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How to Identify the 3 Cs of Success in Medical Sales Candidates

“Confidence. Conviction. Compassion.” These three Cs are a daily mantra for Kayleigh Hickey, Territory Business Leader at Valeritas. According to Hickey, they are the qualities that make medical sales reps truly successful, so it’s essential for recruiters to know how to identify top sales talent that exhibits them.

However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The three Cs aren’t exactly hard skills you can measure on a resume. Recruiters have to pay careful attention when screening candidates to identify these qualities.

Here’s a closer look at how you can recognize each of the three Cs of success in potential medical sales rep candidates:


Medical sales reps must be confident at all times. Nobody is able to sell products to doctors when they sound unsure about themselves, their products or their goals. If medical sales candidates can’t channel their confidence in the interview, there’s no way they’ll make it happen on the job.

Recruiters can measure confidence a number of ways both in person and online. When reviewing candidates’ social media accounts, take notice of what and how they share their accomplishments. Are they proud but humble? How do they respond to a negative experience or feedback?

When interviewing, take notice of whether candidates maintain eye contact, introduce themselves with a strong voice and tone, and have a firm handshake. Additionally, a smile is everything when it comes to exuding confidence. If they can show they are happy selling themselves for a job they believe in, you can expect they’ll be happy selling your product.


Reliability and consistency are key if medical sales reps are going to be successful over time. Get a sense of how true candidates are to their values by looking for clues of their conviction.

Similarly to checking for confidence in how talent interacts and shares with others online, you can look for inconsistencies across social media posts and profiles. Does a candidate you’re considering tout humanitarianism on their LinkedIn profile, but post insensitive memes on Instagram? Watch closely for candidates who live their values in everyday life.

When screening talent, ask situational interview questions and listen for examples of times of both struggle and success. You want to pay careful attention to whether their perceptions and reactions are guided by their values.

Some examples of questions you can ask to assess conviction are:

  • -Tell me about a sale that you closed versus a sale you lost. How were you successful in both?
  • -Tell me about a sales call you wish you could do over. What happened and what did you learn?


Nearly all of the human resources managers and workers (95 percent and 99 percent, respectively) surveyed in a 2017 report from OfficeTeam agreed they think it’s important for employees to have emotional intelligence (EI).

Emotional intelligence is a trait that is more difficult to assess when not interacting face-to-face, but not impossible. There are five key traits associated with EI: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Looking to social groups online is a great way to get a glimpse of some of these traits. Observe how candidates respond to hot-button topics in group discussions, especially if they are challenged. Do they show self-control and professionalism or do they let their emotions take control?

There are a number of great questions you can ask during a screening interview to assess how a candidate’s emotional intelligence or compassion aligns with your company culture, as well. For example, “What’s the first thing you do when someone — a fellow sales rep or a customer — comes to you with a problem?” You can also check in with security or the receptionist to see how their organic interactions with the candidate went.

The three C’s may be a bit more difficult to assess, however, when you find a candidate that possesses all of these traits, you have found your next top medical sales rep.