medical sales interviews

How do I start in Medical Sales?

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How do I become a Medical Sales Rep

How do I become a Medical Sales Rep

How do I start in Medical Sales?

This is a question we are asked so many times every day as Specialist Medical Recruiters.

There is no doubt it has got a lot harder to enter in to the world of Medical Sales in the last 5 years, however, some things do remain the same.

I am outlining the main steps you may take to increase your chances of setting out on a new career path in Medical Sales –

  1. You must have a Medical related/Nursing or Business Degree
  2. Commercial experience/awareness
  3. Sales courses/experience
  4. Be a competent driver with no points
  5. Know how to listen twice as much as you talk
  6. Exceptional communicator  – can read between the lines and ascertain the relevant information
  7. Know your way around a Hospital and who the Key Opinion Leaders are (KOL’s)
  8. Medical Reps Institute of Ireland membership (MRII)
  9. Love your own company
  10. Be resilient
  11. Confident in presenting information to Medical professionals
  12. Attention to detail
  13. Excellent report writing skills and IT skills

For more information go to our Medical Sales advice centre on our website –



5 Medical Sales success secrets

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Learn to listen in Medical Sales

Learn to listen in Medical Sales

You want to be successful in Medical Sales?

Here are the 5 Medical Sales success secrets –

  1. Passion – if you are not passionate about what you are selling – it is pointless
  2. Resilliance – if at first you dont succeed – try then try again
  3. Empathy – if you cannot empathise with your customer – you cannot form a genuine rapport
  4. The art of Listening – when you have the ability to ascertain your Customers needs and understand what they really want, you have listened well
  5. Respect – you must show respect to the Medical Professionals you detail in to

CV Do Not’s when applying for that Medical Sales job

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CV advice

CV advice

When preparing your CV for your next Medical Sales job – be very wise with your wording.

The Do’s and Dont’s of expressions used on CV’s

‘Best of breed’, ‘go-getter’ and ‘think outside the box’ are the worst terms to include on a CV because they don’t convey real information, an online CareerBuilder survey suggests. (Silicon Republic)

Harris Poll surveyed 2,201 US hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes from 6 November-2 December, and found the term ‘best of breed’ grates on the nerves of 38pc of respondents, ‘go-getter’ annoys 27pc, and ‘think outside the box’ will make 26pc of respondents roll their eyes.

Medical Sales Reps shouldn’t even think of using the terms ‘synergy’ and ‘go-to person’ (disliked by 22pc of respondents) or ‘value add’ and ‘thought leadership’ (which are frowned upon by 16pc), either.

Terms hiring managers like to see on CVs

Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder, reveals what hiring managers do like.

“Hiring managers prefer strong action words that define specific experience, skills and accomplishments,” Haefner said.

“Subjective terms and clichés are seen as negative because they don’t convey real information. For instance, don’t say you are ‘results-driven’, show the employer your actual results.”

This reflects the classic – ‘Dont tell me – show me’ – essential in Medical Sales interviews

What’s more, the survey reveals 17pc of respondents spend less than 30 seconds, on average, reading each CV, whereas 68pc spend less than two minutes reading the documents.

There are terms on a CV that hiring managers and human resource professionals do regard positively, the survey also reveals.

More than half (52pc) of respondents like ‘achieved’, 48pc would like to see ‘improved’ on a CV, ‘trained/mentored’ goes down well with 47pc, and ‘managed’ caught the attention of 44pc of respondents.

The poll had a margin of 2.09 percentage points with a 95pc probability, according to CareerBuilder.

The 7 P’s in Medical Sales

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We are asked every day what does it take to either get in to Medical Sales or become a successful Medical Sales Rep –

You need Passion in Medical Sales

You need Passion in Medical Sales

There are 7 P’s to remember –

  1. Professionalism
  2. Patience
  3. Practice
  4. Passion
  5. Presentation skills
  6. People skills
  7. Persuasion

Short answer, if you do not have these, there is no point in trying a career in Medical Sales


Dealing with nerves in your Medical Sales interview

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How to deal with Medical Sales interview nerves

How to deal with Medical Sales interview nerves

Dealing with nerves in your Medical Sales interview is a tough issue.

We have recently had 2 unfortunate occasions where 2 Medical Sales Candidates (job seekers) fell down at their interview stage due to nerves and ultimately lost the job.

Very sad and what does one do?

This is a very natural phenomenon, being nervous before or during any interview – particularly if you really want the job.

So, how do you deal with this?

There is no guaranteed method of eradicating nerves altogether – as the saying goes –

‘It’s not being nervous that is the problem, it is how you deal with the nerves’

After all, some of the worlds best presenters get nervous, but they have a way of dealing with it.

Some tips which may help you at your next Medical Sales interview or Presentation –

  1. Know your stuff! – sounds simple – research has shown alot of people are nervous due to being afraid to be asked that one difficult question or something that may trip them up or they dont know – if you have researched your Company, Job Description, your CV exceptionally well, you will be well prepared and therefore less nervous
  2. Look the part – Dress smart – be smart
  3. Smile – amazingly powerful and effective in an interview – it warms the room up
  4. Breathe – more importantly – keep breathing – this is how the big wigs control their nerves – the art of controlled deep breathing
  5. Listen and hear – 2 very different things – to actively listen is much harder then to just hear – listen to the question being asked – slow down and count to 3 before jumping in with an answer
  6. Positive body language – the classic – alot of HR people can be quite expert at reading body language – so ensure yours is open, warm and engaging – ie open palms, head up, sit up, dont cross either arms or legs, tilt head when listening and again, the all important one – smile at every opportunity
  7. The competition – forget it! – this is something out of your control – you have no idea how many more Medical Sales Reps there are for interview against you and who cares? – what will it change? what can you do about it? – nothing, so dont waste any time on this one
  8. Knowledge is key – always – prepare, research and prepare again
  9. Interview yourself in a mirror – simple yet effective – watch your body language – see how you come across to others – no lesson like this one
  10. Arrange a mock interview – preferrably with your Medical Recruiter or someone who will not have you giggling – someone who will take helping you nail this Medical Sales job seriously

Do remember these tips when dealing with nerves in your Medical Sales interview

The ultimate Medical Sales interview question

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Medical Sales interview

Medical Sales interview

The ultimate Medical Sales interview question –

The one that can land you that Medical Sales job or not?

Why should we pick you’?

Wow! – a very loaded question – the one that causes alot of Medical Sales interviewees to go off on a tangent or to clam up – neither is good

Ultimately, the interviewers are trying to put you to the test, they have seen your CV, met you and now want you to tell them they are making the right choice should they choose you.

This is your best chance to prove to them, you are absolutely and definitely the right person for this job –

When asked this question, remember the following –

  • Stay calm – count to 3, take a deep breath
  • Remember what job your are interviewing for and what the main requirements were
  • Remember who you are and why you are there
  • Outline succinctly combining the above 2, why you are the strongest contender
  • Do not bluff
  • Be factual – back everything you are saying up with evidence – examples
  • Smile
  • Be confident in your ability
  • Keep your head up

It is shocking how many Medical Sales interviewees hang themselves on this question –

Remember the above when answering the ultimate Medical Sales interview question and you wont go far wrong

Managing your Medical Sales interview technique

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Medical Sales interview

Medical Sales interview

Managing your Medical Sales interview technique SHOULD be relatively easy for Medical Sales Reps and those heading down the path of Medical Sales.


Because an interview is a Sales process and if this is what you do for a living, you have an advantage at interview over all other Medical Professionals as you are a Sales person

Take a look at the similarities –

To be successful in Medical Sales you need the following –

  1. The ability to listen, not to be confused with the ability to hear – we all hear – but what do we really hear? – active listening skills is a key skill required for success in Sales
  2. The ability to demonstrate something rather then ‘tell’ something
  3. The ability to go and find the right person to talk to in order to sell – ie research your Key Opinion Leaders
  4. The knowledge of all competitors
  5. The ability to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of your Company and Product Portfolio
  6. The ability to ‘go the extra mile’
  7. Making and seeking the relevant contacts in your Medical Sales field and all the patience that involves
  8. Time management – essential
  9. The ability to get up and sell something/present a Medical Product effectively in a short time
  10. Resistence, the ‘go getter’  – persistence
  11. Maintaining a sharp and professional appearance
  12. The ability to prioritise
  13. Keeping a sense of humour
  14. The ability to take rejection, if at first you dont succeed, try and try again……….

The list could go on.

If you look back at this list, it is 80% of the pre interview preparation and coaching we give to our job seekers in the Medical Profession.

Medical Sales Reps already know how to manage their interview technique.

In Medical Sales, use your intuition

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Sales Instincts

Sales Instincts

We hear about ‘instincts and intuition’ regularly within Medical Sales and post interviews.

A Sales process, rather like an interview process is always very important in terms of its outcome.

It will either mean money or a new job, or both!

As a result of this, the build up leading to an interview or Sales process is huge involving alot of preparing and research.

Generally, when a Medical Sales interview is over, women in particular have very accurate intuition in relation to the outcome which they are not always aware of.

Next time you complete a Medical Sales pitch or Medical Sales interview, when you come out of it, concentrate on how you ‘feel’ in your stomach, gut – can be referred to a the butterflies, elation or nervy jingles!

If the feeling is good – there is a high chance you have done well – if not……………. then probably not.

This is not to be confused with the head space and analytics which then start 30 mins after which start masking the initial post interview 30 second feeling and the doubt starts creeping in.

It is the ‘feeling’ that is your intuition and it is that you should listen to – particularly  women.

How do I get in to Medical Sales?

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Getting in to Medical Sales

Getting in to Medical Sales

How do I get in to Medical Sales?

This is a question we are asked many times a day, one which any good Medical Recruiter should be able to answer.

Not an easy one to answer either as it depends on each individual asking.

In a nutshell, getting a job in Medical Sales was alot easier up to 5 years ago, especially for Nurses.

As long as you had your Nursing/Medical background, you had a chance.

That was 5 years ago!

You then went in as a ‘Rookie’ where Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Companies took you under their wing and trained you up in to the job.

How things have changed!

Does this happen anymore, will any Medical/Pharma Company train up a ‘Rookie Rep’ any more?


So, nowadays, how do I get in to Medical Sales?

Short answer – with alot of difficulty!

Long answer –

The following is the current list of essential requirements to apply for a Medical Sales job in Ireland –

  1. You must have a Life Science/Medical/Nursing Degree to start with
  2. A minimum of 2 years Medical Device/Pharma Sales experience (leading to the all too familiar cry of ‘but how do I get that’?
  3. A full and clean, manual driving license
  4. Contacts, there is still an element of ‘who you know’ in Ireland and if you are well established in a Medical sector and well known by Senior Decision makers – ie Hospital Consultants, you may have a chance without the Sales experience. Contacts are all important in Medical Sales – Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) – ie the decision makers are all important, the more you know, the better you know them, the better your credibility
  5. Do you know who to get to in a Hospital and how to get to them – ie Procurement and Senior buyers
  6. Do you have the full flexibility for a Medical Sales job which may cover 26 or 32 counties? – ie over night stays and weekend exhibitions and conferences up to 8 times a year
  7. Do you have that same amount of flexibility around the hours you work per day? – this is definitely NOT a 9-5 job – you may start @ 7am or finish @ 8pm – so if you have small children and creche runs to do, this may not be the job for you
  8. This job is not for the feint hearted, it takes passion, persistence and patience to become and remain a successful Medical Sales Rep
  9. Are you a student Member of the MRII – Medical Reps institute of Ireland?
  10. Have you attended Medical Sales Training courses? – there is no use turning up for a Medical sales interview trying to convince the hiring manager you want to be a Medical Sales Rep without a strong chain of evidence with you

The list is exhaustive, suffice to say, if you do not have 3 out of the first 4 on that list of essential requirements for a Medical Sales Rep, then perhaps it is time to consider an alternative career

Your Medical Recruitment Agency should be able to advise you.

For further information, go to Medical Sales Tips

Don’t forget to ‘close’ your Medical Sales interview

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Closing the Sale

Closing the Sale

Don’t forget to ‘close’ your Medical Sales interview.

Many of our Medical Sales Managers are frustrated by the lack of closing the Medical Sales Reps use at their interview.

This is particularly important for less experienced Medical Sales Reps or those trying to enter in to this field for the first time.

A Medical Sales Manager in an interview process sees it as a Sales process and observes the interviewee for their selling ability.

There is no point in spending half an hour of an interview selling yourself to the Company and then walking out the door without securing the sale

See your interview as a Sales Process.

You would not walk in to a Hospital Consultant having spent 6 months securing an appointment, do a great Sales pitch and walk out of the room without asking for the business –  ‘sealing the deal’

See your Medical sales interview in the same light.

A Sales Manager is watching you to see if you will ‘close’ at the end of the interview and is frustrated if you do not.

Suggestions for ‘Closing at interview’ are –

  1. When will I hear?
  2. How did I do?
  3. What is the next stage?
  4. Do you need any further clarification on anything?
  5. When do I start? ( not for the faint hearted! – be careful, fine line and you may appear cocky)
  6. What can I expect next?

You should be walking out of a Medical Sales interview knowing exactly when you will hear and what happens next –

This means you have ‘closed’ your interview well.

For further information on Medical Sales interviews, visit our Advice Centre