Tips for a successful panel job interview….

Panel interviews are gaining in popularity these days.  Why?  They save time, since the candidate interviews with everyone at once rather than go through a series of private interviews.  They can be more reliable and job-related, since interviewers have each other to keep them accountable and to help them stay on track.  These interviews are very good for sales, sales management, and marketing for medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, laboratory sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, biotechnology sales, and medical device sales, but less helpful for technical, customer service, and field service positions in healthcare. 

However, panel interviews can the most stressful for the candidate of all interview types since they seem impersonal and more judgmental.

How to stand out in a panel interview:

1)  When you meet each person on the panel, ask for a business card.  Lay them out in front of you facing the appropriate person to help you remember names.  This also helps you for writing thank you notes later.

2)  Don’t assume the most senior person is the decision maker.  Be sure to include everyone in your responses.

3)  Try to size up the agenda of everyone in the group.  The needs of different departments will vary, so position your answers to meet those needs.

4)  Send everyone in the group a thank you letter and make sure each one is unique.

Here is a video with more tips:


My personal key points for the candidate:

  • Remember that they (the employer) need you and that is your job to help them determine this. It really is your responsibility.
  • Remember that each person would interview you anyway, and be much more personal if this were one on one, and that they probably don’t want to be here either.
  • Be calm. Practice relaxing breathing.
  • Prepare-there is nothing like preparation to help calm your nerves.
  • Know the job, the interviewers, the company and yourself.
  • Think about body language. Lean forward, smile, gesture, make eye contact, and shake hands.
  • Have some questions of your own and not just the obligatory 2 or 3 at the end of the interview.
  • Ask for the next step. Confirm that you have answered all questions.


MySpace killed the candidate….critical job interview tip

Another candidate with inappropriate material on his myspace…who is now no longer a candidate.

It’s REALLY important to sanitize your social network pages (anything on MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.)  while you are looking for a job in medical sales, pharmaceutical sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, medical device sales, cellular products sales, molecular products sales, or biotech sales, which is why I have addressed this in previous posts

Why?  According to a survey, which I found in Net Etiquette for Job Seekers, 44% of employers surveyed looked up potential employees on social networking sites and 82% of those employers would think twice about hiring candidates with something perceived as negative in their on-line profiles. And FYI:  39% of employers have searched the on-line profiles of current employees, so don’t think you’re good to go after you’ve got the job.  It may seem unfair and an invasion of your personal social life, but it becomes fair game once you’ve put it out there in public. 

Additional great advice in this article–not only make sure your sites are “PG,” but also make sure they are complete, since they are serving as another resume.  For instance, identify yourself as a healthcare salesperson (or even better, as a laboratory sales rep) rather than just say you’re “in sales.”

If that many employers are using social networks to gather information, I would imagine that any recruiter worth his or her salt uses them, too.  (I know I do.)  Social networking sites are one of the gold mines for finding candidates. 

Social networks can be general or focused on a particular group, and it’s worth it to companies and candidates to find out how to effectively use them.  The New Way to Network for a Job offers an overview that shows you how important they have already become and solid advice for how to use them to your advantage. 

By the way, no one will tell you that this is what killed your chances…managers will just assume that you have bad judgment and want nothing to do with you. 

Interviewing Skills: Starting with the Phone

Quick quiz:  When searching for a job in medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, pharmaceutical sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, medical device sales, cellular products sales, molecular products sales, or biotechnology sales, which of these greetings are appropriate for your voicemail?

a)  “In case you have forgotten, this is a machine — my owner does not want siding, the newspaper, or the carpets cleaned. He donates to charity through hiss office and does not want his picture taken. If you’re still with me, leave a message and we’ll see if he calls you back.”

b)  “Hello… Do you ever get the ones where someone says ‘Hello!’, and there’s a long pause, so you think you’re talking to an actual person. Then you begin speaking, and after you say about two words you hear, ‘We can’t come to the phone right now.’ I really hate that!”

c)  “How do you leave an idiot in suspense? Leave a message and I’ll get back to you…”

Go on, guess…

While funny greetings can be more entertaining than the standard, “You have reached 555-1234, please leave a message,” they are obviously not appropriate for someone who might be receiving calls from medical sales recruiters or potential employers. 

Equally bad:

ME: Hello, may I speak with Melissa?

THEM: Ummm, (short pause) she’s not here.


ME: Well, do you know when I might be able to reach her?

THEM: Nope.

(more silence)

ME: Could I leave a message for her?

THEM: I guess.

ME: Can you please have her call Joy at (555) 55…

THEM: (exasperated sigh) Hang on, I don’t have a pencil. (Sound of phone dropping and papers rustling. What seems like several minutes pass, the phone is picked up, and they say…) OK.

ME: Please have her call Joy at (555) 555-5555.

THEM: (just silence)

ME: Did you get it?

THEM: Umm, yeah.

ME: Thanks.

THEM: (quickly hangs up)

This is from a great article on Telephone Skills which offers critical advice for how to train your children to answer the phone.  However, one mom I know bypasses this altogether by forbidding the children to answer.  They listen to the answering machine first to see if it’s for them before they pick it up.

When you record your voicemail greeting, you’re marketing and didn’t even know it

This is a prime opportunity to give people a 10 second screen shot of your personality. Your voicemail greeting should include, without fail, your name, a thank you to the caller, instructions to leave a name and number, and a timeframe in which you’ll return their call (I like within 24 hours). Infuse some personality. Be happy they called. Then call them back.

No music, rhyming, or quirky statements.  Your voicemail greeting is often the first contact people have with you, so you should be mindful of what kind of impression you’re giving them. 

I found some Tips to Improve Your Company’s Image through E-mails and Voicemails that you can use on your personal phone.  Things like:  keep it to 30 seconds or less, eliminate background noise, and offer an alternative way to contact you, such as a website or e-mail.

Why is this so important?  According to Top Ten Reasons I Rejected Your Resume, #2 is:  Okay, so I liked your resume, and called you for an interview, but your voicemail greeting was highly unprofessional.


Shift happens…we have to change the way we think, work, etc.

Below is a video that shows the amazing impact of the internet and technology. When I watch it, I think that to be competitive in today and tomorrow’s market, every business person has to embrace technology and try to fashion their business, products and marketing to meet and exceed the expectations of the generations to come. And they will be using video, internet, social networks, etc. They will have grown up with it. What does this mean? At least provide the opportunity for your customers to find you on the web (and no – a website is not enough), provide the opportunity for customers (and potential customers) to communicate without picking up the phone or writing a letter, provide your information so that others can understand it, and put your message in several different formats. And if you can’t see your product and how it fits in the “Star Trek” age, then it probably doesn’t fit there. For instance, if your product requires an interaction that won’t adapt to the internet, that may not be a good sign. Just my thoughts. Do you have any examples of how your companies are working to meet this shift? I am all ears (or eyes).

Housekeeping: videos, comments, subscribe, Google tools

June 10, 2008 · Posted in Medical Sales Recruiting, Video Blogs · 2 Comments 

Okay, just a few short topics that we need to go over.

#1 – Google has some great tools. I just started using Google Reader (this compiles a list of articles or posts on the web) to track articles on “clinical diagnostics”, “laboratory sales”, and a few other topics of interest to me. It is very cool and saves me a lot of time browsing through sites.

#2 – Google has an alerts setting that you can use to track specific topics (updated immediately or 1x per day). For example, if I want to know everything about a competitor, I could put their name in an alert. Then every time their name is added to anything on the web, Google finds it and emails me. We are definitely in the Star Trek age.

#3 – I have started recording videos on topics of interest to hiring managers, sales reps and job seekers. I will be featuring them in my blog. I have developed a “channel” on YouTube – you can check it out here.  I have several videos there and I have collected a number of videos that I think you will find interesting. Topics on my playlists are: Sales/Motivation Videos, Technology Videos, Different Careers, and Job Search and Hiring videos. If you have a video (on YouTube) or know of a video that might be relevant to my audience, please let me know and I will check it out. On YouTube, you can subscribe to my channel to receive all updates to the channel.

#4 Comments: I love them. Tell me what you like, what you don’t like and what you need. I will try to provide it (if I can). Even if you don’t agree with me, that is okay.

#5 Check out this cool bookmark at the bottom of each of my posts. It gives you the ability to bookmark or save posts that you like, share posts with others and to highlight posts on sites like Digg or Technorati.

Have a fantastic day.

30/60/90 day plans for interviews – get hired!

Here I outline how to use a 30/60/90 day plan in an interview to secure an offer. What is a 30 day/60 day/90 day plan? And why is it important? and how do I create one? These fantastic documents that will solidify you as a candidate in your next job search and will help you be a better performer in the position that you do this type of analysis on…..

So to start with…This type of plan is a short 1-3 page document that you create that states in as little or as much detail as you prefer what you will do in the position that you are interviewing for…..Why should you do this? Well, to do one correctly you have to take the time to think out the position and your goals and the company’s goals. This goal-setting exercise alone will set you apart from other jobseekers.  It goes way beyond a great resume, an outstanding LinkedIn profile, or even an amazing brag book

You would not believe how many candidates who are interviewing for sales opportunities (either pharmaceutical sales positions, biotech sales jobs, clinical and research laboratory sales opportunities, laboratory service sales or medical device sales) and have not thought through the potential job to this extent. So the exercise alone is very valuable for your future success, but the end document could be the tipping point for your potential employer. Check out my video below discussing the 30/60/90 day plan.  And then get your own proven, job-getting 30/60/90-Day Sales Plan here.

Sign up for the no-charge webinar that talks more about this in detail:  How to Answer Interview Questions


7 tips for a great resume

If you are looking for a position in medical sales, healthcare sales, medical device sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, cellular products sales, molecular products sales, biotechnology products sales, clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, or pharmaceutical sales, here are seven tips to help you write the very best resume you can so that you can have the most impact:


1.  Use bullets points, not paragraphs. No one reads the paragraphs. (Do you?)  Whether it is to be read by Human Resources or a hiring manager or third party recruiters, your resume needs to have bullet points.


2.  Have an objective, not a cover letter. You must have the objective clearly stated on your resume. Typically, hiring managers and recruiters do not upload the cover letter, only the resume.  


3.  Your resume should be no more than 2 pages unless you have publications or you are Superman….and I have not placed Superman.


4.  Quantitative numbers on every job must relate to the bottom line. Determine your impact on the company’s bottom line and indicate that on your resume with numbers. This is easy for sales people with territories, budgets and revenue goals but it is not so easy for people who are not in a sales role.


5. Spell check. It is important to spell check your resume before sending it anywhere.


6. Don’t leave off the dates, please. It is a big red flag to not put dates on your resume.



7. Learn to use keywords-I can not search for your resume without them. Applicant Tracking Systems search by industry-specific keywords so it is important for your resume to have them.  This is the same tracking systems used by corporate recruiters.


What’s your brand?

Employers and recruiters do research medical sales, healthcare sales, medical device sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, cellular and molecular products sales, biotech sales, and pharmaceutical sales candidates online to get more information about them before an offer is presented.  This can work against you if your MySpace page is filled with “party” pics (or worse), but it can work for you if you have an effective online persona

Web Worker Daily rounds up several tips for developing an effective online presence:

  • Check your Google profile.  What comes up when your name gets typed in?  Know what’s out there so you don’t get suprised.
  • Own your domain name.  Even if you don’t want to do something with it now, you might later.
  • Develop your personal brand.  Set up a LinkedIn profile.  Write a blog.  Be a guest writer on blogs specific to your industry (maybe you could write a post for me – describing your job, etc).   If you’re not sure what personal branding is or how to do it, there’s a lot available out there.  Here’s 3 articles to get you started:

The 6 P’s of Personal Branding (Persona, Positioning, Packaging, Presentation, Promotion, and Passion)

Three Keys to Building a Strong Personal Brand.  “A good brand has 3 main features:  clarity, consistency, and constancy.”

Dan Schwabel’s podcast, Top Social Media Tools for Turning Your E-Brand into a Powerhouse.  Let Dan show you how to choose what to use.



Top Ten Lists

I enjoy David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists.  I will be publishing a few of my own soon, but here are a few I found for you now:

Top Ten Reasons Not to Accept a Counter-Offer 

Top Ten Reasons Why Managers Hate Recruiting

Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Resume

Top Ten Reasons for Failing the Interview

These are for candidates in all areas of medical sales, healthcare sales, pharmaceutical sales, medical device sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, imaging sales, pathology sales, molecular products sales, cellular products sales, and biotechnology products sales. 

Keeping it real….

What does your desk look like?  What kind of image do you project in the things you carry around with you?  Some people think that any personal objects or photos in your workspace is unprofessional.  “Ask Annie,” the column from Fortune magazine, says that those kinds of displays will keep you from getting ahead at work, and that studies show that if more than 1 in 5 objects in your workspace are personal, you will be perceived as unprofessional (and incompetent, apparently). 

I would agree that an excess of personal objects is a bad idea, and a decluttered space is good for productivity.  However, some personalization is a very good idea, especially in medical sales, healthcare sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, biotech sales, cellular and molecular products sales, medical device sales, and pharmaceutical sales.  You want to seem as personable as possible in sales (and especially in management).  People hire and work for people, and people buy from people.  Good customers are developed through relationships. 

One time, I had a rep who was having difficulty getting into a client company. The gatekeeper (receptionist) wasn’t helping him at all.  I advised him to put a picture of his kids in his planner and to open the planner while he was at her desk (to give her his business card).  Guess what?  In the door he went.  Since that worked so well, he left the photo in his planner and found clients to be warmer and more receptive when he met with them….because he became a person to them.