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5 Things to Remember During MSLs Panel Interviews

Last week’s Tip Tuesday, MSLs in 2019: Five Things To Watch in Pharma, we discussed a trend towards panel interviews. This trend’s continuation isn’t certain, but enough are occurring to warrant panel interview tips. Here are 5 Things for MSLs to Remember During Panel Interviews.

1. Research your interviewers’ roles beforehand

Research is important in one-on-one interviews, but it’s particularly important before panel interviews. Entering a room where you’ll be grilled by several people is intimidating. It’s already challenging to keep your thoughts together while preparing to face a panel of folks who may determine your fate. Prepare by knowing who’s who and what they do to ease your mind and boost confidence. Most likely, everyone will introduce themselves before the interview begins, so help yourself by avoiding information overload and mentally mapping this out beforehand. 

2. Engage with all of the interviewers

Keep in mind that at the end of the interview, everyone will get together and make a decision on who to hire. So don’t let any of those decision-makers feel left out. Interview questions are asked by one person at a time, so remember to engage with everyone while responding – as you would during a presentation. It might seem easy to focus on the most outgoing interviewer of the panel or the one person that seems to be the emcee of the group, but be sure to show some attention to the rest of the group.

3. Be prepared for behavioral-based interview questions

Behavioral-based questions, also known as “STAR” or “situational” interviewing, can be a popular approach from panel interviewers. With a limited amount of time and several departments being represented during panel interviews, people will be considerate of peers and won’t monopolize time by asking questions relevant only to them or their department. As a result, behavioral-based questions get asked in these types of interviews because the questions are generally relevant to multiple people. So come prepared with multiple stories of your past successes, why you’re interested in the company (think big-picture to appeal to your whole crowd), and examples of difficult KOL interactions that you’ve maneuvered around in your career.

4. Be prepared with your own questions

Here’s the good news – the questions that YOU ask will go farther in a panel interview! If you ask a question that is relevant to multiple people, you’ll get multiple perspectives at once to your question. But don’t forget to also think of questions for specific people. This is where researching your interviewers’ background beforehand will be helpful. Don’t neglect to ask representatives from other departments about their roles or your future interactions with their team, too. I’m repeating myself here, but don’t let anyone from your panel feel left out!

5. Take notes, but sparingly

You’ll be taking in a lot of information during your panel interviews and you’ll be doing so from multiple people. Help keep your thoughts in line by jotting down notes from time to time. This shows initiative on your part and will give off signs of an increased level of interest in what you’re hearing, but it will also help you simply remember all of the info you’re digesting. Plus, as a bonus, if you write down who specifically from your panel tells you certain things, it will help you produce unique, personalized thank you note afterward.

Questions or comments? Email me at lawrence@sembiogroup.com.

Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC

Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011 and is a team leader in recruiting and business development. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management which provides Lawrence a unique perspective as a recruiter.