The key to successful interviewing is preparation. This preparation includes performing thorough research on the company that you will be interviewing with. Too often MSL candidates seek to limit the research stage and as a result appear disinterested and uninformed during the interview process. Insufficient preparation can seriously jeopardize your chances of moving forward in the interview process and ultimately obtaining a job offer.
Areas of Research
Many hiring managers and other interviewers will disqualify those candidates who don’t seem to have in-depth knowledge of the company and its products especially those that the MSL will be working with. Your research should include:
- What products the company manufactures or if it is big company its blockbusters?
- What is the history, mission, and goals?
- What is the company’s primary Therapeutic Area or Disease State focus? Who are its primary customers?
- Is the company a National company or does it maintain a global presence in its specific market or the Pharmaceutical Industry?
- How large is the company in terms of the number of employees and revenue generated?
- How is it positioned in the industry so that it differentiates itself from its primary competitors?
- Who is the leadership team composed of? What are their backgrounds?
- How does the company carry out corporate responsibility in terms of social and environmental issues?
- Find out if the company is on the Fortune 500 list and where it is positioned? Find out how it was positioned in the prior year and ask why the change?
- Thoroughly researching a company will prepare you to be able to confidently and accurately respond to questions regarding these topics. There is a wide range of research tools that MSL Candidates can utilize to research a pharmaceutical/biotech/medical device company.
Tools for Research
- The company’s website for its history, mission, marketed products, research pipeline, organizational structure, and staff bios.
- Read any press releases as they will highlight current news, such as new product offerings or staff changes.
- Review industry-based publications not only to obtain information regarding your target company specifically but to obtain the latest news related to industry trends and issues.
- Use Google alerts to stay current with regard to company news.
- Use social media to keep current on company and industry news. Follow key decision-makers on Twitter and search for their profile on LinkedIn. Use Linked In groups to establish a presence and build rapport with company and industry insider.
Online directories such as Bloomberg and Standard & Poor’s also provide financial and market data on many types of businesses.
Discuss the Research
At some point during almost every interview, you will be asked to describe how well you fit into the company culture and values, along with what you know about the company beyond the information contained on the company website. If you have performed sufficient research, this will give you an opportunity to potentially stand out from other less prepared candidates by allowing you discuss and share relevant responses to these questions. Taking the time to show interest in potential employers will likely result in their showing interest in you as well.
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