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Pharmaceutical interviews - preparation is key

Pharmaceutical interviews - preparation is key


Pharmaceutical interviews - preparation is key feature from Apex International
Last Updated: 02-Dec-2014

Job interviews can be a daunting experience at the best of times, so it's particularly important in the current climate to ensure you are well-prepared for this stage of recruitment.

Preparing for a pharmaceutical interview is in many respects similar to applying for positions in other high-status professions. Punctuality, a confident manner and a professional appearance are essential parts of any successful job interview.

It is also important that candidates spend an appropriate amount of time researching and familiarising themselves with both the company and the role for which they are being considered before the day of the interview.

Recruitment for permanent pharmaceutical roles is often carried out in different stages. Initially, telephone interviews tend to be used for internal HR purposes, following a list prepared by the manager. These are usually more informal and allow candidates to ask questions about the company and the role.

The second part of the process can involve a visit to an assessment centre and competency-based questions, followed by a formal, one-on-one interview.

Apex Recruitment fully prepares candidates for the recruitment process, providing information such as the names of interviewers and links to company websites to give candidates the best chance of succeeding.

However, Alex Elliott, business development manager at Apex Recruitment, says a common problem is that candidates fail to "do their homework" on the role for which they are applying.

Applicants need to ensure they find out as much information as they can about their potential employer. This includes thoroughly reading through the company's website, but should also involve reading through the trade press to find out about the firm's position within the industry and the activity of competitors.

Candidates should also make sure they have an in-depth understanding of the role for which they are applying. They should re-read the job specification and consider the qualities they possess that make them suitable candidates for the role.

Punctuality is an essential part of any successful interview - first impressions count during the interview, and it doesn't look good if a candidate fails to turn up on time.

Make sure you know the exact location of the interview and how long it will take to get there. It is often useful to do a 'dummy run' of the commute before the day of the interview to ensure you turn up on time.

Prepare some stock answers to general pharmaceutical sector questions and commit them to memory. Employers will often ask about your future career plans, so it is a good idea to ensure you've thought ahead and have an answer to this question. Asking about the direction of the company and prospects for progression within the department can be useful.

Your appearance is important - make sure you decide on the outfit you will wear the day before the interview and ensure it is cleaned and ironed in advance.

Read through your CV to make sure you are familiar with all the points you have made and how these relate to the position for which you have applied.

During the interview, it is important to have a confident manner. A firm handshake is often well-valued, while maintaining eye contact with the interviewer is vital.

When responding to questions, applicants should give examples to show how they are well-suited for the role. They should also make sure they ask relevant questions that demonstrate their interest in, and knowledge of, the company and position.

While it is important to demonstrate your knowledge of and suitability for a job, this should be delivered in as concise a manner as possible, avoiding unnecessary rambling.

Candidates should make sure they listen to the interviewer's question and respond in a clear, structured manner. It is normally only necessary to provide a few points to demonstrate your knowledge of the area.

And it might seem obvious, but make sure your mobile phone is switched off during the interview - receiving a phone call halfway through is unlikely to make a good impression.

At the end of an interview, it is advisable to establish a time for hearing back from the company. Make sure you thank the interviewer for their time and exit as calmly as possible.

The key to succeeding is preparation - if you have prepared for your interview well in advance, the day itself will go as smoothly as possible.