Answer the following questions honestly to see if you are helping yourself get a winning job offer or hurting your chances at securing a highly-coveted sales job.

1.       After the first interview you don’t get moved forward to the next step. You:

A)     See the interview as a learning experience. Looking back, you know you could have done better. You will make the necessary adjustments for next time. You know you’re worth the time you invested in checking out the opportunity. You also know you won’t make the same mistakes twice.

B)      Brush off the feedback quickly. This opportunity wasn’t something you were 100% interested in anyway. Seemed like the hiring manager was unprepared and he came five minutes late. Who wants to work for a guy like that?

C)      A complete waste of your time. You spent four hours preparing, and the hiring manager was late. You feel certain you should at least get moved to second rounds. You’re surprised and sure the hiring manager’s feedback is ridiculous.

2.       You’re sitting in an interview across from a hiring manager. He asks if you have any questions. You:

A)     Pull out a list of 10 prepared questions tailored to the company and person you are meeting with. You ask three that are most appropriate for the hiring manager including one about your candidacy. The questions you choose to ask showcase your homework about the company, and relate to the goals of the position, the objective of the role, and your ability to perform on the job.

B)      Ask the same three generic questions you used when you prepared for a job interview several years ago. They worked on your boss back then. They should work on this guy now. You utter the same boring question the last two people asked, “Where do you see the company going in five years?”

C)      Don’t have any questions for the hiring manager. He answered everything you want to know. Except for one thing. You’re secretly wondering how much vacation time they give since you’re taking a trip in July for two weeks. You quietly contemplate if it’s the wrong time to ask about benefits.

3.       The sales manager asks you to describe your sales cycle. You:

A)     Take her through the fundamentals of your process: lead generation, prospecting, qualifying, demo, proof of concept, and close. You hit on all aspects of the sales cycle and then find out if she’d like more detail on any one part of your process.

B)      Stumble and fumble around. You do your sales process daily. But you don’t talk about it much. You wing it and make the most of what comes out of your mouth. That’s what great sales people do right?

C)      Review every piece of the sales process which takes some time. You spend about 13 minutes on the answer, and barely notice the hiring manger is starting to yawn. He looks at his watch briefly a few times, but you don’t get the clue. You keep talking.

4.       You are asked about what you sell and to whom you sell it to in the interview. You:

A)     Clearly describe in plain vocabulary what you sell, the types of companies you sell to, and the titles of the prospects you call on.

B)      Use acronyms and current employer jargon that the hiring manager might not be familiar with. You feel confident the hiring manager will pick up what you’re talking about. Plus it makes you sound smart. Salespeople love jargon right?

C)      Give the most convoluted explanation of the products and services you can think of. When the hiring manager asks you to explain further, you give it a shot. This takes another 10 minutes. When the hiring manager digs deeper, you say “It’s complicated. What we sell is complex, sorry I’m confusing you.”

5.       The hiring manager asks why you are looking for a new sales job. You:

A)     Explain you are looking for a role like this one with unlimited opportunity to hunt new business, earn big commissions, and make a contribution to the team. You want to be part of a sales team that’s dedicated, committed, and strives to exceed goals. This role seems to match nicely with your skill set. After investigating the organization, the solutions, and the leadership team, you excited and eager to learn more.

B)      Talk about your company’s inability to deliver the solutions you sell. You mention your lack of belief in your current company’s capabilities, products, and leadership team.

C)      Mention your current bosses communicates like a child and the company lacks respect for salespeople. You back up your desire to leave by mentioning the three CEOs you’ve had in the last three years. You openly discuss the chaos and uncertainty in your current company and your negativity seeps out little by little.

Answer Key

If you chose mostly As:

You’re on the right track to sales success! You are on your way to winning a sales job worthy of your hard work, determination, and willingness to learn and execute. You can take corrections with a positive attitude and improve the quality of your work. These skills will help you throughout your sales career.


If you answered mostly Bs:

You might think you know what you’re doing, but you’re giving an average interview. This will make your job search more difficult than necessary. You’ll get called back for second rounds, but you’ll get beat out by more prepared candidates. Learn how to interview, apply corrections, and develop more enthusiasm for learning.


If you answered mostly Cs:

You need to reflect on the positive aspects of all your managers, jobs, and experiences. People want to hire positive, happy, well-adjusted, eager, hardworking, and high performing people. The time to showcase these skills is on the job and in the interview. Don’t let negativity get you down. Learn from your interview mistakes and apply the corrections to your sales and interview skills. You can get a better sales job when you learn to be a better salesperson.