Interview Skills

Preparing for the medical sales interview

Hiring managers in the medical sales industry are looking for enthusiastic, prepared and productive sales reps. The biggest mistake that you can make in a medical sales interview is to miss the opportunity to demonstrate that you are passionate about sales and that you will perform up to expectations.

While some medical device companies have structured interview processes (which may include behavioral or situational interview questions) the vast majority of hiring managers are looking to see if you have “it”. They want to know that you can establish rapport, engage in productive conversation and develop relationships. They want to know that you understand the sales cycle, that you are prepared to be actively involved each day and that you are capable of growing a territory and achieving revenue goals.

Your goal in an interview is to demonstrate to the hiring manager how you have prepared for this opportunity, what you have achieved in the past and, more importantly, what you intend to do in the future to drive revenue and sales. You must be prepared with an action plan that explains how you will be a valuable contribution to their team (as compared to other applicants).

The following interview tips – the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for a successful interview – should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people make critical mistakes. Read ahead…

The “Do’s” of a Medical Sales Interview:

1.    DO spend time researching the company and the hiring manager.

  • Review the company website in depth, identify primary products of the company and understand the corporate culture.
  • Learn what you can about the person you will be interviewing with. LinkedIn and Google can be great resources.

2.    DO research the territory and understand the competition.

  • What companies or products have strong market share or representation in the territory?
  • Which surgeons are using the company’s products and which are using competitive products?

3.    DO practice your presentation.

  • Take some time to identify the most likely interview questions and practice answering them out loud.

4.    DO have at least two copies of a professional resume prepared.

  • Your resume should be specific to a medical sales position, be legible, free of errors and printed on resume paper.

5.    DO arrive early.

  • There are no excuses for arriving to an interview late. If there are other candidates interviewing before you, be patient.

6.    DO dress professionally.

  • Wear a business suit and dress conservatively. Men should be clean-shaven and have hair of an appropriate length. Ladies must be careful not to wear too much makeup, too much perfume or anything that might be revealing.

7.    DO make a connection with the hiring manager and engage them in conversation.

  • Being able to establish a relationship quickly is important. This does not give you permission for too much “small talk” – your message still must be a substantive one.
  • Do what you can to direct the conversation, while still respecting the hiring manager’s interviewing style.

8.    DO be prepared to ask appropriate questions. 

  • Develop a list of questions before the interview. Also listen carefully during the interview and identify “hot buttons” that you can come back to later in the interview.

9.    DO get a business card so that you can follow up with the hiring manager.

  • Send an email thank you the day of the interview and be sure to follow up with a handwritten card very soon thereafter.


  • You cannot leave the interview without closing. If you are afraid to ask for the job or for the next steps, you will likely not ask for the business. Interviewees that do not close do not get second chances.

The “Don’ts” of a Medical Sales Interview:

1.    DON’T ask the hiring manager too many questions prior to the interview. 

  • Be resourceful and prepare for the interview independently.

2.    DON’T display hesitancy in any way.  

  • Your job during the interview is to sell yourself to the employer. It is not the time to determine if the job (should you get it) is right for you.

3.    DON’T allow the interview to become an “Ask and Answer” session.

  • You should use the interview opportunity to discuss your qualifications, your fit for the organization and how you will contribute to the team. Think “Show and Tell” instead.

4.    DON’T get discouraged.

  • A hiring manager might test you to see how you handle rejection and/or criticism. Be cool and confident, even if you feel the interview is not going well.

5.    DON’T be too casual.   

  • A hiring manager may be dressed in scrubs and give you the indication that it is a comfortable, casual environment. Don’t be fooled. You are a professional medical sales representative. Be sure that you present like one.