Pharmaceutical Q&A

April 30th, 2010

In order to help you better understand the Pharma industry and ultimately help you land a sales career within the industry, we recently conducted an online Q&A with a seasoned pharmaceutical sales executive (Rodney H.).

See questions and answers below.

Q. How did you get introduced to the Pharma industry?

A. working at a Retail Pharmacy

Q. Have you worked in other industries? If so, how do they compare?

A. Retail Store Management, Luxury New Car Sales 6 months, Internship-Home Healthcare Marketing Manager

Q. Why did you choose Pharmaceutical sales?

A. I met a lot of Pharmaceutical Reps that encouraged me to pursue this field, along with an influential Manager at an Eckerd drug store.

Q. How long have you worked in the Pharmaceutical industry?

A. 27 years

Q. What types of clients did you work with?

A. Physicians (All Specialties), Hospitals, Home Healtcare, Nurses, PA, NP, MHMR Clinics

Q. What were common challenges/objections that you faced while selling your product?

A. Hospital Formularies and DRG’s, Managed Healthcare Formularies, Price Issues, Low Program Attendance, Call Frequency and Call Reach.

Q. Is now a good time to enter into Pharmaceutical sales?

A. Yes, but be ready for cycles of hiring and downsizing–make sure that you are producing sales, relationships and at the top of your game every year. You can’t hide when the numbers comes out on paper.

Q. How should someone prepare for the interview process with a pharmaceutical company?
Know everything about the company–products you will sell (at least names), how company is performing, always close for next round (why, why not), ask interviewer what they are looking for-then turn it around with your strengths and accomplishments, answer questions in situations, Task, Action and Results–but continue by stating how this will make you the resounding candidate and what it would mean for this company, territory, product.

Q. What type(s) of products did you sell?

A. Ventolin, Beclovent, Beconase, Vicon C, Corticaine Cream, Nucofed, Fastin, Amoxil, Ticar, Zinacef, Fortaz, Zantac, Trandate, Advair, Flonase, Serevent, Flovent, Imitrex, Boniva, VESIcare, Valtrex, Zyprexa, Symbyax, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin XL

Q. Was their competition within your company? How was the competition with your competitors?

A. Competition is tough inside due to near number of sales representatives and lots of ego’s that drives everyone to race for the top. With competitors–Most played fair–but those that broke the rules were the tough ones to compete against due to I wasn’t about to break the rules. Merck, Pfizer, AZ and Schering had my respect because if you didn’t make the sale–they would.

Q. In your opinion, How important is a brag book? What information should be included?

A. I am not a fan of the brag book. Every candidate I interviewed and HIRED had strengths and weaknesses (areas of need). I liked Annual Performance Reviews that gave me direction where the candidate and their manager were heading in terms of development. This gave me an idea of where I would need resources to continue to develop the career of the one I hired. Rankings are another one that I liked especially if you could show me a baseline and how you improved rankings, earnings and so forth

Q. What advise would you like to share with people looking to start in the industry?

A. Expect to be hired in 2 years. Know every product that you could possible sell before the interview. Network with physicians you know personally to find out there best representatives. Hand out resume’ at Physician office buildings and Hospitals–as reps come in offer to buy them a cup of coffee and a chance to meet the DSM. Attend local Pharma Reps Associations in your city–if available. .

Be enthusiastic, Be courageous, Be respectful during the interview! Dress for success–image carries you a long way and it is hard to get over initial perceptions. Join Linkedin! I am currently interviewing and actually looked up person that is going to make the hiring decisions as well as found his representative to find out his likes-dislikes. Don’t walk in blind to the detail and gather as much knowledge as you can. Practice potential answers and make strong statements that you can back up. Remember the next candidate behind you is probably just as good as you are so YOU need to STAND OUT of the crowd. They interview 4 per day and I thought the first and last positions were the best. If you are doing a Job Fair the same rule applies–unless there is truly a STAR in the middle–they won’t be remembered by the end of the day unless they had 2 DSM’s interviewing them or multiple interviews. If you go to a Job Fair or Screening Day with 4-5 DSM’s or recruiters working it.

We hope this information was helpful, and remember interviewing is a performance.


Is Clicking the Apply Button Even Worth my Time?

March 25th, 2010

Do you apply to 5, 10, 15, or maybe event 20 jobs a day through a company website, job board, or some type of recruiting website? Do you track the response you receive from those applications? Do you feel like the internet is just a black hole and hardly anything comes to fruition? Well you are not alone, take a look at the below statistics regarding how new hires are found, published by Richard Kirby Author of the book “Fast Track you Job Search (and Career)”

Online –5%
Direct Contact with Company Representative –10%
Recruiters (placement) –15%
Networking –70%

Revealing huh? With the new information take a deep breath and start to evaluate how is your time best spent? Five percent is not zero, people do get hired through clicking the apply button. Much like all avenues of life if you go about things with some forethought it drastically increases your odds for success. Below is a list of some helpful thoughts to land a career though an online search.

1: Keep a log
Track what positions and companies you have applied for. Pertinent information is where you applied, date you applied, did you receive a response, did you follow up, is it a closed door?

2: Apply but don’t just apply
Apply, but in addition try and find an email address for the person who receives all the résumé’s in their inbox and send it directly to them as well. Immediately follow up with a phone call to the individual…”Hi ____ my name is John Doe and I wanted to let you know I just emailed over my resume applying for the _____ position on ______ website. I am excited about the opportunity and look forward to hearing from you.”

3: Follow up but don’t be a pest
Be persistent schedule a phone call one week after the initial contact. Introduce your self again and check the status of the opportunity. “Hi, ____ my name is John Doe and if you recall I applied for the ______ position last week. I am very excited about this opportunity and hope the position has not yet been filled, where are you in your process? Would it be possible to schedule an interview while we are both on the phone?”

4: Last chance
Lets say you have not had any contact, try one more time to reach out with a phone call. If no response mark this opportunity as closed and move on, I propose not leaving a voicemail.

I suggest doing this for every position you apply for online. If more people pursued their next gig with this type of commitment internet recruiting would definitely jump from 5%. Far too many people view applying online as meeting a quota. These same people feel good they applied to 5, 10, 15, or maybe even 20 jobs today and although it is good, it is not great. In order to speed things up you have to increase your odds by standing out, do something different. Don’t just apply and cross your fingers take matters into you own hands.


March Madness Tournament

March 12th, 2010

Hiring Managers Don’t Miss Out!

United Career Fairs is seeking to reach out to you with a unique opportunity to win a FREE sales focused career fair.

Most offices have pools for the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, this year we are sponsoring a pool that gives you the chance to win a FREE booth and a United Career Fairs sales focused recruiting event.

The winner will receive one free credit for a UCF sales focused job fair and must be redeemed by 12/31/10. The credit may be used in any city that UCF is currently producing events in.

It is simple, fun, and only takes a few minutes. Follow the below step by step instructions and you will automatically be entered into the competition.

Your brackets must be filled out by 3/18/10 in order to participate.

Click on or cut and paste this link in to your web browser:

You will be prompted to login to CBS Sports or create a personal account.

Once you are logged in you will be asked for the pool password: contact your UCF rep to obtain this information.

Once the teams are selected on March 14th you will then be able to fill out your bracket. All brackets must be completed by March 18th.

Good Luck!

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