Information For Candidates
At Phoenix we do not work to a “formula”. If we did this we would only alienate both candidate and client and would simply never last.
So let’s begin by saying what we won’t do.
- We will not lure you in with out of date or mythical jobs just to get hold of your CV.
- If you tell us what area you want to work in, we will not subsequently pester you with “fantastic opportunities” hundreds of miles away – unless of course you tell us you want to be mobile, or relocate (!)
- We do not demand you come to ‘non-specific’ screening interviews.
- We do not give you ‘half the picture’ – vague background company information, limited details of the package on offer and half-baked directions to “some hotel in the Midlands”.
- We do not, post-interview leave you hanging around wondering. As,soon as we find out – you do!
Getting the right pharmaceutical job means getting in front of the right company and this can only be done by having the right CV.
Forget what you have heard about putting your CV on yellow or pink paper, or telling all of your greatness yet neglecting to put your contact details in. The old maxim of keeping it simple is particularly apt here, So, here’s what you need to put in.
- Personal Details: These include full name, address, phone numbers, e-mail address, date of birth nationality, and driving licence status.
- Education: A brief, accurate summary of your qualifications is all that is required here. Try to be ‘sensible’ with grade information here, it is obviously more important to detail your degree grade than that of your GCSE woodwork!
- Work Experience: This again needs to be kept succinct. Name the employer, the dates which you worked for them, your job title and briefly describe your role.
This somewhat stark information is then enlivened by detailing in a sub-section underneath your achievements in this role – remember it`s not just sales increases you might want to show but also any project based work or mentoring you may have done to reflect a broader range of skills.
Be prepared to ‘tweak’ your CV. They are not permanently written in stone and can be tailored accordingly dependant on the position in question.
- Other Skills: This is the place to highlight your being conversant in other languages, be they foreign or computer, any areas of responsibility you may feel to be relevant and also a short description of your own interests.
- References: Available on request.
That`s it! Make sure your referees know when and where you are looking.
Do’s and Dont’s
Do keep it simple as in, two pages maximium.
Do use clear headings and clear print.
Do check your CV for errors, either spelling or factual
Do seek, and act on, advice – it is in both yours and our interests to promote you as effectively as possible.
Don’t leave any gaps unexplained – prospective employers will ask, or worse reject you immediately.
Don’t project a false superhuman image being true to yourself will see the right job being found far more quickly.
Don’t give up – persist, the pharmaceutical industry is a difficult one to get in but provides a true career path once you are in.
This is something of a lost art as reliance on electronic transfer of information grows however, a well laid out letter including personal details, vacancy source and your availability will allow you to personalise your application in a way not possible with the more formatted CV.
Try to tailor the letter to the specifics of the job advert/specification ie if the latter is heavily focused on selling then emphasise your skills in just such a manner.
This enables the time -pressed company to process your application that much more efficiently, to your mutual benefit.
Lastly, don`t forget the Golden Rule, that is, like the CV – KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Despite appearances to the contrary interviews really are win-win situations. Simply if you interview better than anyone else you get the job, if you don`t then what you have gained is invaluable experience to put to good use the next time round.
It is also worth remembering that the interviewer[s] are not there to upset or persecute you they have a vacancy that needs to be filled so as to get the optimum from the territory and are therefore actively interested in getting the best out of you to achieve the desired result for both parties.
So to reach this goal we have to employ the old adage – Be prepared!
To achieve this you have to be aware of what the interviewer is looking for which reflects not only your current ability to fill the position but your potential as well in ultimately becoming their top performer.These include:
- Persistence – in all aspects of the job.
- Organisation – plan your work and work your plan.
- Customer service – adding value to the customer and their business.
- Persuasion/communication – showing an ability to influence others.
- Teamwork – able to both influence and learn from your team.
All the above can be termed competencies and the best way of showing your abilities therein is by giving examples of each. Easily said but more difficult to do, therefore have evidence such as sales figures, letters of congratulations and/or certificates of excellence to back these up.
Interviews vary considerably from structured to freeform however, there are certain questions that can be anticipated and will generally fall into two categories:
Evidence based – “Could you give me an example of when you have demonstrated…”
Or Hypothetical – “If this circumstance arose, how would you respond…”
Of the two the former is more likely to be asked as it elicits more realistic answers so try to imagine evidence based questions based on the competencies above as this will not only help you be prepared but give you the chance of a `dry-run` interview with yourself as you work through each potential question and answer.
Assessments centres are usually held at a company’s head office or in a hotel, typically last between half a day and two days and have anywhere between 2 and 8 candidates attending.
Attendees are not necessarily there for the same role, for example there may be 3 roles on offer with 2 possible candidates for each.
Assessment centres allow participants to show their skills rather than, as at interview stage, just talk about them.
There are 3 main elements to assessment centres – firstly it is a social event, a chance to meet managers and to demonstrate the ability to interact positively; secondly it is a chance for the candidate and company to find out more about one another; lastly, candidates are given the opportunities to prove their skills and attributes through a series of tests and exercises.
Typically an assessment centre will include a combination of the following activities:
- Psychometric/Aptitude test
- Personality Profiling
- Group Exercise
To prepare for an assessment centre in pharmaceutical sales or any other pharmaceutical job, make sure you have thoroughly researched the company and products. Ensure that you know where you are going, how you are going to get there and by when.
Book the day off work, you don’t want a surprise field visit from your manager to prevent you from attending!
Dress smartly and conservatively and wear a watch as some exercises may be timed.
Most importantly, remember that you are potentially being assessed at all times so don’t arrive complaining about poor directions, don’t criticise the event over lunch to another attendee and if there is an evening meal, don’t drink too much!
Lastly some fundamentals
- Prepare – as mentioned above and above all, particularly if there is a presentation involved – practice!
- Find out as much as possible about the company, product and role from contacting the company for literature,the internet and if possible, current staff.
- Arrive in good time looking both smart and positive. Enthuse and speak positively but don`t come across in too sycophantic a manner as this could be off-putting to the interviewer.
- Prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview – what does the company want from me? What size is the territory team and who will I be working with? How would I be evaluated?a
- And, of course…CLOSE ! Ask the question along the lines of `Is their anything I have said or done today that would prevent me from moving onto the next stage/filling the position? Don`t be afraid to ask – this is an interview for a SELLING job so show them what you can do!
- Never assume everything!
- Don`t waffle or blag – the interviewers will be experienced and able to see all the angles. Remember, you don`t know it all so never be arrogant yet be aware of going too much the other way and being too friendly or over familiar.
- Don’t Talk about the package too soon – if you’re on top of the discussion you will know when and what to say