Good morning everyone! I hope all is well. We are getting down to the last few interivew questions. There are a total of 18 questions that I am addressing. We are now down to #3. If you would like to see the previous 15, please go back to earlier blog posts.
As a reminder, these are questions that are not necessarily tied to the compentencies associated with a particular medical or pharma sales job.
For example, you will likely hear questions that tie into "Business Acumen" or "Results Orientedness"....and my book, The Pharma Sales Interview Breakthrough Blueprint" is designed to help you create congruency between those types of questions and your brand.
The "Curveball Interview Questions" are questions that don't necessarily tie to a particular competency...but are as important as those types of questions. My approach to these questions is to simply disect the intent of the interviewer and share how I might handle the question. Of course, you can take my approach for what it's worth...simply my opinion and one perspective.
Let's look at the next one:
How have you handled failure when you went against the majority opinion/rationale?
Ok, so if I were the interviewer asking this question, then I am trying to discern IF you have "gone against the majority" and if you have...how did you or do you normally respond to failure.
Sometimes with these multi-layered questions, it forces the candidate to really be specific and to have an actual example...and not a theory based answer.
To be clear, going against the opinion of the majority or the crowd is not a bad thing. It's important to think of a time when you did your homework, analyzed the data, trusted your gut, and took a risk that you believed in.
For this question, you will want to think of that type of example, and to take it a step further, share how you communicated with those on the side of the majority. This is a critical component - how you communicated...how you demonstrated flexibility to adapt to the different social styles and different perspectives...and still chose to go a different path without damaging those relationships.
Anyone can pick a path and choose to do what they want without regard to others' opinions...and ultimately burn bridges. How you pick a path and massage egos along the way is a true talent and something you want to demonstrate when you respond to this question.
Now, with regards to the failure component of this question. Failure is a part of getting to success. You can't avoid it. In fact, those that try to avoid failure will never succeed. Fear is their primary driver.
So, when you share failure in this example, then you will want to frame it with that type of thought process. And, you will want to highlight the homework you did prior to making this decsion. And, most importantly, you will want to outline the Return On Investment...or ROI.
It might sound something like this:
"Based on my analysis...by doing X, Y and Z...and found that by investing more of my time into this account, I could potentially capture this much more additional share of the market. My peers believed that I should stick to the call plan that was outlined by the company...I certainly understand that...but I had vision to a greater pocket of business that the home office doesn't or can't see. In the end, my investment in this account didn't fully pay off...but it did increase share by X amount and it would be a risk I would take again and again as I run the business of my territory."
What I described above would be one way I might approach the failure component of the question.
As with any of the questions you might get in an interview, be sure to use specific examples...and if time allows...tie the answer/example you use to how it will help you in the role you are interviewing for. It might seem obvious to you...but sometimes it is not for the interviewer.
If you have some thoughts about how you would answer this question, please leave your comments below.
Have a great week!
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
Good morning! I came across this resource and thought I would share. This is something that another author, Lewis C. Lin, created.
His website dedicated to the Magical Salary Negotiation Letter is here. Check it out!
Below is an image of this resource. I have my own thoughts regarding how you would approach salary negotiation. Specifially, I would never put in the letter personal reasons...like "I need to get out of debt" or "I have school loans". That reflects immaturity in my opinion.
What I would say is "based on the market value of my experience and background in this role....". Or something, to that effect. This is business and your skills and abilities are valuable.
That said, I will comment more on how you approach this in future posts. Enjoy this for now.
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."
Yep, no question, most of "our trouble" is caused by ourselves. We like to place blame on other issues or other people...but the truth is that we need to own our situation. When you take ownership of your situation and quit blaming others...you empower yourself to new possibilities and opportunities.
Have a great week everyone!
It's hard to believe, but we are getting down to the final few questions or this series. If you are new to this, there have been 14 other curveball interview questions over the past few months. Check those out in previous blog posts
Let's dig into another question...this is one that you have likely heard before...but it can be a bit of a "curveball".
What are your "strengths"? What are your "weaknesses"?
Ok. Let's start with strengths. If you've read "The Pharma Sales Interview Breakthrough Blueprint", you will know that I discuss how and why creating congruency in your interview is so crucial. Obviously, in the book, I outline how to do that. (if you haven't bought yourself a Holiday present...why not treat yourself now? It's 4.99 on Amazon).
As it relates to your strengths, I think it's important to know what sort of behaviors that manager is looking for in a new hire. Those may be evident as you prepare for this interview...but it may not. I think there are some assumptions you can make. With ANY sales role, there is a great deal of autonomy and a great deal of "white space". A candidate that needs lots of direction or hand holding is not going to be real appealing to a hiring manager that could live 4 hours away. He or she wants a candidate that is turning over ever rock in the geography to drive business.
So, I think one strength to highlight would be your ability to work with autonomy and be productive. To work in "white space" and create structure. Again, you want to provide speicifc, real, examples....not theory. If you explain what you would do...then you are wasting the interviewers time.
Another way to approach this...and likely a better way...would be to formally identify what's called your Clifton Strengths. Here is a link to the formal website. Here is a link to the lists of Clifton Strengths and descriptions of them.
In completing this Clifton Strength Finder assessment, you formallay identify your strengths and therefore you are not sort of making your strengths up...they have been scientifically identified. In turn, you can speak to your top 3 strengths and provide real examples of how they have played out in previous work experiences...and more importantly...help you be successful in the next job. Clifton emphasizes "Leaning Into Your Strengths". Think about how you would lean into your stregths in your new role and share that as well.
Conversely, what Clifton does as well...is rank your strengths in order. So, for me, "Empathy" is near the bottom...when asked what are my weaknesses, I may share an example of where I lacked empathy for a peer was not performing well...and how I did little to help. BUT, now that I am aware of that weakness...I have taken measures to be more aware of my peers, how they are doing, and identify ways to help them.
THIS IS IMPORTANT. Whatever you identify as a weakness...a legit weakness...you need to also include how you have worked to improve upon that area. If you share a particiluar weakness...and we all have them...and you have chosen to do nothing to improve yourself in that area...then you are demonstrating to the hirining manager that you are one for development.
By adding into your example of a weakness...how you are improving in a particular area...you keep the interview tone very positive and again,.. you illustrate a propensity for personal development.
Another "weakness" outlined by Clifton is that each strength has a "balcony" component...and a "basement component". So if acheiver is my top strength...there are many positives to that strength...but there could be some negatives as well. I am not going to get into any more detail about that. I will leave that to Clifton Strengths to explain. But, I did want to make you aware. I highly encourage you to get the Clifton Strength Finder book...take the assessment...and include it in your resume. It will stand out and could help you get the interview.
I hope this is helpful. Feel free to leave comments below! Thanks again for your support!
So just last week, Forbes held their annual health care summit. I personally haven't come across a whole lot of news coming out of that...and I imagine Forbes will share video highlights...but, in the meantime, I've provided a link here from last years summit
The video includes several heavy hitters in the pharma industry. Worth watching as they get asked a myriad of questions. Enjoy
"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
Or woman of value I would add. My interpretation of this quote...and the way I try to approach my life...is that instead of focusing on the ever moving...ever shifting...gauge of success...(because, let's face it, everyone's definition of success is different and likely filled with self serving interests), I try to focus on serving others...which means you provide value for their time.
By doing that, you increase the possiblity of doors magically opening for you by an exponential amount. In order to provide value, you must ask lots of questions to understand the other's true need. This also illustrates for the other person that you have a genuine interest. Converely, those that are purely self focused, focusing on their own success, go into presentation mode and waste someone's time with "used car salesmen" tactics.
In any event, I appreciate this quote by Einstein because again, I think the focus according to Einstein is that we are to essentially serve others.
Feel free to add your thoughts below. Have a great week!
I actually enjoy these lists that the various sites put out. Especially when pharma or medical sales companies are on them.
Hey everyone, here is curveball # 5! For previous curveballs...18 thru 6...check out the previous months.
Describe the relationship that should exist between a supervisor and a subordinate. And, what would you do if you disagreed with your boss?
How you answer this question...and, more importantly, the emotion that you express in asnwering this question...will help the interviewer ascertain if there could be a potential problem.
In the first part of the question regarding the relationship, I would recommend you share experiences working with previous managers that pushed you to elevate your game, but also took time to get to know you and what motivated you...was well as recognized you for your efforts. You may have other examples in mind of times when your supervisor held you accountable in a way that built you up, as opposed to tearing you down.
Keep in mind, you DO NOT want to get negative or discuss previous supervisors that were not good leaders. It's simply not productive and would ultimately reflect poorly on you.
The second part of the question asks what you would do if you disagreed with your boss. Again, how you respond and with what type of emotion will be important. My recommendation is to share an exmample of a time when you did disagree with a boss and be very specific regarding the situation and the rationale you had for your side. Explain how you laid out the facts...it wasn't emotional...and it's never a personal attack...and you were open to his/her side and willing to accept whatever decision he/she made. Include how you presented other solutions...not simply highlighting problems, etc.
Lastly, sharing specific examples is much better than talking theoretically about how you might or would respond. Remember, an interviewer is trying to get objective examples in order to evaluate you as compared to other candidates. A subjective answer is truly a waste of time for the interviewer.
That's it for today. Feel free to comment! Have a great week!
The "Breakthrough" Book