The Top Eight Interview Questions To Ask Medical Device Sales Candidates (Before Making An Offer)

Sales positions are generally considered to be some of the most challenging jobs to fill in any industry. According to CSO studies, the average annual turnover rate for sales representatives stands at around 25%-30%. Each lost employee represents $75,000 to a staggering $1,000,000 in replacement costs and foregone conversions. In addition to this, few Universities offer any formal qualifications in sales, and the scale of the challenge facing internal and external recruiters is clear.

These issues are further exasperated in highly technical industries such as medical sales. In between prospecting and product pitches, medical sales representatives have to stay on top of emerging developments in medical research while also keeping an eye on continually changing healthcare regulations. Even if your representatives meet these objectives, they will still need to find ways to differentiate themselves to maintain their edge in this highly competitive field.

With these challenges in mind, it is vitally important to identify medical sales candidates who have the necessary skills and characteristics and drive to deliver in their roles as high performers in this highly competitive market. While resumes and phone conversations will help identify potential candidates’ skills and experience, formal interviews are still the best place to screen for the Top Talent candidates. Here are some key interview questions that can help you identify the ability, skills, attitudes and behaviours potential top-tier talent will embrace and have already adopted as their norm.

1.Why Are You Interested In The Medical Device Industry? 

The answer to this question will help you determine the candidate’s career objectives and what they have done to verify and research a career as a Medical Device Representative. These replies provide insights into whether the candidate sees your company as a stopgap option or a long-term opportunity. Individuals new or experienced in the Medical Device industry need to show they have done their “homework” into your organization and the industry. Have they job shadowed a current Device Representative or spoke to anyone in your organization or industry? Candidates that take additional steps to research the role, company and medical sector demonstrate their self-motivation, drive, initiative and genuine interest in your Organization and the Medical Device Industry

2. How Would You Research A Medical Product? 

The medical sales industry is highly knowledge-intensive. Healthcare professionals are likely to ask plenty of detailed questions, and they will be immediately discouraged by ill-informed or simply incorrect answers. Therefore, even if the candidate has no prior knowledge of medical devices, they must still have the ability and desire to update their knowledge continuously to sell to these prospects effectively.

3.What Are Your Thoughts Of Being Away 20% Of The Time Overnight? 

Constant travel is an expected part of any sales job, and the medical device industry is no different. Surveys show that the average medical sales rep can spend up to 20% of their time on overnight travel alone. Any candidate that lacks the physical capability or mental fortitude to deal with these requirements is probably not suited to the position. On the other hand, your ideal candidate should be excited by the independence and flexibility provided by the role.

4. Are You Adept At Multitasking? Please Provide Examples.

We’ve already mentioned the assortment of duties that go alongside a medical device sales position. Still, it bears repeating that these individuals have to be proficient in a variety of roles. Daily, a sales rep can find themselves doing multiple tasks such as;

  • preparing detailed presentations for C-suite hospital administrators
  • presenting to Group purchasing organizations
  • networking at healthcare conferences
  • attending training sessions
  • work alongside surgeons providing in-servicing and product support
  • sitting in the office answering emails and setting appointments

If the candidate cannot split their focus effectively, they will find it impossible to deal with all of these tasks.

5. What Is Your Sales Experience? 

While previous sales experience isn’t necessarily an indicator of competency, it is undoubtedly a positive in a competitive industry. If the candidate answers in the affirmative, then you have a variety of areas to explore. You can ask the interviewee about the growth they achieved in their last position, the targets they hit on an annual basis, any awards they earned in recognition of their efforts, as well as their most impressive or challenging clients during this period. It may be beneficial to ask the interviewee to sell you their current product or put together a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate their presentation skills, strategic skills and sales ability. It is essential to verify the candidate’s number of years and sales experience during the interview process. 

6. Pretend I’m A Potential Customer. How Would You Sell Your Current Company’s Offerings To Me? 

The power of selling on the spot is crucial in the sales industry, especially in the medical sales world. A sales representative may be given limited time with a physician or internal buyer with little time to spare. On the other hand, a seasoned professional can pitch their current product to you without hesitation. 

7. Sell Me This Pen. 

This is a classic scenario-based question that will help you to assess intangible qualities such as selling technique, body language, confidence, and persuasiveness in a high-pressure situation. This simple exercise can reveal far more than hundreds of sales-adjacent queries. A more appropriate way to pitch this question would be to describe a medical device-specific sales scenario and then ask the interviewee to offer their input.

8. How Would You Go About Developing Your Market In The Territory We Have Discussed?

This question will help you determine the candidate’s strategic planning and organizational skills. Both of these competencies are critical for any successful medical sales representative. Among other things, the candidate should describe how they will plan sales calls, how they will schedule in-person meetings, which clients/areas they will target and how, and the type of sales cycle they plan to follow.

Identifying individuals with high potential and the skills to succeed in the competitive Medical Device Industry can challenge recruiters and hiring managers if clearly defined skills, attributes and behaviours are outlined.

In a recent study 60% CEO’s. believe they didn’t have the talent to compete effectively and don’t believe their internal HR partners have the right resources and skills to recruit Top Talent for their organizations. When selecting external Recruitment partners, ensure they have access to Top Talent in the Medical Device Industry and the internal team members with skills and resources to recruit to your unique organizational needs.

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