How to Interview

by Robert D. Hennessy 

Pharmaceutical companies reach out to many people through their hiring practices. The following are recommendations— some strategic and, some tactical— that pharmaceutical companies can use to enhance and optimize their candidates’ interview experiences: 

Describe your history and opportunities accurately. The best people will have researched your company and have done their due diligence.

Develop an offer-closing strategy early. Know what you can and can’t do to close gaps. Would you consider using COLAs (cost of living adjustments), stock options, and/or sign-on bonuses? Can you offer an early performance review? What are the details of your relocation and healthcare packages, 401K/savings programs, etc.?

Be prepared to sell the opportunity. Explain why a best-in-class executive would consider leaving a worthwhile current assignment to relocate his or her family and join your company. Share with candidates why you decided to join the company.

Limit the number of people on the interview team. Use only people who can really sell the company.

Keep self-serving “politicians” off the interview team (if you have them).

Manage the total interview process so it does not take so long that candidates are no longer motivated.

In a timely manner, have senior management available to discuss feedback.

Listen. These people are offering free market insight. But it’s a lost opportunity if the interviewer monopolizes the discussion.

Avoid interruptions, especially telephone calls. Turn off your cell phone.

Start on time!


Robert D. Hennessy is president of The Hennessy Group, Managing Partner at AIMS International US – Pharma, and GLOBAL Practice Team Leader – Pharmaceuticals, Health Care and Life Sciences at AIMS International. He can be reached at +1 [267] 984 – 9916. 

© Reprinted from PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE, April 2005 Printed in U.S.A.