Hiring a medical sales representative is trickier than the average recruiting process. Medical sales sits in the middle ground between STEM and business, so you’re essentially interviewing for two jobs in one.
Candidates who thrive in sales but are apathetic toward pharmaceuticals won’t fit the bill and neither will candidates who are passionate about medicine yet clueless when it comes to business. Your company wants to hire a successful hybrid: someone with both medical knowledge and marketing ability.
Balancing the equation is no easy task, so we’ve made a checklist to help you differentiate the fantastic medical sales reps from the mediocre kinds. During the hiring process, ask yourself if the candidate checks these boxes:
A fantastic medical sales rep will have done their research. They’ll know their field inside and out, and they’ll have a thorough understanding of industry current events and protocol. Their level of familiarity with the field is also essential from a sales perspective. If they can demonstrate their knowledge about the field to you, then you can be confident that they’ll be knowledgeable when describing products and services to clients, too.
The medical world is tied to numbers. So much of what goes in the medical and pharmaceutical world is backed by data, so a remarkable sales rep will be able to back up their achievements with data as well. Keep an open ear for rates and statistics about their past achievement and growth.
One the other hand, mediocre candidates will be vague about their professional history. That may fly in other fields, but in the medical field, it shows that they don’t yet understand the importance of research and quantitative data in STEM.
An extraordinary medical sales rep should have a network in the medical industry. Even though they are a salesperson, they should still be involved in the pharmaceutical industry. A fantastic candidate will work to maintain a network of doctors, administrators, and other health professionals.
The position of medical sales rep stretches across the fields of science, technology, marketing, public relations, and communications. So don’t hire a one-trick pony. A potential hire may be brilliant when it comes to pharmaceuticals, but if they have no experience in sales or business, they may not be able to handle this client-facing position.
A standout candidate will have engaged with various academic areas. Not only does their multidisciplinary involvement reveal that they are curious, ambitious, adaptable, and up for the challenge, it also shows that they understand the methodologies and fundamentals of different areas of study.
Compare resumes and identify candidates who have explored different territories. For example, a professional who majored in biochemical engineering and also participated in a consulting group will understand the technological side as well as the people side of medical sales. Recruit people who have branched out from their primary field.
Sales is a goal-driven field. A fantastic candidate will have no problem explicating the goals they’ve set and met in the past as well as their current ambitions. It shows that they can research, plan, implement, and evaluate a sales campaign. A candidate who is less clear about their accomplishments won’t be able to evaluate progress and revise a sales plan accordingly when the time comes.
In the past couple of years, market researchers have seen a surge in the number of consumers who prioritize authenticity in sales and advertising. Clients are more open to sales pitches when the representative seems trustworthy and authentic. Integrity is critical in the pharmaceutical field, so a medical sales rep should be able to honestly evaluate themselves, their progress, and the products and services they are selling.
During the hiring process, ask yourself: Is this candidate overconfident? Are they talking over you with a rehearsed sales pitch about themselves? Or are they genuine and polite? A fantastic candidate will be just as good at listening as they are at talking.
While you want a representative who is genuine and conversational, you’re still hiring for a sales position. How a candidate sells themselves to you tells a great deal about how they sell products and services to clients. Have they convinced you that they’re qualified for and passionate about the job? Can they effectively communicate their value to you?
If you answered yes to these questions regarding a candidate or a handful of candidates, then you’re one step closer to separating out a candidate who is convincing yet personable, ambitious with the numbers to prove it, and knowledgeable and connected across various disciplines.
It’s tough hiring an extraordinary medical sales rep. But then again, it’s a challenging job. Look for professionals who are hungry for industry knowledge and passionate about both the business and STEM fields. Those are the hires who are up for the challenge.
Chad Warner works with CulverCareers, an award-winning recruitment agency. We have had a successful track record of finding and placing medical and pharmaceutical reps into successful careers.