My Medical Device Sales Career
Why do some people make it all the way to the final interview step, flying to corporate headquarters for a day of interviewing, and then fail to get the job? Why do other’s succeed? Often those that succeed understand the game. They understand the ultimate goal of each interview conducted at the corporate office, they understand how to prepare for it, they understand the strategy on how to play the game and they know what it is going to take to win it. They know how to execute their strategy to win it. Let me share with you what the winners know.
First, let’s review what a Corporate Office interview is and realize only some companies still fly people back to headquarters for a full day of interviewing. It is an expensive part of the interview process, but so is hiring the wrong person, they hope this investment will help eliminate the more costly mistake of a failed hire! Many times outside sales positions or clinical support positions (field based jobs) are earmarked for a final interview step involving a trip to the corporate home office for a full day of interviewing with key managers from multiple disciplines within the company. This is often the last step in a lengthy process with some flatter organizations. It often comes after you have been through two or more previous interview steps and often without the immediate Hiring Manager present, since that person probably already interviewed you and hence the reason for you to be moving forward to this last step. Sometimes, if the Hiring Manager is at corporate that day, they too will be thrown into the interview mix as a safety measure (one more chance to see you in a very stressful situation, far different than the previous one on one interview).
So you have probably already made it through one or more of the following interview steps prior to being granted the opportunity to fly to corporate:
As one job candidate told me not long ago, “Why don’t they just have the hiring manager move into my home for a weekend to get yet another viewpoint!” I told them, “Please don’t even joke about that to them, they may just add that as an interview step too!”
By the time you get ready for a trip to corporate, you have invested a great deal of time and energy trying to nail this job! Now you understand it may be down to you and perhaps one other candidate. Both of you will be flown in (usually on different days) in the same week. So what is the best strategy for preparing before you fly out? What should your interviewing strategy be once you arrive and begin to float through the various interviews?
The person who has prepared the most for this critical last step in the process and understands the goal of each interview usually wins the job. Here is how to be that person!
Preparation Before The Interview
You will be using the above information to support your overall strategy during the interview. Your strategy should be focused on accomplishing one thing:
GETTING A THUMBS UP VOTE FROM EACH PERSON THAT INTERVIEWS YOU! THE GOAL IS TO CLOSE EACH INTERVIEW AND GET CONFIRMATION THAT IF THEY WERE THE ONLY ONE MAKING THIS DECISION, WOULD THEY VOTE FOR YOU TO BE HIRED?
Sounds silly doesn’t it, but that is the goal! The truth is, all of those people that interviewed you will huddle in a meeting room or a group conference call the next day and each person will give pro’s and con’s about you and then be asked to give a thumbs up or down. Some people have more clout than others of course, but if everyone says, “Yes, let’s hire him!”, then you have a job! If one person says no and they are a key player…well then you are out. So remember the goal, close each interview to a yes!
At this stage of the game, you have already done a good job getting to this final step, so you probably have some decent skills on presenting yourself during a “one on one” interview. Use those skill sets and just take it up a notch, it is game on at headquarters!
Interview Strategy or GAME ON!
Certainly each interview at corporate will have a life of its own, just as much as no two personalities are alike! If you feel you bombed one of the interviews or perhaps just didn’t go so well, just do the best you can to close that person and move onto the next person. You must shake it off and nail the next one. NEVER, EVER tell the next interviewer that you didn't do well in the last interview. Shake it off and be even stronger in the one to follow.
Always call your Independent Recruiter (if you used one for this opportunity) after the interview and let them know how things went and how excited you are (you should be by this stage of the game!) to get an offer. Make sure you give your Recruiter some examples of highlights of your day and with which interviewer; Recruiters will often be called right away or by the next day by the Hiring Manager or even Human Resources to get the candidate’s excitement level about the day. Hey, they just put together a huge effort to interview you. Think of their planning of getting all those people in one spot for the day, not to mention your flight and possible hotel arrangements, sometimes they include a key lunch or dinner with one of the interviewers. They have hosted an interview day for you, if it went well, they are anxious to see if you appreciated them and felt the same way. They always call the Independent Recruiter to get that honest feedback, especially before constructing that final offer letter. The Interviewers love to hear if you perhaps you enjoyed meeting them and sited a specific example from the interview! It’s about them and they like to hear it, especially if it was a mutual feeling!
So remember, if you have been selected to fly back to headquarters for multiple interviews, then you are well on your way to final phase of the interview process, but the final step presents many moving parts; multiple interviews, wear and tear on your body (flights, overnights, time changes, a super long day), remembering to have all your support materials and being relaxed enough to bring you’re A-GAME. You have done so much to get to this point of the interview and you must take your game to the next level. It is critical that you do the 6 step plan of Preparation Before the Interview and those of the Interview Strategy and understand the ultimate goal of the day: closing each interview to a resounding vote of “YES!” Yes, they will vote for you to get the job and be part of their team. Well played my friend, you won the game with a new job!
©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved
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