“The perfect candidate is just around the corner.”
“They were alright, but I feel we can find better.”
“Their personality was perfect, but their experience just isn’t quite there.”
Most medical sales hiring pros have thought at least one of these before — if not all three. That absolutely perfect medical sales candidate match is out there, and you’re not stopping until you find them.
But the big, uncomfortable question is — are they? Does the perfect medical sales candidate really exist? Absolutely. They’re out there somewhere. However, the amount of time it will take to find them, attract them to your open role, and get them to sign that job offer is likely longer than you have.
It’s important sometimes to give up the dream of finding the ‘perfect’ candidate and start searching for those ‘acceptable’ candidates — the ones with the ideal soft skills that don’t have the most experience or vice versa. With the talent shortage rolling full steam ahead, now is the perfect time to begin looking closer at these types of candidates.
To ensure you’re hiring the acceptable candidates that are right for your company and team, you’ll need to ask yourself a few key questions. Here’s what they are:
1. Do they meet the ‘acceptable’ requirements?
We aren’t suggesting you go searching for candidates who essentially meet zero of your qualifications. You have requirements that aren’t bendable, of course.
So, before answering this question, you must note which requirements acceptable candidates will have. This could range from years of experience in sales to a specific college degree.
Once you have them noted, start narrowing down candidates by these requirements. As you’re narrowing down, also note those who have innate soft skills that can’t be trained. These are the personality traits, such as empathetic, communicative, forward-thinking, open to a challenge, and so on, that make people on your team mesh with the company culture and connect with customers.
Those who meet the minimum requirements and have crucial soft skills should be sent to the next batch of questions. Those who don’t, quickly move them out of your hiring funnel to keep the process moving.
2. Is this person willing to learn?
OK, if you’re on this question, that means you have candidates who meet those bare minimum requirements. However, that doesn’t mean you’re confident they have all the skills and experiences to make them immediately excel in the role.
That’s why it’s important to find out if the candidate is willing to learn. Beyond that, are they excited to expand their medical sales knowledge? Candidates who want to jump in to learn and grow with your team are more likely to dedicate themselves to expanding with your company.
Ask candidates what they currently know about healthcare and sales trends. People who are truly open to learning are always on the hunt for emerging trends and proactively look for ways to understand and further connect.
Then, ask candidates questions that give them the opportunity to walk you through their learning process:
- -If you don’t know the answer to a customers’ question, what do you do?
- -When you’re unsure of a process, what steps do you take to move forward?
- -If you feel one of your skills needs improvement, how do you go about finding learning opportunities, making the time to learn, etc.?
Candidates open to learning will know the best resources and won’t show hesitation when it comes to reaching out for help.
3. How well do they understand your buyer personas?
Your customers are ultimately the people you’re trying to impress with your hires. No matter their previous work experience or wonderful soft skills, if medical sales candidates don’t understand your specific buyer personas, they won’t be successful on your team.
Before answering this final question, though, you’ll have to ask candidates a few questions to see if they’ll really connect with your customers:
- -What do you think is a common objection our sales reps hear from our buyer?
- Why is that a reasonable objection?
- How would you approach that objection?
- -Our customers’ patients have unique reasons for using our product. What do you believe some of their needs and challenges are?
- How do you think our product meet those needs?
Use these types of situational interview questions as a scorecard. Those who score the highest, you can mark a ‘very well’ next to this question.