Common pharma interview mistakes to avoid
  • Posted on: 18/12/2019
  • Category: Hints + Tips

Common pharma interview mistakes to avoid

Interviews are usually quite intimidating situations, especially when you put increasing amounts of pressure on yourself to perform well. Whether the pressure is internal or external, it’s best to avoid some common interview mistakes that usually result from the nervous energy!

In that vein, we’ve compiled a list of some of the common errors that candidates could make, and our suggestions on how to avoid them.

1.     Not being prepared for an interview and/or assessment

Whether it’s the first stage or final, it’s so important to do your research and prepare yourself for what might be asked of you (role play, competency questions, etc). Basic information such as researching the company, the role, and who your competitors are will help you go a long way.

2.     Not practicing for roles plays

Candidates assume that as these resemble their day-to-day, role plays will be relatively simple, but this is not the case.

Role plays at an assessment are an artificial scenario, and when you are put into the mock sales call the pressure of making sure all the relevant questions are asked and targets are met in an assessed environment can tend to throw you off.

The best thing to do is go back to basics, which means you want to tick all the boxes on a sales model.

3.     Not asking enough open questions in a role play scenario

The key to making a good sales call is to ask open questions, which will give your customer an opportunity to tell you what they want out of the call. This in turn can then help you when it comes to informatively discussing what you can provide to them.

4.     Not preparing competencies for a CBI (Competency-Based Interview)

Competency questions are a toughie! While they are about your skills and ability to do the job, these need to be incredibly structured and concise (the STAR format is the best guide: Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Having prepared competencies allows you to go into an interview feeling confident that you have answered the questions with all the relevant information.

5.     Despite having years of experience, this doesn’t guarantee a candidate the role they are interviewing for

There is something to be said for a candidate who can confidently display their abilities and skills in an interview. That being said, every opportunity and company is different, so the best thing to do is go into an interview with an open mind.

6.     When a candidate is asked in an interview “Why they left their last job?” and they discuss negative sentiments they hold for their previous company/manager

While it’s always stressed that a candidate should be honest in an interview about their situation, we strongly recommend pulling on the positive experiences and feelings of previous roles rather than focussing on the negative.

 7.     Being too relaxed in an assessment setting

Always remember that you are at an interview and that even though the situation appears relaxed or conversational, you are still being assessed. This is especially important when you are at an assessment centre and you are interacting with and being compared against other candidates on the day.


8.     Arriving late for an interview and/or assessment

No one likes being late for an interview, especially as it makes you more uneasy when you do arrive. It’s best to ensure that you give yourself enough time to get to the venue and that you arrive in good time to ensure you are settled before everything begins.

All-in-all, most of these situations are easily avoided with a little bit of pre-planning. Here at Star we place the highest value in preparing you for any situation, and ensure that we understand the needs of our clients and candidates.