve also seen a rise in language like “coordinating different remote resources,” or “comfortable working with teams through virtual social platforms.”
Recruiters are seeking candidates with these sorts of talents embedded in their job descriptions on LinkedIn and in their resumes.
When conveying this during your medical sales job search, I recommend sharing details of your sales territory – especially it if encompasses a vast area or multiple states – and spelling out how you communicated with others when in-person options weren’t available (video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, as well as old-fashioned phone calls).
Virtual Interviewing Skills
When it comes to video interviewing, many of the in-person rules around being prepared to answer traditional interview questions and come equipped with stories that depict your value still apply.
However, as you’ve likely seen if you’ve used any sort of web communications tools as of late, there are several pro video tips to keep in mind, so you look your best:
- Dress from top to bottom and avoid wearing white and black in favor of jewel or pastel tones. Even though the other person will likely never see your bottom half, you’ll want to be prepared for any eventuality, and you might feel better prepared if you look the part from head to toe.
- Make sure the camera appears at eye level by elevating your monitor or laptop with a box or book. Otherwise you may appear to have a double chin.
- Make sure you’re not in the shadows or blinded by your light source.
Lean into Flexibility
Because so many companies are in flux where their long-term budgets are concerned, don’t be surprised if anyone who contacts you appears to be gauging your interest in a contract or short-term role.
Should you choose to accept, don’t worry about how it might appear on your resume. When you explain as part of your story (both in person and in print) that you accepted the role to stay in the workforce and remain flexible, those worth their salt will understand.
Adaptability is key right now, and how you convey this says a lot to hiring managers operating in an environment filled with upheaval. Those who fail to flex on things like start dates, alternative locations or requirements, however, may burn a bridge.
Share your #WFH Story
If your current role pivoted from in-person to virtual, you’ll need to show how well you made the transition (and that the impact to business was minimal to non-existent), and how you were able to remain connected to your team and meet deadlines.
If, however, your role did NOT switch to virtual, do NOT discuss how excited you are to have the chance to be remote – as operating remotely is likely not part of the company’s long-term plans.
While many HR professionals and recruiters have always conducted phone screens and facilitated video interviews, the pandemic has thrown a wrench into how panel discussions and the traditional face-to-face meetings take place.
Moreover, many hiring and decision-makers are working overtime to maintain a “business as usual” environment for their customers/clients, which means it may take longer to receive a response or get an interview on the books.
To strike that ideal balance between showing proactive interest and not feeling desperate or like a pest, I recommend follow up every 5-7 working days to keep your name top of mind.
Here’s some sample language:
Given all that is going on, I completely understand any delays your team may need to take during the interview process.
If there’s anything else you need to assist you with next steps, I appreciate you letting me know. I remain excited about the opportunity to be a part of your team.
Displaying empathy and sensitivity to how people are coping can go a long way – as it shows an authentic interest in the organization and how they are navigating this challenging time.
The Bottom Line:
No matter the side of the hiring table on which you sit, all are trying to find their “new normal” in today’s unprecedented, unchartered territory.
Candidates who show interest, flexibility and adaptability, their proficiency in the tools needed for success in a virtual environment, and who practice empathy and patience, will without a doubt stand out in the medical sales job search.
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– By Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW