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2020 has been the year of doing things virtually; from work socials and meetings to interviews and even assessment centres. The assessment centre is an integral part of the interview process when applying for a role within Pharma Sales, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies have been keen to still implement this format of interviewing as fully as possible – albeit from behind a screen.

If you’ve made it as far as a virtual assessment centre then chances are you’ve already been through at least one stage of video interviewing, so you should be fairly comfortable with presenting yourself on screen.

But for those unsure of how a virtual assessment centre within Pharma Sales might work, or what’s involved in one, we’ve put together our top tips and inside industry knowledge into a handy guide just for you.

The Set Up

As with any virtual interview you need to ensure you have the correct set up. We’ve written a longer piece on this which you can read here but our main points to be aware of are as follows:

  • Pick a quiet spot in your house away from distractions with an uncluttered and visually appealing background.
  • If possible, face towards natural lighting and try to avoid having a window behind you during daylight hours.
  • Keep your laptop or phone screen at eye level – this may involve raising up your screen.
  • Test your camera, microphone and speaker before the start.
  • Keep any key company notes or sales figures to hand.
  • If you’re using a piece of software that’s new to you (Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.) ensure it has been downloaded ahead of your call and that you’ve signed in / made an account if required.
Virtual Assessment Centres

Having already successfully guided many candidates through the virtual assessment centre process, we asked our Pharma Sales Consultant, Hannah Hall, for her advice on how to ace one:

“Candidates will still be expected to perform a sales role play – but in this instance it’ll be done virtually,” states Hannah. “When it comes to this part of the assessment centre, it’s really important to remember to pause between pieces of speech to ensure you don’t talk over the customer – as can often happen when conversing via video call. This will also offer you a few seconds to digest what’s been said and to prepare your response.”

“On this point, if you know your internet is a bit slow or you’ve been experiencing delays with it, make the assessors aware of this from the get-go so to avoid talking over others or for them to think there’s an awkward silence.”

Presenting Virtually

You’ll also still be expected to present a presentation during your Pharma Sales virtual assessment centre, so it’s key you’ve practiced using ‘screen share’. This is when you allow others on the video call to see what’s on your computer screen, allowing you to share a presentation or document with them.

“It’s important candidates check their Powerpoint is still readable,” says Hannah “as it’s slightly smaller via screen share than when viewing it on a normal screen. They should also be aware that slides can sometimes get stuck, so check these have actually turned before you start discussing what's on it.”

Hannah’s top tip for presenting via screen share; double check any audio files or videos work beforehand as not all screen shares allow for these to play – and you don’t want to get caught out during your interview!

Competency Based Interviews

One of the main differences between a virtual assessment centre and one in person is the ability to showcase your brag file. Hannah suggests offering to share your screen instead. This may involve uploading relevant documents from your brag file to your computer first and creating a well-presented digital version of your achievements.

Although you may be used to doing so at other interviews, don’t walk around your room whilst answering questions or presenting. Not only can this impact the sound quality, but it will also distract attention from anything else on the screen you’re trying to talk the interviewers through.

How Carrot Can Help

As specialists within the pharmaceutical and life science industries, we’re here to support you through the recruitment process. Should you face a virtual assessment centre when applying for a role within Pharma Sales, our consultants will offer you their expertise on how to succeed.

If you’re looking to make a career move within Pharma Sales our clients are still hiring. Take a look at our live vacancies here or get in touch with Hannah Hall for an informal and confidential chat around your skills and experience:

01625 541 036 / hannah@carrotpharma.co.uk  

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