Interview Preparation For Pharma Company

What the pharma companies are really looking for

  • How confident you are…
  • Are you a team player?
  • Do you have focus and attention to the details?
  • How will you handle the most difficult questions?
  • You attitude and body language.
  • Stress managing capabilities.


Be yourself, know yourself, and sell yourself. Successful interviewing requires successful selling.

Keep in mind that employers are interested in what you can contribute to the company by:

  1. Making Money
  2. Saving Money
  3. Saving Time

What you should do and understand before attending interview

Do little research about pharma company or CRO?

  • To find out what is the main areas they are working.
  • To know whether your skills matches with the company area of work.
  • To impress the interviewer when they asks: what do you know about our company, and why would you like to work here?”


Punctuality and discipline are the two most important factors that decide candidate’s fate. Never be late to the interview. Make sure that you present at least 20 minutes before the interview. If you don’t know the place of interview, it’s a good idea to make a trial run of your trip to the interview site just a day before your scheduled interview.

First impression is the best impression

We all know that first impression is always important. Same thing happens in the interview also. So make this advantage to you. No matter how you feel, wear a smile. A smile on your face shows self confidence and self-esteem. Here is one more reason to smile….. clinical evidence showed that when people smile, they perform better during the interviews because they are using both sides of the brain!

Your Attitude

After you enter into the interview room, just don’t go and sit down. Wait for few seconds until the interviewer offers you to have a chair. If the interviewer doesn’t offer, just ask politely if you may sit down. Do not put anything on the interviewer’s desk. Keep all your belonging by your side or on your lap.   Make sure that your behave properly in the waiting room and reception. Interviewers often ask their office staff about your behavior.

Interview questions

All interview questions are not the same. Some require very specific answers. Some warrant more vague and open-ended answers. Still others do not and should not have to be answered at all. These more difficult questions require a special kind of strategy so that you can navigate around them. In the next few chapters we’re going to talk about.

There are four types of questions and the particular plan required to face each type:

Straightforward questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are some of your strengths?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What kinds of skills do you have that would benefit this company?
  • Why should I hire you?

Questions behind questions

  • What do you know about this company?
  • What do you think you’ll be doing 5 years from now?
  • Why did you leave your last job?

Stress questions

  • What was your greatest failure?
  • What is your greatest weakness?

Questions you ask the employer

  • What would be the ideal candidate for this position?
  • What would be some of my duties in the first year of employment?
  • Ask about the company new products, services that is going to launch soon.
  • What do you [the interviewer] like most about working at the company?
  • What do you think I can personally do to drive this company to the competitive edge?

Here, only sample question are given. You can prepare your own notes for each of these questions and make your interview happen in more fun way. Good luck..

General Interview tips

Interviewing is an important part of the job-finding process. It can be very stressful unless you are prepared for the meeting with a potential employer. There are three aspects of the interview process:

  • Pre-Interview Planning
  • Interviewing
  • Following-up

Pre interview planning

It is very helpful to know enough about the organization interviewing you so that you can comfortably discuss the matters at hand with background knowledge. You will also feel more confident and able to ask more relevant questions. This will make you appear more intelligent and motivated.

Before you get started make sure to keep a written and/or computerized record listing:

  • Date resume was sent
  • Name of company
  • Name of person you sent it to
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Date and time of interview
  • Results of interview
  • Second interview

Research the company thoroughly. This is essential but it is often neglected. Try to find out the following information:

  • Products or services
  • Company history
  • Number of employees
  • Business methods
  • Distribution methods
  • Organizational structure
  • Kinds of clients or customers -Locations
  • Reputation
  • Philosophy
  • Industry standing/ Sales or activity volume
  • Prospects for company growth


First relax, take a deep breath, and think about all of your skills, accomplishments, and abilities. Are you talented, outgoing, intelligent, and able to work well with others, handle instructions well? Do you enjoy people or prefer to work alone? How do you handle criticism? Are you good at evaluating the work of others? Do you prefer to supervise or to be supervised? What did you enjoy the most about your last position? What would you change about it? What has been your major contribution to your last job? What are your long and short-term goals? What would you like to be doing in five years? How would you like to improve? What are you looking for in your next job?

Points to remember during and after the interview 

  • Always be honest.
  • Be able to quantify your achievements with numbers and percentages
  • Think in terms of increasing productivity, decreasing costs, and increasing profitability for the company – how can you do that?
  • Try to appear poised and alert
  • Be friendly and enthusiastic.
  • If an employer tells you that they dress casually, ignore it. Dress in a suit and tie/suit and look
  • professional at all interviews – first impressions count.
  • Polish your shoes.
  • Be well-groomed.
  • Wear clothing that is professional and comfortable.
  • Sit comfortably without sprawling.
  • Let the interviewer be in control. Do not put anything on the interviewer’s desk.
  • Ask questions. If you want to clarity certain aspects of the job, ask. Interviewers look badly on interviewees who have no questions.
  • Wait until you are offered a Job to ask about paid holidays and vacations.
  • Carry extra resumes and references with you.
  • Do not smoke, chew gum, or eat candy.
  • Do not wear fancy jewelry or cologne.
  • Be polite. Do not show hostility.
  • Show a can-do attitude which demonstrates that you can get along well with bosses, colleagues, and subordinates.
  • If asked general questions, answer in terms of your professional abilities and experiences.
  • Employers are interested in what you can contribute to the organization, not what you can get from it.
  • Never, never be critical of former employers.
  • Only 15% of getting a job is qualifications. Your tone of voice, posture, facial expressions. and eye contact give clues about your inner feelings and altitudes. Non-verbal    communication is important:
  • Use good posture
  • Don’t hide with sunglasses
  • Don’t cover your mouth when you speak
  • Use direct eye contact
  • Give a firm handshake before and after the interview
  • Speak clearly in a firm, confident, and not too loud voice
  • Smile, when appropriate
  • Try to relax
  • Give specific answers to all questions. Don’t be vague.
  • Get the name and title of the interviewer(s). Try to get a business card from all of those who Interview you.
  • At the end of the interview, find out when and how you will be notified.
  • Thank the interviewer for his or her consideration.
  • If you are really interested in the job, tell the interviewer again before you leave.
  • Leave promptly, don’t drag it out.
  • Send a thank-you with- in the next 24 hours.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job. Try to learn from the experience.
  • Remember – you only need one YES!


  • Poor career planning
  • Lack of qualifications for the position
  • Inability to communicate clearly
  • Insufficient evidence of achievement
  • Failure to research the organization
  • Showing a lack of enthusiasm or interest in the organization
  • Unwillingness to relocate
  • Appearing overbearing, aggressive, conceited
  • Seeming more interested in money and benefits than anything else
  • Failure to follow-up after the interview


Depending on the role you’re applying for within the Life Sciences, you may be asked to give a presentation during the second, third or final round of job interviews. Although these are more common for senior positions, or roles where communication skills are essential, you could be asked to give a presentation for any roles from entry-level up to directorial level.

In this article, we explore the purpose of these presentations, how you can prepare for one, and how to make a good impression in your interview.

Why a Presentation?

A presentation is a chance for interviewers to see you in action. It can help them to assess the following things:

  • Understanding of the role/company
  • Industry knowledge
  • Organisational and communication skills
  • How well you’d fit in with the company culture
  • How well you can engage an audience
  • Creativity, research skills and dedication to the process

Whilst the first and second rounds of interviews are usually intended to screen applicants and assess how qualified you are for the role in terms of formal qualifications, skills and experiences, your presentation should tell interviewers exactly what you could bring to this role and how you stand out against your peers.

What Will I Be Presenting About?

For your presentation, you may be given a topic to present on which will vary depending on the role you’re applying for. It could be a specific challenge that the company wants your help in overcoming or a new idea that they’d like to see a pitch for. It could simply be a presentation about yourself, and the key things you think you could achieve in the role.  You could also be asked to produce a blind presentation, where you’ll be given the topic on the day of your interview and a set amount of time to prepare for it.

Regardless of the presentation you’re asked to deliver, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for your interview and help deliver your potential as clearly as possible…

Be Confident of the Details

Make sure you’re clear on the details of your presentation, including the following:

  • The topic you’ll be presenting on, or if it’s a blind presentation
  • Who you’ll be presenting to
  • How long your presentation should be
  • What IT equipment is available or if you need to bring your own devices

Always double-check the details beforehand if you’re unsure. It’s much better than getting it wrong on the day!

Do Your Research

Regardless of the topic, it’s good to know information about the business’ objectives, their recent projects and developments (and even failures), details about competitors in the market, current opportunities in the industry and the challenges currently faced by the business. You can incorporate these into your material to give a more focused presentation that will demonstrate a clear understanding of the role you’d play in growing the business.

Also try to find out as much about your audience as you can. It could be one or two interviewers or a panel with different areas of expertise. Know your audience and ensure your content will be engaging for everyone, for example by keeping industry jargon to a minimum to make sure your ideas will be understood by everyone in the room.

Structure Your Presentation

Your presentation should follow a logical structure, with an introduction to yourself, the topic you’ll be exploring and the angle you’ll be working on, and a conclusion that sums up the key points made and the most important ideas the interviewers should take away with them.

Choose a Simple Design

You want your interviewer(s) to engage with you, and not be distracted by the content on your slides. To make sure you do this, keep your slides clean and simple by doing the following:

  • Break down text into short bullet points containing only the most important information
  • Only give slides to the most important ideas and not every single one, as you need to give interviewers time to engage with your points before moving on to the next
  • Don’t use unnecessary gimmicks like sounds and funky slide animations/transitions 
  • Choose a theme and stick to it throughout the presentation

Keep it Interesting

Try to use a mix of text, images, graphs, statistics and even videos to demonstrate your ideas. Don’t create visuals for the sake of it but do find new ways of presenting your ideas. It will also show off your computer skills, so it’s a double win.

Use the Company Brand

Instead of keeping your slides black and white and ultimately forgettable, consider using the fonts and colours on the company website in your presentation.

Back Up Your Ideas With Figures

Where appropriate, use statistics, facts and quotes to back up your ideas. You can also use real-life examples of similar things that have been done in the industry or in other countries that have shown good success rates to show the feasibility of your ideas.

If you do decide to do this, make sure to provide reference material for the sources you used, and even consider providing some recommended reading for the interviewer as this will show you have a breadth of knowledge about the industry that goes beyond the content in your slides.


Practice your presentation with friends or record yourself doing it alone. Check that you can deliver your ideas within your time slot, also accounting for time at the end for questions. If you do present to other people, ask them what they think were the main points you were trying to make to see if you delivered your ideas clearly.

Don’t Use a Script

Practice talking about your ideas without using a script. You never know what interruptions you might have on the day, or what questions you’ll be asked, so you need to be confident enough on your subject to stay on track in the moment regardless of what happens.

You can still use cue cards or the bullet points on screen as prompts to keep you on track, but make sure to engage with your interviewers by maintaining eye contact and gesticulating with your hands, and don’t be too focused on your prompts.

Pay Attention to Body Language and Voice

Your body language is just as important in making a good impression on interviewers as the content of your slides. Do the following:

  • Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your feet together
  • Use open body language and use your hands to emphasise your points

And when it comes to voice, also do the following:

  • Use a varied tone throughout to keep engagement – this isn’t a monologue!
  • Speak clearly and take pauses after your most important points to let them sink in
  • Be straight to the point and don’t waffle for the sake of using up time
  • Don’t rush through your sentences for the sake of cramming more information in as this will only increase the chance of you falling over your words

Prepare For The Worst

Take back-up copies of your presentation with you on the day on a USB and by emailing it to yourself and the recruiter if you can. Also consider bringing printed copies of your material with you to hand out in case everything else fails. It’s good to arrive 10-15 minutes early to give yourself time to set up and to fix any issues.

Dress Comfortably

Standing in front of a room wearing clothes you aren’t comfortable in isn’t going to help you appear natural and confident, so make sure your outfit is comfortable as well as professional.

Stay on Topic

If you’re given a topic, make sure you stick to it throughout your presentation. It’s easy to go off on a tangent when you’re building a presentation over a couple of days and you forget what the original point you were trying to make was. Keep referring back to the topic throughout the session and make sure every piece of content you include is relevant and helps to back up your central idea. 

Good Luck…

As long as you do your research, take the time to prepare a well-structured and designed presentation and practice pitching your ideas, your presentation should go smoothly. Taking the extra time to work on your presentation will pay off in the long run and will help your name stick with interviewers if all goes well.

Bhanu Pratap Singh


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