Hiring the right medical sales reps is often not a walk in the park simply because finding candidates with the specific traits you need is easier said than done. Integrity is perhaps the most critical attribute of any sales representative. In fact, Billionaire and entrepreneur, Warren Buffet, has said hiring people with integrity is more important than hiring people with high intelligence.
While every good medical sales professional should have integrity, the medical sales industry has come under criticism regarding everything from the opioid crisis to giving clients gifts. Public opinion on these issues has a significant impact on your company’s reputation. This puts even more pressure on your hiring team to identify medical sales reps with integrity. After all, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.
Hiring a successful medical sales rep with a hard-to-identify trait, like integrity, requires putting extra thought into how you structure the interview process. Here are a few tips to help you identify this valuable trait:
Ask Situational Questions
Sure, you want to know about their experience with medical device sales, and you want to know about their track record of sales. While it’s important to understand their goals for their medical sales career, you also need to get below the surface and find out what makes your candidate tick.
Utilize situational questions to see how your candidate would react in a real-life scenario. Create a scene where they have to make a difficult choice to show their integrity. For instance, what would they do if they had a client they knew was overprescribing opioids? How would they react to discovering a co-worker was stealing supplies? What would they do if a superior was dishonest?
Listen carefully to their answers to judge for integrity. A medical sales rep with integrity will take your situational questions seriously and put some real thought into how they would react. If the candidate tries to make a joke or blow off your question, this is a sign they might not be mature enough to represent your company to clients properly.
Focus on balance
Many people are drawn to the medical sales profession because of high salaries and flexible schedules. While this might make them motivated about the role, it’s important to ensure that your new hire has morals that fit into the team and align with the company values.
A big part of integrity is the ability to work interpersonally in a team environment while balancing an ethical code. During the interview, ask about projects on which they’ve collaborated. Make sure to follow up by asking specifics about their contributions. Anyone in an interview can brag about how they led the charge, but only those working hard will know the nitty-gritty details.
Unfortunately, conflict will inevitably pop up in the workplace. That’s why it’s essential to get a feel for your candidate’s conflict resolution skills. Ask about a time they faced conflict in the workplace and how they resolved the issue. Pay attention to whether they only take responsibility for the solution or if they are also honest about their possible part in the conflict.
Employees with high integrity are those who will be forthcoming about how they’ve handled interpersonal conflicts in the past. If your candidate shies away from talking about their mistakes or true feelings, this is a warning sign.
Finally, determine how your candidate would handle a delicate situation in the workplace. If a teammate was acting in a way that wasn’t ethical or didn’t align with the company values, would they turn a blind eye, confront the teammate, or go to HR? By asking your candidate to think about their integrity and accountability in the interview process, you send a clear message about the importance your company places on their morals.
Speak to References
If you feel good after evaluating a candidate, be sure to do your due diligence and talk to their references. Hiring managers sometimes make the mistake of thinking just because they have a good gut feeling or they’re hiring a part-time or entry-level candidate; the reference check isn’t important. It’s an essential way to determine if the candidate just wowed you with what you want to hear, or they are the real deal.
When talking to references, ask if your candidate is a team player. Look for specific details of how they helped others and put others’ needs before their own. Candidates with real empathy are likely to be medical sales reps who will display the integrity you seek because they have a deeper connection with how their actions impact others.
Don’t be afraid to ask references directly about your candidate’s integrity. Many references will want to paint the candidate in the best possible light, which is why it’s essential to ask about times your candidate made a poor choice or faltered on the job. How did they respond? Did they admit they made a mistake before the issue was discovered? Did they take full responsibility, or did they blame others?
Checking up with references can give you a better feel for the full picture of the stories told by your candidate in the interview process.
Hiring medical sales reps with integrity is extremely important, not only for job performance but also for protecting your company’s image. By focusing on integrity in the hiring process, you can ensure the medical sales professional you hire is the best person to move your company forward.
How do you determine if your medical sales rep candidates have integrity? Share in the comments!