“So, can you tell me a little about yourself?” It’s a question we expect but don’t always understand. That’s because the interviewer really wants to know, “Who are you, and why should I consider you a serious candidate?”
The introduction, from saying hello to telling your story, is one of the most critical parts of the medical sales interview. It delivers the first impression of you to the interviewer, sets the stage for the rest of the interview and can be the key to being memorable.
So, however short and light, this summary of your background is worthy of serious preparation.
Your Introduction in an Interview – Why It’s Important
The interviewer has already seen your resume, so they don’t need you to repeat it back to them, right? Wrong. Hiring managers, especially in medical sales, may see hundreds of resumes, making each one very forgettable. However, it’s much harder to forget a person.
Secondly, especially in a sales interview, the interviewer is evaluating what you say and how you say it. If you think your story is boring, you may come across the same way. And in response, how will they feel about you?
Tips for Pulling off an Excellent Interview Introduction
Of course, your life story isn’t dull and neither are you. So to introduce yourself properly, take the following steps:
Greet the Interviewer
You may hate job interviews or you may love them. But when it comes time to greet your interviewer, you must be happy to be there. After all, you could be on your way to a great medical sales position. So shake hands with the interviewer firmly to show you care without crushing their fingers. Of course, smile, look them in the eye and say hello.
Break the Ice
The best interviews start like any good conversation with a polite ‘hello’ followed by small talk. Chances are the interviewer will be the one to start the actual interview process, so there’s no need to rush them into it. Instead, consider yourself talking to a friendly acquaintance. The only way to make a mistake in this part of the process is by not being yourself, so take a deep breath and relax.
Here’s a bonus tip: if you know or see anything about the interviewer like a college-branded tie or any personal item that indicates one of their interests to which you have an honest connection, feel free to ask about it. For example, you may say, “I like your Ohio State tie! My father is an alum and he never misses a game.”
Deliver Your Interview Introduction Speech
Here’s where your homework comes into play. Sooner or later, the interviewer will start the process by asking you, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Can you walk me through your resume?” This part of the interview will probably be the longest time you’ll be speaking during the entire process, so you’ll want to get it right.
When planning out your response, read over the job description. Then be sure to share the following information and how it may relate to the job you’re interviewing for:
- Where you grew up – This can be relevant if you know where the interviewer is from and it happens to be the same place. It helps make you memorable, especially if you grew up somewhere out of the ordinary like overseas.
- Your family – If your mother, father or sibling was a physician or nurse, don’t hesitate to bring it up. If the disease of the product you’ll sell runs in the family, that’s also notable. However, consider this section optional if you find nothing relevant in your family background.
- Where you went to college and what you studied – This part of your introduction is not optional and you only need to explain where you went and your degree, unless, you can find more relevance.
- Your work history is in reverse chronological order – Include your duties, accomplishments and why you moved on. As mentioned, do your best to relate each position to the job.
- Your current situation – Summarize why you’re looking for a new position and where you live. Finally, you can mention your hobbies or interests if you haven’t already connected on one of these topics.
Please note that not everything in your past will relate to the job in question and that’s ok. Think of it this way, you are telling a story that can lead them to why you are right for this particular job.
Examples of Relating Personal Experiences to a Sales Job:
When talking about your upbringing:
“I feel like I’ve always been in sales because ever since I was young, people gave me things in exchange for helping them – from babysitting to when I worked retail, until now.”
Don’t worry. No one expects you to be a medical sales prodigy groomed from birth. You’re simply trying to relate as much of your background to the position.
When talking about your work history:
“Every time I moved on from a job it was on good terms, with the goal of challenging myself and growing.”
Don’t worry if you’ve been laid off or even fired. Your interview introduction speech is your chance to mention it on your terms without the interviewer feeling like you’re hiding anything. If you made a mistake, own up to it and explain what you’ve learned and what you’ve done or will do differently in the future.
When talking about a hobby:
“In my spare time, I like to run daily. It focuses my mind and allows me to start the day with maximum energy. It also incentivizes me to sell more because race fees and new shoes are more expensive than ever!”
Sharing what excites you outside of work isn’t a waste of time, especially if you take the time to answer all of the interviewer’s questions thoroughly and directly. Like other parts of your background, these things can make you memorable, not just another face with a resume.
The Biggest Reason to Nail the Interview Introduction
Even though interviewers do their best to reserve judgment about candidates, it’s human nature to get an immediate impression about someone. If they like you from the beginning, they’re more likely to see whatever else you say in a positive light. So why not work on your interview introduction and set the stage for your next dream job?