Interviews can be daunting, especially for a new graduate undergoing the process for the first time!
The key to interview success, is preparation… Fail to prepare; prepare to fail!

Evolve, as a leading graduate recruitment organisation have composed some top tips for interviews, to help you succeed in gaining your first position in Medical Sales.

Preparation will depend on the type of interview which you are attending. It could be: Telephone, Face to Face or Virtual. 

Employers use interviews to confirm that an applicant has the required knowledge, skills and willingness to contribute and fit into the organisation’s culture. They also want to see if your career goals are in line with opportunities available with their organisation. They are looking for the potential in prospective employees to become valued, trusted, productive team members of their organisation. 

Company Research
Allow as much time as possible for pre-interview preparation, don’t leave it until the last minute!
The more preparation you carry out will undoubtedly heighten your chance of success. Good research will be expected of you, but by going above and beyond this, it shows the interviewer how keen you are on being successful in gaining the position.
Identify as much as you can about the company and the interviewer. 
Be sure to learn the company values and link these into your answers in the interview.
You can do this by utilising the following sources:

  • Company website
  • Do a Google keyword search on the company name for any related news articles
  • Try to identify the company competitors
  • Research the company therapy areas and products
  • Speak to anyone you know who works in the industry to gain their insight; even better if you know someone who works for the company which you are interviewing with
  • LinkedIn – You will be able to look up the interviewer and familiarise yourself with their background 

Interview Type

Once you have ascertained what the type of interview it is, you can tailor your preparation accordingly and equip yourself for any eventuality.
Practice your interviewing skills as much as possible. Get a friend or family member to interview you. Try to treat it like the real thing. You could ask them to record your answers to enable you to listen back to them and make improvements and amendments where necessary. It should also help you to identify your weak spots, so you can particularly focus on these areas. 

It’s a good idea to research commonly asked questions and prepare answers to these in advance. Look at the job specification and identify any key competencies. The chances are that some questions you will face in the interview will focus on these. 
Obviously, it’s impossible to know for certain what you will be asked on the day, but over-preparing is better than under-preparing! Your recruiter should also be able to give you a good idea of what questions to expect. 
It is equally important to learn the content of your CV! It may sound silly, but you would be surprised about how many people are not able to comfortably and confidently talk through their CV and achievements!

Competency Based Questions
Most organisations will analyse a role by breaking it down into key competencies – for e.g. planning & organising, innovation, personal drive, motivation & team work. (The specific competencies are usually mentioned in a job specification).
You will be asked to give an example of a previous situation or task which led you to take a certain course of action.

Prepare answers using the STARL format detailed below. Answers should typically take between 30-45 seconds. 
Situation - when did the example occur? (Specific example e.g. last week) 
Task - what did you have to do? (Specifically) 
Action - how did you approach the task? 
Result - what happened as a result?
Learn – what did you learn from the experience and how will you adopt this in future? 

On the day
Dress appropriately in business attire! Ensure you have a clean and smart appearance. 
Take a few copies of your CV with you, along with your qualification certificates.

If travel is required, ensure to reach the venue at least 40 minutes prior to your allocated time. This will give you chance to park or locate the correct building. It also gives you chance to cram in last minute prep, such as re-reading your notes, re-familiarising yourself with the company website or taking a last look at the job specification.
You should aim to be in the reception area 15 minutes prior to your start time to ensure you are relaxed and have had time to familiarise yourself with the surroundings; it should help you get a feel of the culture. 

In the Interview

  • Sit up straight and consider your body language
  • Maintain eye contact and smile
  • Include everyone in the room. Engage with your full audience
  • Good listening skills are critical to understanding what the needs of the company are and the individual doing the hiring. Allow the interviewer to finish asking the question before beginning to answer. It’s good to repeat part of the question back to them to demonstrate that you understand what you have been asked. Equally; ask for clarification if you do not understand the question
  • Ask insightful questions. This shows that you have a keen interest

Once the interview is complete, you should try to gain commitment from the interviewer. Try to close the interview by asking questions such as:

  • Have I demonstrated everything which you are looking for to take me through to the next stage?
  • What does the next stage of the process entail?
  • Do you see me fitting in with your team?
  • Also, tell them how keen you are to become a part of the organisation

If you are a recent graduate and looking to move into your first position within the Pharmaceutical or Medical Device industries within Sales or Marketing, it’s imperative that you work with the right agency who can help to guide you through an interview process. Evolve's Graduate Academy is designed to help you every step of the way.  We have the expertise and experience to ensure that you get the very best position for your abilities. Feel free to contact us for further information.