Is Ego Hurting Your Sales Career and Limiting Your Job Opportunities?
If you are on the job hunt, or even considering new opportunities passively, it’s important to remember to put your ego aside. That is, if you want a better opportunity or higher compensation.
When you’re interviewing for a new role, even if you’re in a good situation, humility does count.
Six Ways Ego Surfaces in the Job Interview and Costs You Job Prospects
Ego Alert #1: Arrogance
Arrogance shows itself in many ways during the job search. For example, tot keeping everyone informed during the interview process, boasting excessively, and ignoring or speaking down to employees in administrative roles.
Arrogance can get in the way of making strong decisions, working well in a team, and creating a highly productive environment. People who don’t work well with others will lose out on new opportunities no matter how strong their technical skills are.
Ego Alert #2: Refusing to Answer the Basic Question of Why You’re Interviewing
If employers are asking about your reasons for leaving your current employer and you’re unable to directly answer the question, ego may be getting in the way.
Employers want to know why you’re looking—even if you are passively looking for a new role, avoid saying that everything at your current company is perfect.
Trashing your current boss or employer isn’t the answer either, but there is a reason why you are interviewing. Being coy about it won’t do you any favors and will only give off the impression that you are disingenuous.
No matter what the situation is around taking an interview, you’ll need to discuss your reasons for considering other opportunities.
Review the following possibilities:
1.Things are going well. You’re performing and exceeding expectations, but you are open to the idea of an opportunity that puts you on the fast track to leadership. High-growth companies are on your radar.
2.Your current organization is currently in disarray due to the recent acquisition. You’re doing fine and staying focused on ‘business as usual.’ There have been no talks of layoffs, but you have concerns.
3.You are hitting it out of the park, but your department isn’t seen as important. Sales simply isn’t valued. The company executives believe the product “sells itself.”
Therefore, your commission plan is on the weak side and all internal promotions come from the engineering group. Finding a ‘sales friendly’ organization would be a refreshing change.
4.You work for a large company and want to make more of an impact with a smaller organization.
Ego Alert #3: Providing Unsolicited Criticism During the Interview Process
Ever criticize the people you meet during the interview process? We worked with a candidate years ago who felt it was important to go through each person he met and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
He provided this information via email to the organization he was interviewing with. (Can't make this stuff up.)
Although he was a top executive for one of the most prestigious firms in the industry, he didn’t get the job.
There’s an appropriate time to give feedback on others at the company, but it certainly isn’t during the interview process. Save the critiques for another time.
Ego Alert #4: Overvaluing Your Sales Skills
This can be tricky. No one likes to learn that as we develop more experience in sales, our experience becomes more valuable to a certain subset of employers, and less valuable to everyone else.
Some employers are unwilling to pay a premium for general sales skills because they prefer professionals who’ve developed career capital in specific verticals.
This can be a matter of personal preference, past hiring experience, or perceived ramp-up time.
If you are progressing in a sales role as an individual contributor don’t let your ego get in the way. Recognize early that today’s employers will be willing to pay you well if you stick to your domain expertise.
If you have been selling to state and local for ten years, it will be easier and more profitable for you to continue doing so rather than trying to make a vertical change to Enterprise companies.
Ego Alert #5: Getting Hung up on Base Salary
Base salary takes center stage in a sales role. Salary is always an important consideration. But it isn’t everything. If you can evaluate an opportunity based on the entire picture, you’re likely to make stronger job moves.
Salary is in-part tied to your personal expenses, but watch out if it’s really about your ego. In most cases, working for an employer that pays a 140K base salary, but won’t have a sellable solution for another year, is less lucrative than working for an employer offering a base salary of 120K with a solution ready for prime-time.
Ego Alert #6: Understand the Purpose of the First Interview
The first few meetings with a prospective employer are not about your individual needs. It’s not the time to ask about benefits, the financial health of the organization, or vacation days.
Have the business savvy to understand the “buy and sell” process. The first meeting is about getting invited back to the second round. Employers are assessing you for compatibility. After all, what difference does it make if they offer 10 vacation days or 13 if they don’t think you’re a good match.
The further you move through the interview process, the more exposure you will get to future colleagues, and the more you will learn about the role, the organization, and the problems you will be striving to solve.
You’re leading with your ego if you go into an interview expecting to get an hour’s worth of questions answered. There will be plenty of time for questions as things progress, but remember you’ll be promoting yourself the first few meetings.
Avoid the Costly Mistake of Letting Ego Rule Your Job Search
Changing employers can be harder at certain points in your career than others. Most strong job opportunities are highly competitive. As you gain more experience in sales, there are fewer senior level sales jobs available relative to the number of entry level sales roles that were available to you in the first five years of your career.
Chances are, you’ve also become more selective as your career has progressed.
Attitude is everything during the job hunt. If you can set your ego aside and focus on the value you offer an employer, you’ll find that perfect opportunity with a little persistence and continued focus.