The Four P s of an Informational Interview
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A critical part of the pharmaceutical sales job search is the
informational interview that you will conduct with your networking
contacts. Obviously, these information-gathering meetings will
provide you with valuable insight into things like day to day
activities, company culture, professionalism, and overall mood of
the company (or at least the rep you’re interviewing). On the
other hand, informational interview s give you a chance to practice
the skills that you’ve acquired that will later be used in
your interview. The PharmBoard Four P’s should be able to
help you get the most out of your informational interview .
1. Plan - As the old adage says, “If you fail to plan,
you’ve planned to fail”. As with any phone call,
networking meeting, or sales call, you should enter the
informational interview with a specific goal in mind. Here are a
few things you might want to walk away from the interview having
* Information about the company’s future - You may
want to ask what the plans are for the sales force in the long term
and short term. Does the company plan on launching any new drugs in
the next few years?
* Information about the contact herself - Does this contact
have the ability to help me get a job in pharmaceutical sales -
either directly or indirectly? What does this contact do on a daily
basis? Does she enjoy her job? Does she find a sense of
satisfaction in what she does?
* The contact’s input on how you might go about your
search - Does the contact believe you need more sales experience?
Does he believe you have the right demeanor to succeed in the job?
Does he think you’re overqualified?
2. Prepare - In other words, research. You will be amazed at . .
* How much more willing a contact is to talk business with
you if you already know a bit about the business to begin with.
Just as an auto racer would probably not be interested in answering
the question, “How do you start your car?”, a
professional pharmaceutical rep isn’t typically impressed
when a wannabe says, “So, do you have to wear a suit every
* How much more fruitful your informational interview will
be if you are in tune with the company and the industry goings on.
Reps like to educate. They like to share their thoughts on the
state of the industry and their company. They like to speculate -
even about your future as a drug rep. If you can initiate some of
these discussions, you will win.
3. Probe - It’s all about putting your research into
practice. The reason you research a customer, any customer, is to
uncover needs. Probing achieves the same goal on a much more
personal basis. Here are a few questions you might ask your
* What do you like most about your job? What do you like
* What is your manager’s management style?
* Do you work alone or with a partner/partners? How does
* Do you plan on staying a pharma rep or moving on to
different roles in your company?
* This list is endless. You should try to ask for
suggestions from others in the message boards.
4. Promote - Like it or not, your job search is a sales call. You
must, above all else, create opportunities to promote yourself. If
you are uncomfortable doing this you have two choices: a.) Get
comfortable doing this. b.) Go to monster.com and do a search for
“cubicle jobs” because that’s where you belong.
Here are a few thoughts on how you might go about promoting
yourself in an informational interview .
* Be yourself. Let your true personality show through. Be
businesslike but casual at the same time (if you don’t know
how, you should practice).
* Let the person on the other side of the table know,
without saying so, that you have done the other 3 P’s
* Don’t be shy about letting the
“interviewee” know that you are seriously considering a
job in pharmaceutical sales.
* Don’t be pompous, but how off. Speak proudly about
your accomplishments and be convincing when you talk about your
skills and abilities.
* Never, never, never say, “I’m a people
person”. This also goes for formal interviews as well.
I’ve heard more than one manager say they’ve ended an
interview at least mentally if not physically when they heard the
candidate say “I’m a people person”.
In the end, continue networking , continue reading, continue
studying, and utilize PharmBoard.com’s Four P’s for a
successful informational interview and you will be one step closer
to the job you’re working hard to land. Then the challenges,
and the payoffs, really begin.
About the AuthorRyan Stewart is the Founder, Owner, and Administrator of
first-class Pharmaceutical Sales Job Search Megasite
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-06-05 23:42:37 in Employee Articles