Top 15 Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions

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The ongoing success of our 25 Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions blog prompted Pharmaceutical Sales Executive Recruiter, Nancy Ragonese, to add to that content even more useful information for those interviewing, or maybe even for those doing the interviewing. Nancy still strongly advocates utilizing the STAR technique to prepare for your interview, but she hones in on 15 pharmaceutical sales interview questions you must be prepared to answer and answer well!

Refresher on the STAR technique: Situation, Task Action, Result

  • Situation
    Describe the situation you were in or the task that you needed to accomplish. Be very specific. Don’t generalize.
  • Task
    What goal were you working toward and what was your role in that effort?
  • Action
    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.
  • Result
    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 the STAR format for pharmaceutical sales interview questions that are behavioral, like those below, start with the job description of the position you are interviewing for. For each skill mentioned in the job description develop an answer from your previous experiences using the STAR technique. Then 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 sales rep through what you learned. Don’t be shy of taking credit but make the stories concise and interesting.

Here are the 15 sample behavioral pharmaceutical sales interview questions that Executive Recruiter Nancy Ragonese says you should focus on:


  1. Tell me about a time you heard no over and over again even though your felt you had rapport with the physician. What did you do?
  2. Describe a situation when you had to change your communication style to make a connection?
  3. How competitive are you on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least and 10 being the most) and why?
  4. Give an example of when you disagreed with your supervisor and how you handled it?
  5. What is your typical day like?
  6. What is the most irritating part of your day?
  7. Marketing provides resources to help you promote your product. Which tool is the most important in helping you reinforce your message to the doctor?
  8. How do you use your computer/iPad on a sales call?
  9. Tell me when you made a mistake on a sales call.
  10. Make a product presentation to me.
  11. How do you handle the situation when a doctor cancels at the last second before a lunch and learn?
  12. What is in your pharmaceutical sales brag book? When did you last update it?
  13. What is a recent goal you set for yourself and how did you achieve it?
  14. When have you set your sights too high? Or too low?
  15. Describe a time when you failed to win over a prospect. What could you have done differently?


Best of luck in job search, and if you want some help finding your dream job, contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Pharmaceutical Sales Executive Recruiter, Nancy Victoria Ragonese at nragonese@smithhanley.com or 203.319-4315.

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