Pharmaceutical Sales
Interview Questions

Answering pharmaceutical sales interview questions fluently and with confidence is key to success in getting the pharmaceutical representative job you want. Effective communication skills and enthusiasm are essential in a pharmaceutical sales or medical sales job.

Doctor with pharmaceutical sales rep and box of medicine

Preparing good answers to frequently asked pharmaceutical sales rep interview questions will set you up as a winning candidate who any company would want on their sales team.

7 Key Pharmaceutical Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Common interview questions for this type of sales job include the following:

1. What do you consider to be the most important requirements for this job?

Expect interview questions that explore your knowledge and understanding of this specific job opportunity. Do your homework on the company and the position to make sure you can answer this question properly.

  • You need to have a clear picture of what this job involves and what is expected from the person who does it.
  • The more you can relate what you are currently doing to these job requirements the more suitable you will appear.
  • Get as much detail as possible on the employment opportunity, the company and its products and parallel your experience to this. The company website is a good place to start.

2. What do you consider the most challenging aspect of a pharmaceutical sales job?

Be candid about what you have found to be the most difficult aspect of pharmaceutical sales and then clearly describe how you have successfully managed this challenge.

  • A common difficulty is getting enough time with health care professionals to properly discuss your products.
  • Detail how you have used your initiative and problem-solving skills to effectively deal with this and get sufficient access to the customer.

3. How do you research a product?

This question is exploring your ability and motivation to be fully informed about your products.

  • Keeping current with product data is essential to the job.
  • Detail the resources you use to stay current and informed.

Technical knowledge is important in pharmaceutical sales so make sure you know about the products you'll be selling before your interview. You can research the company's website and check online reviews of the products. Displaying a good understanding of the company's products is a sure way to impress in your interview.

Behavioral pharmaceutical sales interview questions

There are specific core competencies identified for success in pharmaceutical or medical sales. Expect behavioral questions that explore these competencies or behaviors.

Use the behavioral interview guide to familiarize yourself with this type of interview before preparing specific answers to these questions.

1. Give me an example of when you managed to get a physician to switch to your product.

Expect questions that investigate your sales ability and persuasiveness. Highlight:

  • how you found out what influenced the physician's choice of products
  • how you used a combination of appropriate tools to convince him or her to change to your product
  • how you used your persuasive skills, your knowledge and understanding of the product and of the physician's needs to change the perception of a product

2. How have you planned your call schedule for your current territory?

You need to be able to plan and organize your activities to meet specific goals. This comes down to the old 80/20 rule. Highlight:

  • how you have set priorities based on the best return on your time investment by spending time on customers with the greatest sales potential.
  • how you were able to establish that 20 percent of customers as quickly as possible and how once you had successfully established that 20 percent you moved onto developing new customers

3. Tell me about a time you lost the business. How did you handle the situation?

This question is about your ability to learn from a situation and move constructively on after a set back. These pharmaceutical sales interview questions look at your ability:

  • to handle stress
  • your tenacity
  • your emotional resilience in the face of opposition and challenge

Include other examples of your persistence and determination in finding solutions to difficult challenges.

4. Tell me about a situation where you had to adjust your approach to meet new circumstances.

This job requires interaction with a wide range of people. Your ability to adjust your approach to the situation and individual is key to success.

Focus on the different approaches you take to meet changing demands and needs. Highlight your adaptability.

Sample behavioral interview questions and answers that explore the competencies of problem-solving, initiative and judgment.

Prepare for interview questions that explore your motivation for the pharmaceutical sales job.

Why are you interested in pharmaceutical sales?

This interview question is most often asked so be well prepared for it. Common reasons for people choosing this career include:

  • a passion for sales and an enthusiasm for science or medicine 
  • the opportunity to use your resourcefulness, energy and knowledge to persuade clients to buy your products
  • the daily challenges and the dynamic nature of the industry provide excellent opportunities for professional and personal growth
  • the opportunity to interact and develop relationships in a very professional environment
  • the direct link between hard work, goal achievement and reward

You need a good understanding of the pharmaceutical sales role to answer this question. Use the Pharmaceutical Sales Job Description  to help you with this.

Essential interview questions

Prepare for common pharmaceutical sales interview questions

Be ready for standard job interview questions.


Why should we hire you?


Can you tell me about yourself?


Why do you want to work here?


Your strengths and weaknesses?


What are your future goals ?


Your greatest achievement?

Prepare for these general pharmaceutical sales interview questions with sample answers.

All sales interview questions.

Sales job applications

Sales Resume

Sales Cover Letter

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