I’ve had a few resumes in this past month with the candidate’s picture on them. In our multi-media world, I’m sure it’s a tempting thing to do. All I can say is, please don’t. It’s problematic for medical sales recruiters and pharmaceutical industry hiring managers, for a lot of reasons–which creates a problem for you. You want us to be focused on and interested in your skills and achievements, first. Then you can come in and wow us with your charm and personality. Chris Russell has a great post about this with some insightful comments from HR managers.
Just a quick FYI: If you have a MySpace or Facebook profile and you are looking for a job in pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, medical device sales, or biotech sales (or even if you’re not) be careful what you put on it. Medical sales recruiters and hiring managers will go check those out to see the “real you.” The pictures and profanity that some people have on their MySpace page will prevent them from moving further in the placement process (at least with PHC Consulting). RecruiterGuy has posted some info from Allison Doyle about MySpace job hunting tips, and she says that many recruiters search MySpace to look for candidates. What will they find on your space?
I know some sales candidates won’t believe this, but the people doing the interviewing can be just as nervous as the people being interviewed. It’s important for hiring managers to ask the right questions, and make sure they are getting a quality person who is a good fit for their company. (And I, as a medical sales recruiter, am also greatly interested in making sure everyone winds up happy and well-placed.) I found a good post on 10 common interview mistakes that interviewers make:
- Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.
- Don’t oversell your company.
- Don’t ask for information you already have.
- Don’t allow yourself to be interrupted unless it is an emergency.
- Don’t talk too much.
- Don’t use the interview as your therapy.
- Don’t be afraid to spell out in detail the requirements of the position.
- Don’t gossip or swap war stories.
- Don’t put the applicant on the defensive.
- Don’t be afraid to make the interview as long, or as short, as you deem necessary.
More and more hiring managers in our area of expertise (pharmaceutical sales, medical sales, laboratory sales, biotech sales) are using phone interviews as a first step in the hiring process. Pass that, and you get to move up to the face-to-face. So, how you handle a phone interview is critical, but in a lot of ways it’s also easier than speaking with them in person (you can keep all of your notes in front of you so you don’t forget anything). I found some great phone interview tips at Non Sterile:
1. Have your resume, brag book, company literature, and job description in front of you.
2. Prepare 3-5 mini-stories and a list of questions. (Don’t forget the questions–you’re interviewing them, too.)
3. Dress as you would for a face-to-face meeting. (Keeps you in character, so to speak.)
4. Stand up–Motion creates Emotion.
5. Ask for the business–what’s the next step? (Know how to close the deal without being too pushy.)
Go check this out–it has some great information for people interested in medical device or pharmaceutical sales.
While I was browsing NonSterile, I found another good tip for people in medical device sales, laboratory sales, and pharmaceutical sales about your chances of success cold-calling doctors’ (physicians) offices on Friday afternoons. You might have more luck because (1) doctors, nurses and receptionists are happy because they get to go home for the weekend soon, and happy people make better customers and (2) you should have less competition because not everyone in the medical sales industry has caught on to this yet (go, quick!!).
We all know interviews for any sales positions (whether pharma, medical, laboratory or other) are stressful, but think about conducting that interview over lunch or dinner. That presents a whole new set of problems: ordering something so messy to eat that it makes you look less than civilized, ordering the most expensive thing on the menu is a no-no, along with ordering alcohol at lunch or more than one with dinner. I found a great article that covers issues like this called Be prepared for dinner interview–and take a pass on the onion soup. Sharing a meal provides potential employers another opportunity to see how you might represent their company to customers. Sales reps are in an extremely competitive industry and need to be able to handle social interactions smoothly.
I just had a situation where the hiring manager was on the fence about my candidate after a phone interview (not enough experience). Then, the candidate e-mailed me a recommendation letter from his last employer. It changed the whole dynamic. How? The letter gave some very specific instances of leadership, energy, intelligence and adaptability. The next step was a face-to-face and an offer. Reference letters can make or break your chances–here’s an article about how to write a good one— but if it’s not truthful or accurate, forget it.
Reference letters are especially useful when you are trying to make a transition from one industry or area to another. For example: a pharmaceutical sales representative that is attempting to break into medical devices or clinical diagnostics, or a copier rep trying to break into medical may find that a reference letter might push the interview process to the next step.
Letters of recommendation are one small (but critical) part of controlling your job search so that you become the best candidate and get the offer. Check out this link for a way to become a “total package” candidate with the ability to get a job anytime, anywhere.
Need a little inspiration? Job searches are stressful, and any sales job in the pharmaceutical or medical or laboratory industry is demanding. Stay positive with these great quotes on success, including:
The secret of success of every man who has ever been successful lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing those things that failures don’t like to do. — A. Jackson King
I posted this one in December, but have since found some more great information that will help you. As I said before, you can search online–http://www.onlinerecruitersdirectory.com/index.php will have a database to search for you. Remember, don’t limit your search by geography. Even though I recruit people for medical sales all over the country, I would only show up on a list of recruiters in the southwest. What’s the Best Way to Find a Recruiter? offers some helpful ideas…use your network, read recruitment blogs (look, you’re on one now), search job boards to see which recruiters are filling the kinds of jobs you want. And How to Find and Work With a Recuiter shows you how to search for an industry-specific recuiter on Google. Hope this helps…good luck!
This is a rerun, but very relevant, and worth repeating… You need to know that a recruiter has obligations to many different companies and has a database of candidates that is in the 5-digit range. What does that mean to you (a prospective candidate)? You have to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. How do you do this? The same way you set yourself apart in any other sale. Make the process easy. Know what the person’s motivation is. What do they need? In my case, I need candidates that I can place in my biotech and laboratory products companies that will be the at the top of the class. If you think that you are that candidate then you have to find a way to convince me of this….I have candidates that send me their resumes and lengthly cover letters that go on and on about their work ethic, drive, skills, etc. You need to understand that everyone has a copy of these letters and recruiters don’t read them. What I love are sales rankings, sales numbers, emails that your manager sent you congratulating you on outstanding performance, references that I can check (these are potential candidates – recruiters love this) and well-timed phone calls that are short and sweet. Of course, the squeaky wheel does get the grease and you should check back but make sure you keep it light. If I have a job that is a good fit for you and you are a good candidate, it is in my best (financial) interest to put you in play. At no point is it appropriate to lose your temper with a recruiter or be aggressive in any way. Our job is shot through and through with stress, aggression and pressure. If we get it from a candidate, we put you on the “No” list forever. (see other ) Remember that this is not personal and if you don’t like a recruiter, then don’t call them back. Good Luck!!