10 Ways to Ruin a Sales Job Interview in Four Words

So you landed an interview for a sales job at the company of your dreams. You showed up on time, went through the process, thought you said everything you should have said, and never got a callback. What happened? Chances are that either the hiring manager recognized you as the guy who was hitting on his wife at Tilt-A-Kiln last November, or you said the wrong thing.

We asked the Sales Humor audience to ruin a sales job interview in only four words and got thousands of responses. We’re sharing the ten best ones below. Make sure you don’t say any of the following on your next sales job interview and check out Spiro if you work in sales and want to make more money.

1. “I don’t like people.”

No matter how you slice it, sales are all about dealing with people. If you prefer hiding in a cubicle all day away from the oppressive sounds of other human being’s voices, then you’re interviewing for the wrong job. You have to like people to survive in sales.

2. “Do you drug test?”

Although many states are legalizing marijuana and adopting a more liberal stance on drug policy, you’re definitely risking not getting the job by bringing up drug testing. While some companies have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on drug use, others might believe in zero tolerance.

3. “Sell me this pen.”

This question is likely to be asked by the interviewer and will instantly ruin any sales job interview. Not only is this question pointless and trite, but it’s become synonymous with mindless sales cliches. Just don’t bring up the stupid pen, please.

4. “I don’t work weekends.”

Not every sales job requires working weekends, but every single sales job requires commitment. Never talk about what you don’t do to be successful. Instead, talk about what you’re willing to do, which should be whatever it takes, even if it means working a weekend.

5. “I can’t handle rejection.”

If you have a hard time dealing with rejection, then you shouldn’t be interviewing for a sales job, to begin with. Sales are primarily about pushing through rejection over and over again, and it’s only those who know how to brush it off and keep pushing that will make the kind of money people go into sales for.

6. “What do you sell?”

If you show up to a job interview and have no idea what the company you’re interviewing with does, then you probably don’t deserve to make it through to the next round of interviews. There’s no excuse for salespeople not to research the company they’re interviewing with and the individuals who are conducting the interviewing. If you can’t even find out about who you’re trying to get a job with, how are you ever going to find anything out about your prospects?

7. “Money doesn’t really matter.”

Money is most people’s biggest motivation for going in sales because few people would be willing to deal with the challenges and ups and downs of sales if they weren’t properly compensated for it. If money isn’t super important to you, whether in the short or long term, and you prefer to focus on the quality of life, there are plenty of other professions that might be a better fit for you.

8. “I hate to prospect.”

The best salespeople always have a pipeline full of new business and aren’t afraid to prospect every single day. If prospecting makes you sick to your stomach, you’re really going to hate working in sales. Even if prospecting isn’t your favorite thing to do, never, ever bring it up at an interview.

9. “I only want a salary.”

Some sales jobs offer a base salary, and some are commission only. But if you’re looking for a job with just a salary, you shouldn’t even consider sales. Sales are predicated on closing new business, and most people will find that they’re not properly incentivized to close new business without the potential of earning more money. Don’t even think about saying this.

10. “I already know everything.”

If you’ve ever worked on a sales floor, you know that there are plenty of egos and big talkers. You also know that in almost all cases, the biggest talkers, and the ones who are convinced that they’re the best and already know everything are rarely the top performers. Be confident, but remain humble, especially when you want to land your dream sales job.


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