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Pharma / Interview Advice

Star’s get-the-job checklist to help you secure the job you want.


Or, talk this through with a Consultant

Call 0161 914 7660 for opportunities in the North, 01628 581 240 for opportunities in the South and 01225 336 335 if you’re interested in contract opportunities.

Appear positive and confident

  • Make eye contact with your interviewer
  • Mirror your interviewer’s style – if their style is formal, adopt a formal approach. You can relax a little if your interviewer’s style is informal, but always maintain professionalism
  • Always dress in professional, smart clothing


Know your stuff

  • Research the company (interviewers want to know that you’re enthusiastic about their role, not just any new role), their competitors and your interviewer – LinkedIn can be a useful tool here in helping you understand your interviewer’s background and interview style, you may even find some common ground to draw on; prepare some thoughts beforehand around what you think differentiates the client from their competition
  • Make sure you know your CV very well
  • The STAR framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a useful model for describing your capability in competency based interviews. Make sure you prepare in depth answers; lack of depth is a common reason for failure at interview
  • Interviewers want to see that you have the social intelligence and empathy to listen to and collaborate with colleagues across functions but don’t neglect examples of accountability. Your interviewer will want to understand what you were responsible for and what you achieved, even from within the team setting
  • Be prepared to explain why you left your previous positions
  • If needed, prepare a brag file that’s ordered sensibly and up to date. Make sure it prioritises your current achievements; focusing too heavily on past success may suggest an inconsistent sales performance
  • Focus on examples of your work that show your willingness to go above and beyond
  • Be prepared to describe your career ambitions and make sure that you pitch them at the appropriate level; you don’t want your interviewer to think that their company is too small or established to accommodate your plans
  • Approach your second interview as a completely separate interview; continue to do your research between interviews and prepare different examples
  • Make sure that you understand what’s expected of you at assessment centre/final interview; will you need to present or participate in role play or group exercises? If you have to present, make sure that you put the appropriate effort into your work; it’s an excellent opportunity to showcase your skills and demonstrate your willingness to go the extra mile

Finishing touches

  • Always ask questions at the end of the interview; it gives you the opportunity to show that you’ve given serious thought to the role and organisation


To avoid at all costs…

  • Swearing, inappropriate language or flippant remarks
  • A confrontational approach
  • Never be late. If there really are travel problems outside of your control, let your interviewer know as soon as possible
  • Never blag
  • Don’t be negative about a current or previous employer; employers want positive, adaptable people

How to deliver a great presentation

The key to making an impact is preparation. Stick to the brief and the timelines and make it specific to the role you’re applying for – generic presentations are a no-no. And once you’ve done all that, practise, practise and practise some more.

  • Before working on content, determine your audience’s level of knowledge. It’s important not to bore or patronise your listeners with information they already know, but conversely, don’t overestimate their level of understanding either. If you’re not sure, you may like to begin by explaining what assumptions you’ve made about your audience’s understanding and how you’ve structured the presentation
  • Don’t try to do too much. Keep your interview presentation visually succinct. Keep text to a minimum, highlighting your fundamental points only; reading aloud from a text heavy presentation is dull and uninspiring for your listener. You should use your slide to capture the main points of a particular argument, and talk around those points instead; your listeners will find this approach much more engaging.
  • Incorporate some meaningful examples and/or case studies to support your key points. Case studies should add weight to your argument. Only include information that’s accurate, and supportable if questioned.
  • Ensure that your presentation is visually accessible, using a large, clear font and unobtrusive graphics, and avoid gimmicky and distracting PowerPoint features.
  • Practise makes perfect – leave notes where you need to, and practise your presentation as if you were delivering it for your audience, and time it. If you’re concerned about overrunning, work out beforehand what slides you may be able to skip over during the presentation if time is tight. You should practically know your presentation inside out if you’ve prepared adequately.
  • Whilst running through, attempt to put yourself in the mind of your audience; if you can, anticipate any questions that may crop up and prepare answers beforehand, or where necessary, resolve any pre-empted questions in your information.
  • A good conclusion will summarise the main points that you want your audience to take away. Any prominent, key ideas/selling points should be clearly and concisely reiterated at the end of the presentation.

Delivering your interview presentation

Prepare the experience for your audience if you’re given the opportunity; arrange the tables and chairs so that they’ll be able to view the presentation clearly and comfortably.

If you’re using your own laptop, ensure that you use your power cord to avoid awkward and unprecedented intermissions, and turn off your screen saver and your emails.Remember to introduce yourself properly.

Body language speaks volumes! If you’re able to easily and naturally move about the room don’t be afraid to do so; if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you could remain seated, keeping your body language as open as possible, but be aware that one of our clients’ biggest gripes is people who deliver presentations sitting down. If you want to make an impact, stand up.  When presenting, remember to use your hands as a form of expression; your audience will enjoy it much more if they feel you’re energised and enthusiastic about your subject.

Speak steadily and clearly, especially at the beginning of your presentation, to calm any pesky nerves.

If you’ve compiled a leave piece, whether as a paper handout or on a USB stick, remember to distribute it at the end of the presentation. Circulating accompanying information beforehand may distract your listeners during the presentation.

If you’ve kept your presentation points succinct and talked around your subject, you’ll find it easy to make eye contact with your audience as you speak; it’ll help you engage with what you’re saying.

Ensure that you’re smartly, yet comfortably dressed and take water with you; talking at length can play havoc with your voice. If you’re suffering from any topical conditions, such as a cold, ensure you take provisions for this to avoid being distracted by minor irritations.

Assessment centres

A healthcare assessment centre will typically involve a presentation, a role-play, a competency-based interview, and sometimes a group discussion. To prepare, make sure that you send your presentation to your recruiter ahead of time for a second opinion. Arrive in plenty of time, or if it’s an early start and a long way to travel, consider staying over nearby the night before. Bear in mind that you’re always being assessed, so remember to be proactive and polite throughout the day. Assessment usually takes a Circumstance – Action – Result format; you can talk this through with your recruiter ahead of time if you’d like some extra practise. You should structure your calls before you go in and set yourself some pre-call objectives, making sure that you’re making the best possible impression in the time you’re given.

Psychometric testing

Psychometric testing is common in the healthcare industry; we’ll help prepare you for this ahead of time, but here’s a brief overview.

Several different types of tests are used, but they’re all designed to look at the person that sits behind the competencies. They’re usually multiple-choice questions that are designed to measure your thinking and reasoning capabilities, particularly your analytical and reasoning ability. They’re taken under timed exam conditions and often include a numerical and verbal reasoning test.

There’s not a great deal you can do to prepare for these tests; they’re designed to ask the same question in a variety of ways and so you’ll be caught out if you say what you think your assessor wants to hear; put your business head on and answer as honestly as you can.

Personality profiling

Personality profiling is common in healthcare interviews; it usually happens at second stage. They’re designed to assess your characteristics, indicate how you’re likely to react to different scenarios, and suggest whether or not you’ll be a good company fit. They’re not timed and there are no right or wrong answers. The key is to answer honestly; the tests are specifically designed to catch out inconsistencies and will often ask the same question in a variety of ways.

Create your future 

Send us your CV using the ‘Submit your CV’ function above or call 0161 914 7660 for opportunities in the North, 01628 581 240 for opportunities in the South and 01225 336 335 if you’re interested in contract opportunities.