The Pharma Sales Interview Breakthrough Blog
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!
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