Interview with a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep-2

in Careers in Medicine, Jobs involving Commission Pay, Salaried Jobs, Sales Jobs

What do you do for a living?

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

How would you describe what you do?

I manage a territory of NW Arkansas that consists of approx. 250 physicians. I am in charge of calling on a list of physicians, created by myself, my partners, and my company, and selling the doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants the efficacy, safety, dosing, and clinical data of two products in which I have responsibilities for: basically bringing educational value to the office and physicians.

I have had patients in the waiting room thank me for what I do or tell me a success story of how my product changed their life. I enjoy the health field and I feel like I am making a difference each day in someone’s life.

I am also responsible for calling on pharmacy’s in my territory to keep up to date on my products and my competition. I am responsible for my “business” and must manage a monthly budget, travel and expense reports, appointments with clients, dinner programs, email, voicemail, and overall coordination with my teammates.

What does your work entail?

As a rep, I am required to make 8-10 calls on physicians a day, 2 pharmacy calls per day, and recording what happens during each call in my computer. I speak with the doctors through walk ins, appointments, lunch and learns, or dinner programs arranged through my company. I travel to each city within my territory and plan out my week based on my partners and the schedules of the physicians or existing appointments. Some days are full of waiting and a feeling of not accomplishing a lot, other days are really good and making good long calls with physicians and feeling like you had educated a physician on your product, and sometimes you are rejected by offices, but you have to keep going and keep up your motivation to do your job.

What do you like about what you do?

I enjoy going into different environments, making relationships with many different people in different offices, helping provide important information and samples for patients that may not be able to afford prescription medicines. I have had patients in the waiting room thank me for what I do or tell me a success story of how my product changed their life. I enjoy the health field and I feel like I am making a difference each day in someone’s life. I enjoy not being at a desk all day, constantly moving around, the flexibility of my job is a great perk. I have great benefits provided by my company, a company car without the expense of gas or car insurance, and quarterly bonuses based on how my products are performing in the market.

What do you dislike?

I am constantly in and out of my car going to different offices and that can become cumbersome in the HEAT, RAIN, or SNOW. Traveling to meetings for a week or special trainings are usually not something I look forward too either.

What skills and education would someone need to become a pharmaceutical sales rep?

Potential candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Some companies would like to see experience in outside sales. Someone who is very organized, responsible, and motivated. You manage your own territory and have a district manager who will come down and ride with you for two days about every 4-6 weeks.

Some days are full of waiting and a feeling of not accomplishing a lot, other days are really good and making good long calls with physicians and feeling like you had educated a physician on your product, and sometimes you are rejected by offices, but you have to keep going and keep up your motivation to do your job.

Your driving record is also of importance so it should be clear of all accidents or speeding tickets. The company does run a full background check, credit check (because you will have a company AMEX), and degree check of possible candidates.

How do you make money?

We are paid a base salary based on our years of Sales experience or Pharmaceutical experience, we have an annual review of our performance in which we are given a merit increase based on our rating, and finally we are paid 4 bonuses throughout the year based on our product’s performance in market share and volume growth. There is a lot of opportunity for advancement in this industry and each company will be competitive with the next in pay.

How much money do you make?

I currently make a base salary of $57,000 per year with bonuses around $17,000 per year.

How much time off do you get?

We are given four weeks of vacation, one week between Christmas and New Year’s is company provided, and all of the major holidays, we also receive 5 personal days to use throughout the year. Basically , whatever a doctor’s office would close for, then we have that day off as well.

What is most challenging about what you do?

I feel like trying to get in front of some doctors to have a conversation can be challenging and frustrating, having a doctor tell you what you want to hear instead of what they really think, managing the territory and making up for lost time if you were to be off on vacation or if a doctor is off on vacation.

What is most rewarding?

Having a doctor tell you a success story about how your product helped a patient, having a patient thank you for doing what you do, getting a nice bonus check!

What is the biggest misconception people have about what you do?

People think that Pharmaceutical reps are just like “UPS” drivers in the sense that we deliver samples and get a doctor’s signature, a signature collector, female reps just flirt with doctor’s all day, we are just caterer’s for offices, etc….

What advice would you offer someone considering this career/job?

Ride with someone who is currently a representative and see if it is what you could see yourself doing in the future. Getting someone who is already a representative to pass along your resume is a huge help. A lot of it is internal recommendation and it is a lot of who you know sometimes.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

I just want a career that works for my lifestyle, that continues to make me happy, and something in which I have room for advancement and will always be needed!

Is there anything else you would like people to know about what you do?

Some people either have it or they don’t when it comes to selling skills and relationship building. It is important to remember this job is about the patients, not yourself, not competition bashing, helping to educate the doctor and his staff and ultimately help the patients! This is a great job to have for any walk of life, family, part time or full time. I really enjoy my career and do not foresee any changes in the future.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

satish mishra March 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

Hi ,
I have done chemistry)
Presently I am doing the job of medical representative,
but some time I gets very depressed that this job is not suitable
for me but sometimes I think that I will be promoted for another
responsibilities ….
Please please suggest me that what we have to do….

Thanks &Regards,
Satish mishra


satish mishra March 8, 2014 at 11:20 am

Hi, I want to share my opinion in the view of medical representative job, the heavy weight of bag is very hectic all over the day.
During the job time I think that I have to do another
job because due to lots of pharmaceutical there is only thing that sell sell
No more thing is left for doing the job…
Satish mishra


Craig October 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

I have been looking into this career change for some time now. I am constantly reading articles and stories on the internet to learn as much as possible about this field.
I have recently put my resume out there and have received some good feed back- I feel I have good qualifications for these positions.
BUT- do to a family owned business that we owned for 12 years until the recent economic melt down- we were forced to close the company and declare B.K. which in turn forced me to have to B.K. with it. How will this affect my chance for employment with a pharma company? I have the education- 16 years in sales and marketing- b2b-great driving record- no criminal record- no drugs and a security clearance from the Air Force. But credit score damaged. Any info will be appreciated.
Thank you.


James October 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Being a pharmaceutical representative most certainly has its positive benefits. Positive things are good pay, great benefits, good schedule and an excellent opportunity to learn a whole lot about medicine. That being said, there are most certainly a lot of negatives. I did pharmaceuticals for over 5 years. The biggest negative is the feeling of not really doing that much on many of your days. Oh sure there are those days when you do some great educational inservices or when you launch a new product and really educate providers on the drug. But through the normal day in day out 5 days a week and 52 weeks a year those days are more few in comparison to the days in which you feel you are getting in the way of a provider who is stretched to their limits trying to provide the best patient care possible! There is a saying in the industry called the Golden Hand Cuffs. This is what reps who have been around for awhile refer to, when they really want to leave this job because they feel unfulfilled but the pay and benefits make it so difficult to do so. But if you got to make a living for your family you have to do what you have to do. I was very thankful for my 5 year job as a pharmaceutical rep. I learned a great deal about medicine and business. I was elated to be able to leave and do a job, that feels very fulfilling all the time.


pharma crm September 15, 2011 at 12:00 am

Being a successful rep is all of information selling. you cant sell a doctor a drug, you can only sell him the information and past experiences.


kabbu May 6, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Your tips for interveiw are really encouragable. i want to know the answer for the question that why do you want to leave your present job/company?, after 4-5 yrs. period why are u doing this?




trave45 January 29, 2008 at 1:23 pm

You can find some interview tips here I believe I’m glad you found the site helpful. I’ll be adding more interviews in the future.


Man January 29, 2008 at 3:19 am


Your interview tips is valuable for us. This interview help to me for the growth of my career too, but I want to read more and more interviews of Medical Representative. How can pharma comapnies take the interview of medical representative? Which type of question candidates faced in the interview.

Yours Sincerely


Man January 29, 2008 at 3:16 am


Actually I want to know how the Pharma Companies take an campus interview for the Medical Representative post.

Please give your valuable advice or tips for my carerr also.

Awaiting for your reply.

Thanks and oblige



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