The competition for medical sales jobs is tough, but most medical sales reps feel if they can just get in front of someone and make their case, they can get the job. After all, good salespeople are masters of persuasion and tend to be confident in their ability to sell themselves. But before you crack open the champagne, review this list of top 10 interview mistakes and brush up on what to avoid.
1. Arrive late and/or dress down.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but dress professionally and arrive on time – that means walking into the building a few minutes early. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re there when you need to be and wearing appropriate interview attire.
2. Have no idea what the company does.
Your research into the company should involve more than a few minutes on their website. Look at their press releases, product pages, news and analyst articles referencing the company. You may also want to check out crowd-sourced information on sites like Glassdoor. This can provide insight into company culture and even give you a heads up on potential interview questions.
3. Forget to bring a hard copy of your brag book and/or resume.
The interviewer should have prepared by printing and reviewing your resume ahead of times, but don’t make assumptions and go ahead and print one for as many people as you will be speaking to. If applicable, you should also bring a well-organized sales brag book full of documents to validate your stories of success.
4. Don’t smile or look interviewer(s) in the eyes.
We get it; you’re nervous. But that’s no reason to act like a robot. Take a deep breath and try to relax. You’re in sales, and being personable is part of the job. Your interviewer needs to feel confident that you can easily relate to prospects and customers.
5. Be arrogant.
Sure you’re selling yourself, but no one wants to hear you make sweeping claims of greatness. Instead, provide examples and tell stories about yourself that lead the interviewer to come to that conclusion on their own.
6. Speak negatively about your former employer.
Of course there’s a reason you’re looking for a new job, but now is not the time to discuss your micro-manager or your gossiping colleagues. When asked why you want to leave your current job, focus on the positive reasons you’re seeking change (seeking more opportunity for growth, a new challenge, etc).
7. Ask about compensation and paid leave.
Obviously, this is important, and you’ll get to it – but the interviewer first wants to figure out if you’re right for the job, and of course, if the job is right for you. After all, compensation can usually be adjusted if a company really wants to hire someone. But you have to make them want to hire you first.
8. Don’t ask any questions.
A good interview is a two-way conversation. The interviewer asks you questions to evaluate how well you might fit in the job, and then you’re given the opportunity to ask questions during the interview to find out how well the job fits you. What does success look like in the first 30/60/90 days? What qualities do the most successful salespeople have? What is the typical learning curve? A good hire knows what is expected in the job they’re offered, and a good candidate comes prepared with plenty of questions to ask in the interview.
9. Don’t ask for the job – or at least a second interview.
If you learn enough about the job in that first interview to convince you that you want it (and can do it well), ask for it. Not in a sleazy, salesy way, but in a way that conveys you understand the job, you’re confident you could do the job, and why you want the job. If it’s still too early in the process for you to have a full understanding of what the job entails, ask for a second interview. Be tactfully proactive in moving the process forward, just as you would on a sales call.
10. Don’t send a thank you note.
Manners still matter – at least in the job search. So make sure you get a business card from each person you interview with and send an individual thank you note to each one (email is fine). If possible, do more than thank the interviewer for their time. Reference something you spoke about and perhaps point them to an interesting article or data point.
Of course, to truly ace the interview, you need more than a list of what not to do, you need a strategy and a plan of action. Download the MedReps Interview Guide for the specifics on interviewing for medical sales jobs and you’ll be well on your way to multiple job offers.