The Proper Dose: Interviewing in the Pharmaceutical Industry
SummaryFor recent graduates from science, medicine, or mathematics programs, applying for work in the ever-expanding pharmaceutical industry can be an intelligent choice for both career and financial stability. Depending on the industry upon which you choose to focus, the rules and expectations during the interview process can vary.
For recent graduates from science, medicine, or mathematics programs, applying for work in the ever-expanding pharmaceutical industry can be an intelligent choice for both career and financial stability. Depending on the industry upon which you choose to focus, the rules and expectations during the interview process can vary. Interviewing is a skill in and of itself, and there are a number of commonalities when it comes to making sure that one’s interview is successful. However, if you’re interested in working in a specific field, it is helpful to have some idea of what to expect from the interview process before it begins. Below you’ll find a brief outline of how to prepare and conduct yourself during the hiring process for three areas of the pharmaceutical industry.
The BasicsThere are some interviewing habits that should be adhered to, no matter what field in which you are planning to pursue work. In the pharmaceutical industry, there are three vital pieces of preparation that must be done prior to the interview, which will make the process far more successful.
A. Research the firm. Read any articles, online content, and trade publications that mention the company. Spend time on their website reading press releases, notices, and other company related news. Examine their products and any statistics related to their products. It is far easier to sound intelligent during an interview if you are aware of the “vocabulary” of the interviewing company.
B. Research the position. Know the ins and outs of the job for which you’re applying and be very certain that you are qualified. Large corporations do not always review resumes and accompanying materials thoroughly, and discovering that you do not have an appropriate qualification, degree, or section of specialized training during the interview is a frustrating experience for all involved, and does make a good first impression.
C. Practice makes perfect. Write out a list of questions and ask someone else to conduct a “mock” interview. Make a recording of the practice run. Listen to it and make notes about what needs improvement, and generate a list of questions for the interviewer as well. Taking a pro-active interest in the company is always a positive thing (even if it’s never pleasant to hear your voice on tape!)
Interviewing for a Pharmaceutical Sales Position
In addition to the basics above, people interested in pharmaceutical sales must be well versed in the products produced by the company with which they are interviewing. This is vital to a successful interview. Be prepared to answer questions about why you chose to apply to the particular company and why the sales field is of interest. Also be prepared to talk about which sales skills you could bring to the company and be ready to show actual examples of past sales successes. Dress well, and remember: a successful sales career is as much about selling yourself as it is about the product. The first interview is a very good place in which to demonstrate this understanding.
Interviewing for a Clinical Research Position
Clinical Research positions often require previous experience within the pharmaceutical field, which can make interviewing for them as a recent graduate feel like a catch-22. Gaining this experience requires actual work in the field, rather than online degrees or other academic programs. Without appropriate experience, it may be more advantageous to seek a position in administration in an office devoted to clinical research and then work up. However, if you do have some experience, there are a few tools for a successful interview. Do more in-depth research of the company, especially in regards to product development and how the company is structured. Be aware of recent product changes and innovations. Be prepared to answer questions about your ability to work within in a team environment, time management skills, and understanding of Good Clinical Practice (also known as GCP).
Interviewing for a Biotech Position
Like those people interviewing for clinical research position, biotech interviewees must be well versed on the interviewing company’s current products, as well as its business, development, and technological strategies. You’re likely to have to answer direct questions about your technical experience and knowledge with laboratory equipment and techniques. There will also be questions regarding how you handle tasks, with and without supervision, and (like clinical research positions) your ability to work within a team.
Now that you have some idea of what to expect from the interview process within a pharmaceutical company, it is only a matter of time before the perfect position is offered. Put your best foot forward - the pharmaceutical field is your oyster.