On The Job

How Admitting Mistakes Can Actually Help Your Medical Sales Career


In any job, you’re bound to make mistakes. These mistakes can follow you throughout your career, especially when you fail to take responsibility for those errors or let your emotions take over. Even worse, if you develop a habit of repeating mistakes, you set the stage for discord with everyone around you in the workplace.

In fact, of the more than 600 employees surveyed for the 2016-2017 Workfront State Of Enterprise Work Report, 95 percent said they’ve had ongoing conflict with other team members.

Stress and conflict cause people to do and say things they later regret. This can devastate career growth and future opportunities if not managed appropriately.

While recovering from these mistakes is difficult, it’s not impossible. The key to remaining hireable is to be able to explain your actions, what you learned from your mistakes, and how it helped you grow personally and professionally.

Here’s how to overcome workplace mistakes and ensure you only move forward in your career:

1) Accept responsibility

Being able to recognize and admit mistakes demonstrates many qualities that are attractive to medical sales recruiters, such as grace, honesty, and integrity.

Take full responsibility for your mistakes and turn negatives into positives whenever possible. Explain what you learned from the incident and why the experience has made you an even more valuable candidate. Do not focus as much on the mistake as how you corrected it.

Make sure to remain objective. Rather than defend your stance or point of view, this is the time to accurately explain the situation, how you reacted to it, and how — in retrospect — you understand that it could have been handled in a different manner.

2) Practice emotional command

Objectivity is the key to keeping a handle on your emotions. Some recruiters purposely bring up challenging or emotional situations to see your real-life reaction. Medical sales reps must be able to think on their feet and remain composed at all times, so recruiters may use this tactic to test your emotional command.

While it’s difficult to keep emotions under control when discussing a particularly upsetting incident (such as job loss or discipline), there are some methods that help alleviate stress and frustration when faced with your own mistakes.

The best way to prevent an unraveling is understanding how your emotions tend to progress.
When you feel like you’re about to lose composure, visualize yourself angry and imagine how that looks.

Most everyone regrets outbursts and becomes embarrassed if they have lashed out. This embarrassment can actually lead to more mistakes and continued feelings of anger and regret. Being able to look ahead in the moment and rationalize this progression can halt it.

You should also always be conscious of your breathing. Maintain a steady and controlled breathing pattern. This will help maintain a normal heart rate and will make you feel more relaxed. Often, this is enough to prevent escalation.

3) Move forward with grace

You can’t change the past, but you can change how you’ll react to similar situations in the future. Make it clear how managing and overcoming past conflicts and stressful situations has made you a stronger and more resilient professional.

In fact, a common interview question is “How do you handle stress?” Recruiters are looking for detailed insight into how you conduct yourself at work. Medical sales is highly stressful. Being able to successfully navigate a difficult situation makes you a more desirable candidate.

In addition, the ability to get along with people (co-workers, management, and clients) with diverse personalities and viewpoints, is an asset. This demonstrates adaptability and a willingness to find common ground in order to work together.

Despite your best efforts to explain past mistakes and what you learned, there will be times when your sentiments will fall on deaf ears. Don’t dwell on those situations, but rather move forward with poise and grace.

Have you successfully bounced back from a professional mistake? Tell us how in the comments!