"Every problem is a gift. Without problems, we would not grow."
Anthony robbins

Interviewing?...The old 30/60/90 planner needs to go away.

Several decades ago, some ambitious medical sales rep came up with the idea of developing a 30, 60, 90 DAY PLANNER during the interview process.  The goal was to stand out amongst the crowd of candidates and impress the hiring manager with something new.  At the time, I am sure it was very original and probably served its purpose; but we need to re-examine if this is really an effective tool in the job interview process.

Like a lot of original ideas, the concept of the 30, 60, 90 has become largely plagiarized and overused.  In fact, many managers have admitted to me that they don’t even read them anymore. Some candidates have fallen into the trap of using this as a “box-checking” exercise. If the goal is to stand out in the interview process, be mindful that submitting a generic 30, 60, 90 does not really IMPRESS anyone.

IDEAS to stand out and truly differentiate yourself during the interview...

1)     Do NOT title the Document “30, 60, 90” and follow the same tired format  - I know this sounds simple, but a name change and a format change can capture a managers attention and create a more compelling read. For example, two of my candidates (who were recently hired) labeled their planning documents as “Rookie of the year roadmap and “Attack on Austin”.  Neither candidate followed a 30, 60, 90 time-line…there is no law that states that we must use that format

2)     Avoid being generic- Any planning document used during the interview process should include references to the company name, specific products and the local geography (cities, hospitals, customers, etc).  Including local healthcare systems and physician groups showcases your research . Anything resembling a “cut and paste” planner that might have been used for other interviews is a HUGE TURNOFF.

3)     Don’t be “Captain Obvious - If you are including filler statements that are completely obvious like “attend training”, “set up new computer”, or “meet key customers”, you need to STOP.  Those type of basic tasks are understood aspects of any new sales job and listing these is totally unnecessary. The focus should be on impactful activities that will differentiate you.

4)     Consider doing something totally different  - If you really want to stand out, try creating something else that brings value to for the manager.  For example, one of my candidates built a SWOT analysis of the competitive technology, while another person created a detailed spreadsheet of urologists in the area. She categorized their history of new technology adoption and ranked them on estimated procedural volume.

If you are interviewing for a new specialty or are new to the medical sales industry, there is a chance that you simply don’t have access to any useful planning data.  Rather than building a generic planner that goes in the trash 5 minutes after the interview, consider trying a different strategy. Find alternative ways to showcase your ingenuity or tenacity.

For example, a log of organized notes from your conversations with current reps or doctors in the space might be plenty to demonstrate your ability to learn and listen to experts in the field.  Utilize your recruiter for understanding the expectations and goals of the various managers as you advance through the interview process.  

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