25 Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions

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Of course you know to prepare answers to the most common interview questions. Queries like, What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? Why do you want to work for our company? Why do you want to leave your current company? Why is there a gap in your employment? And, What can you bring to this role? This is interview preparation 101.

But how do you prepare specifically for pharmaceutical sales interview questions? These questions tend to be more behavioral in focus. They want to know how you have handled certain work situations in the past. They want to know if you have the skills and experiences required for a sales job. The most recommended method to prepare for these questions is the STAR technique: Situation, Task, Action, Result.


Describe the situation you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Be very specific. Don’t generalize.


What goal were you working toward and what was your role in that effort?


How did you complete the task or meet the challenge? Use an appropriate amount of detail and keep the focus on what YOU did. Use “I” and not “we” when describing actions taken.


Describe the outcomes of the actions taken. Take credit for your accomplishments or for what you learned. Multiple positive results is the goal.


To prepare answers in this format for behavioral questions start with the job description of the position you are interviewing for. For each skill required for the job develop an answer using the STAR technique from your previous experiences. Prepare a STAR response for each position from your work history. Try to focus on “stories” that highlight your accomplishments or how you became a better rep through what you learned. Don’t be shy of taking credit but make the stories concise and interesting.

Here are 25 sample behavioral interview questions to help you prepare. Good luck!


  1. Tell me about the time you had to sell a product to someone who didn’t know you.
  2. Tell me about a time you heard no over and over again even though your felt you had rapport with the lead. What did you do?
  3. How competitive are you on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least and 10 being the most) and why?
  4. Are you a lucky person?
  5. Give an example of when you disagreed with your supervisor and how you handled it?
  6. What have you done to increase your margins?
  7. What is your typical day like?
  8. What is the most irritating part of your day?
  9. Marketing provides resources to help you promote your product. Which tool is the most important in helping you reinforce your message to the doctor?
  10. How do you use your computer/iPad on a sales call?
  11. Tell me when you made a mistake on a sales call.
  12. Make a product presentation to me.
  13. What ethical dilemma have you experienced?
  14. How do you handle the situation when a doctor cancels at the last second before a lunch and learn?
  15. What is in your pharmaceutical sales brag book? When did you last update it?
  16. Tell me about a time you had to complete a task under a tight deadline.
  17. When have you gone above and beyond the call of duty?
  18. What is an example of you taking the initiative?
  19. What is a recent goal you set for yourself and how did you achieve it?
  20. What is an example of your conforming to a policy you didn’t agree with?
  21. What is an example of your using fact-finding skills to solve a problem?
  22. When have you set your sights too high? Or too low?
  23. Describe a situation when you had to deal with a very upset customer.
  24. Describe a time when you failed to win over a prospect. What could you have done differently?
  25. Describe a situation when you had to change your communication style to make a connection?


Interested in talking more about your pharmaceutical sales career? Contact Nancy Ragonese, Smith Hanley Associates Pharmaceutical Sales Practice Lead, at nragonese@smithhanley.com or 203.319-4315.



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