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The Immutable Laws of Interviewing


1. Before the Interview

A. Attire
B. Items to take to the Interview
C. Preparation and Questions
D. Generate Interview Objectives
E. Mind Set

2. At the Interview

A. Be Focused
B. Outgoing and effective introduction
C. Take marginal notes
D. Build Your Personal product information (PPI): Know three strengths about yourself
E. Know where you’ve been, where you are, where you’re going
F. Be prepared to answer questions
G. Ask good business questions
H. Close, Close, Close

3. After the Interview

4. Interview Killers

5. Interview Musts

6. Role of a Medical Sales Representative

7. Benefits of a Medical Sales Career

#1 Reason why anyone is hired

Right Attitude

People hire who they like.

Interviewing is nothing more than a buyer (company) and a seller (candidate) coming together. Both Kick each other’s tires in pursuit of meeting mutual needs. Anyone interviewing must prepare product information geared to meet the customer (company) needs.


Look organized, professional, and well put together.

I. Before the Interview

A. Attire

1. Professional, conservative, clean, ironed, updated, and polished.
2. Men: Business Suit (Sport coat/jacket IS NOT considered professional attire.)
3. Women: Professional/Business suit

B. Items to take to the Interview (Be Organized!)

1. Notebook/Portfolio/Planner/Scheduler

2. Brag Book: Compilation of proof sources that reflect your past performance and abilities. This is a great marketing piece that makes your look and feel more professional. Information should be bound (like at Kinko’s), or placed in a notebook.

a. Field Reports
b. Performance Appraisals
c. Stack Rankings
d. Accomplishments/Achievements
e. Letters of Recommendation

3. Extra resume copies.

4. Arrive early.

C. Preparation and Questions

1. Know how to keep yourself calm and confident. This is accomplished through preparation.

2. Research company’s website and pertinent job information.

3. Gather facts about the company, its competitors, products/services and related industry trends/issues.

4. Research the interviewer and know how to pronounce their name correctly.

5. Line up solid references in advance.

6. Prepare questions (in your notebook) you have in regards to the position with the company. This is covered later in this packet.

D. Generate Interview Objectives

1. Formulate your objective(s), what you want to accomplish in the Interview.

2. Good Interview Objectives:

a. Get to the next step of the interview process.
b. Make a favorable impression on the interviewer and company.
c. Gather the information you need to evaluate this position and the company.

E. Mind Set

1. Be hungry and passionate for the position.

2. Every interview is an opportunity to make a favorable impression with Mr. Employer and the Company he/she represents. Give every interview the energy, attention to detail, and commitment it deserves.

3. Strive to get the offer from Mr. Employer. A job cannot be accepted or rejected until an offer has been extended.

II. At the Interview

Listen more, talk less, and avoid over answering questions!

Focus on answering the “question”…do not go around the world to get around the block…do not ramble.

A. Be Focused:

1. Remember this is a business meeting. Listening shows maturity.

2. Keep in mind what your trying to accomplish…your Interview Objectives

3. Answers must be specific, focused, and concise. View each response as a quarter-filled glass of dark blue liquid concentrate. Rambling on is like pouring water into the glass. It dilutes the potency of a focused answer and creates lack of identity.

4. Avoid overselling and information overload.

5. Answers should be like an ESPN Sports Highlight or a TV Commercial: to the point.

6. 5 P’s: Positive, potent, powerful, professional, poised

7. Position yourself as a positive and upbeat conversationalist.

8. Do not speak negatively about previous employer(s) or any other subject. Resist any temptation to blame anyone else for problems you have previously encountered. Draw only positive experiences.

9. Know the information on your resume inside and out.

If the atoms are bouncing off the walls at 10 bounces per second…
Increase it to 20 bounces per second.

If you cannot get excited about YOU,
There is no way the CUSTOMER will get excited about YOU

Most managers can tell if they are going to hire someone in the first ten minutes.

You must be immediately impactful.

B. Outgoing and Effective Introduction

1. Create immediate momentum.

2. Most interviewers draw conclusions within the first two minutes and gather facts later to reinforce an original decision.

3. Introduce yourself with pride, energy, and fire.

4. Mr. Employer is going to view you the way a customer would view you.

5. Strong, firm handshake (show them you mean business).

6. Steady eye contact (shows confidence).

7. Speak clearly and loudly shows confidence).

8. Mannerisms and body language outgoing, friendly, and enthusiastic.

9. Make a couple of positive statements within the first thirty seconds.

For example:
“It’s a pleasure to meet you!”
“I appreciate you taking time to interview me today!”
“I am excited about the position I’m interviewing for today!”
“I am excited to be here today!”

10. Convey positive body language: Great posture, sit on the edge of your seat, no leaning back.

11. Be at ease with a sense of humor but do not try to be funny.

12. Early in the Interview, gather your CUSTOMER’S NEEDS. This can be accomplished with the following questions/statements in the following order:

GOALS QUESTION: “Mr. Employer, if you don’t mind me asking, what are the goals and expectations of this position the next 12-18 months?”
NEEDS QUESTION: “What type of person are you seeking to meet those goals and expectations?”

13. The information gathered with the Goals and Needs questions provide insight to the Customer’s needs. Mr. Employer has just told you what type of person the company needs to fill the position’s goals. Now you are equipped to hit the Customer’s target. Match your qualifications to the company needs.

Your Qualifications/Strengths/Attributes = Company Needs/Goals

C. Take Marginal Notes

1. Jot down casual notes…not dictation.

2. Provides several benefits:

  • Mr. Employer gathers you are thorough and conscientious…qualities every company seeks and appreciates.
  • Mr. Employer feels important (you’re taking notes on what he/she says about the company, position, etc., valuable information to have).
  • Keeps you focused and provides reference to pre-interview notes and questions you have written down.

You must prepare, organize and internalize your ‘product information’ as your selling base.

D. Build your product information: Know three strengths about yourself.

1. Most interview questions can be answered by focusing on your strengths.

2. Typical interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What skills do you offer/bring to the table/have acquired?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What sets you apart from other candidates?

3. Any questions about you gives the opportunity to sell your marketable qualifications, abilities, and accomplishments.

4. Tailor your answers to the information Mr. Employer gave you in the GOALS/NEEDS response.

5. Paint a positive picture of yourself including strengths interwoven with accomplishments.

6. Use “Real Life” examples to support your answers.

7. View yourself as a “product for sale” possessing features and benefits. Each strength is a feature that provides a benefit and reinforces with a real-life accomplishment.

8. Good Strengths/Benefits:

Organized/Time Management Skills: I write down my goals and always know when and where I am going. I continuously evaluate my progress against my stated objectives and ultimately reach my goals.

Strong Communicator: I easily establish rapport with both customers and co-workers alike. I like working with people and they like working with me.

Persistent: I never give up and always find a way to meet my goals/objectives no matter how challenging the situation.

Goals/results/achievement-oriented: Always enjoy setting the bar high for myself and reaching new heights. No one has higher expectations for myself than me.

Self-Motivated/self-managing: See goal-oriented.

Team Payer: See strong communicator.

Consistent listener: Able to gather critical information including prospects needs by asking appropriate questions and listening.

Flexible and Adaptable: able to adjust to any situation, always a step ahead rather than behind so I am equipped to handle the unexpected.

Problem Solver: Energize by the challenge solutions.

Confident: Always plan and prepare so I am comfortable with the task at hand.

9. Complete Personal Product Information.

10. If any difficult or unanticipated questions arise…fall back on your strengths.

E. Know where you’ve been, where you are, where you’re going

1. Interviewers seek people who implement an educated decision-making and planning process especially for important decisions.

2. Know why you…

  • Chose the college you attended.
  • Want to be/stay in medical sales and how it fits your career goals.
  • Want this job and to work for the company which you are interviewing.
  • Know why, how, and where you plan to be in five years.
  • Be able to explain gaps in employment history and frequent job changes.
Interviewing is like trying out for a sports team…the better prepared or better “interviewing shape” you’re in, the better your chances of making the team

F. Be Prepared to Answer Questions

1. If any difficult or unanticipated questions arise…fall back on your strengths.

2. Remember the “Rule of 3”: no more than three reasons or points when responding to why how were or when to any questions. More than three points is information overload. Do not ramble.

3. Take time to formulate answers before you speak.

4. Let silence occur.

5. Assume all questions are asked for a good reason and answer accordingly.

6. Feel free to ask for clarification before answering a question.

7. Be conscience of body language, vibes, and reactions.

8. Relate answers to professional work skills, situations, and experiences. Avoid giving personal information and opinions as a response to interview questions.

9. Use proof sources and factual real life examples whenever possible. Medical salespeople utilize proof sources to sell products. District managers love candidates who use proof sources in interviews to sell themselves.

10. Paint a picture if a person who has balance in their life.

11. Be sure to emphasize your strong desire to sell and achieve results. District Managers are evaluated on their district’s sales performance and want to hire people who are sales and achievement oriented.

12. Focus on Company’s needs for this position as gathered in the NEEDS and GOALS questions.


  • What are your greatest strengths? Refer to product information and relate Company’s needs.
  • What are your weaknesses? Turn negatives into positives.
  • If I spoke to your previous boss, what would he or she say about you? Product information/Focus on skills and Company’s needs.
  • Can you/how do you work under pressure, deadlines, etc.? Yes, it’s a way of life. I try to always be prepared and proactive in order to avoid crisis.
  • How do you resolve conflict? Positively and privately.
  • Are you a leader? Yes, give examples.
  • What movies, books, and sporting events do you enjoy? Show balance.
  • What are your future goals? Avoid, “I would like this job.” Instead talk about long term goals integrating the current organization and industry for which you are interviewing.
  • What are your greatest achievements? Relate to sales and use proof sources.
  • What has been your greatest disappointment? Describe a learning experience.
  • Why did you choose the college major that you chose? Think it through, and relate to the medical sales career.Why do you want to work for our company? Give three solid reasons. Let your research shine through and use proof sources if possible.
  • Why do you want to leave your current position/company/etc.? Avoid being negative. Focus on opportunity with Mr. Employer’s company and position. Increase opportunity/challenges/responsibility.
  • Tell me why you would make a good medical sales representative? Utilize your Personal Product Information.
  • If you are asked to sell something (like a pen) to the interviewer, be sure to extract the interviewers needs by asking questions and detail the product with features and benefits. Make sure you close (ask for the order…How many pens would you like to order today?)
  • What other sales positions are you considering? Medical only. No other industries. Show focus and direction.
  • What do you like about your current position? Be positive, never negative.
  • How do you feel about working early, late, and long hours? Whatever it takes to exceed my goals and successfully complete to job.
  • Know how to detail your current company’s products if you are asked.
  • Know your sales process from start to finish…from prospecting, scheduling, presentation/detailing, closing, and follow-up.
  • How do you handle criticism? Positively and as an opportunity to evaluate and improve my performance and myself. Feedback acts as a catalyst for self-improvement.
  • Know what motivates you. Its great if you are motivated by money and exceeding goals.
  • Be able to cite examples as to how you re a resourceful problem solver.
  • Be able to cite examples as to how you are a creative person.
  • Know what a medical sales representative does. Sell, Sell, Sell.
  • Be able to explain anything on your resume including your college GPA, previous and current employment, geographical changes, etc.
  • Be able to provide positive explanation for any poor grades/GPA if asked.
  • Know why you would want to live in a geography where the position is located. Give three solid reasons and have no inhibitions about the location. Mr. Employer will cut you if he/se smells reluctance about you living in the geography.

Be able to relate Situation/Action/Outcome questions to the following competency areas:

      • SALES PROCESS (from prospecting the closing to follow-up and everything in-between)

Don’t judge a person just by the answers they give, but by the questions they ask.

Questions asked are indicative of a person’s resourcefulness, preparedness, and depth of intelligence.

G. Ask Good Business Questions

1. Typically towards the end of the interview, Mr. Employer will ask if you have any questions.

2. The answer is “Yes.”

3. Formulate and write down (in your notebook) 10-15 good business questions prior to the interview.

4. Good questions are open-ended…ones that cannot be answered with a yes/no response.

5. Take notes on answers given.

6. Good business questions and topics:

  • Position specific questions: territory process/plans, key physicians in territory, etc.
  • The competition: How we compete against then and how they compete against us?
  • Executive management style?
  • What is your management style?
  • What are the company’s goals and what are the anticipated obstacles to those goals?
  • How have the organization’s goals changed over the past three to five years?
  • Describe the training program.
  • Tell me about…the work environment, company culture, and team.
  • What are the goals and expectation for this position for the next 12-18 months? (This should have already been asked earlier in the interview.)
  • What type of person are you looking for to meet those goals and expectations? (Hopefully this was already asked too.)
  • How will my performance be evaluated?
  • Describe the territory…customers/competition/product position/previous person in the position/ranking in district.
  • How long has the position been open?
  • How many candidates have you/will you interview for the position?
  • When do you expect to fill this position?
  • Mr. Employer, you’re obviously successful in this industry, tell me how you arrived where you are today?

7. Poor business questions (show lack of depth):

  • How much does this job pay? (Let Mr. Employer bring up this topic)
  • What are the benefits? (Let Mr. Employer bring up this topic)
  • Close-ended questions (questions with yes/no answers only

H. Close, Close, Close

1. Mr. Employer typically ends the interview in the following fashion: “Mr. Candidate, we appreciate your time and we will be getting in touch.”

2. At this point, Mr. Employer shakes your hand and walks you out. This scenario does not benefit you.

3. You must influence the Interview Close for several reasons:

a. Forms a favorable impression with Mr. Employer. Companies covet assertive individuals.

b. Gives direction for the next step of the interview process.

c. Candidates who do not close typically do not proceed to the next step in the interview process.

4. How to close:

a. When Mr. Employer thanks you for your time, thank Mr. Employer for his/her time. “Mr. Employer, Thank you for your time.”

b. Build on this statement by expressing your interest in position/company/etc. “Mr. Employer, thank you for your time. I am interested in this position and working for Company X. The position we discussed today coincides with my career goals. I know I possess the skills/qualifications to meet (state Company Needs Mr. Employer told you with the Goals and Needs Questions.) I would like to proceed to the next step in the Interview Process.

c. Let Mr. Employer describe Interview Process.

d. Give Mr. Employer the opportunity to address any concerns about you.
Concerns Question: “do you have any questions, concern, or issues about me which would prevent me from going to the next step in the interview process that I may address at this time?”

e. If Mr. Employer says, “No”, your response: “Great, lets schedule the next interview.”

f. If Mr. Employer voices any concern(s), address them. You can fall back on your strengths. For Example: Mr. Employer: “We’re looking for someone with a little more experience.” You: “I can respect that, but let me reiterate what I have to offer. I am highly organized and know where I’ve been and where I am going. I have higher expectations and goals for myself than anyone else. I look forward to being part of the team at Company X and making an immediate impact.”

g. Follow up with Concern Question: “Do you have any concerns about me which would prevent me from going to the next step in the interview process that I may address at this time?”

h. If the answer is “No”…”Great, let’s schedule the next interview.”

i. Done…next interview scheduled.

j. If Mr. Employer says, “Well, I need to interview other candidates/or I cannot make that decision today.”

k. Your response: “Great, an important decision takes time. When do you think you will know your decision?”

l. Mr. Employer “Probably next Tuesday.”

m. You: Great, if I don’t hear from you by next Tuesday at 12:00, I’ll call you at 1:00. May I have your business card? What is the best way to contact you?”

n. Call Mr. Employer on the exact time and day you specify at the close. If no answer, leave a voicemail and message with secretary. You will get the next interview. If Mr. Employer does not call back within 24 hours, follow up, repeat, and follow up. Get the next interview.

5. Ask for a business card. IF you are going to follow-up…you must have follow-up information.

III. After the interview

1. Follow-up immediately by marketing through different mediums.

A. Fax a Thank you/I’m interested and Excited letter the same day of the interview. The letter should reinforce the 3 strengths you focused upon in the interview. “I know my communication skills, organization abilities, and persistence are geared to make an immediate impact at your organization.”

B. Leave a voicemail: “Thank you, I’m interested, excited, and looking forward to our next interview.”

C. Reinforcing your name (Brand awareness) between each step in the interview process keeps your name fresh and active in the interviewers mind.


IV. Interview Killers (you will not be asked back)

  • Being late
  • Arrogant, “know it all” attitude or behavior.
  • Speaking negatively about previous employers.
  • Blaming others for your problems.
  • Show little interest.
  • Lack of enthusiasm.
  • Lack of focus (I want to own a business in a couple of years/want to go back to school full-time)
  • Mr. Employer thinks “Great, why are you here?”
  • On a fishing trip-“I’m just looking around.”

V. Interview musts

  • Smile
  • High Energy
  • Confident
  • Positive, outgoing.
  • Friendly
  • Polite
  • Trainable
  • Workable
  • Show continuous interest and excitement

VI. Role of a Medical Sales Representative

A. Build relationships with physicians and other staff/office members. Plan, Organize, and effectively manager territory.

B. Influence and persuade physicians to use your products.

C. Get results by increasing market share and volume or products used in your territory.

D. Medical sales is demanding and hard work.

VII. Benefits of a Medical Sales Career

A. Progressive industry with new advances being made everyday. Respected profession.

B. Unlimited career growth potential and advancement

C. Positive industry growth for the next 20-25 years.

D. Aging population (Baby boomers born 1946-64 start turning 55 in 2001).

E. 55+-age segment largest buying segment in medical products.

F. 2008: 42% of US Population will be 55+ in age.

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