"Sell me this Pen!"

and Other Outdated Interview Questions

If you are actively looking for a job in sales and have either limited or no experience, you will most likely have to convince the hiring manager to offer you the position. While many hiring managers look at many factors when making a decision, some seem stuck in asking the same old interview questions that have been asked millions of times before to millions of other candidates.

Despite how antiquated these questions may seem, don't be surprised if you hear one during your next interview. 

"Try and sell me this pen"

Portrait of worried salesman with takeaway coffee in car dealership
Zero Creatives/Cultura/Getty Images

 This age old question tops the list for many reasons. First, it is the most annoying one to answer. Unless you are interviewing for a job that would require you to sell pens, you most likely haven't fine tuned your "pen selling talk track."

Secondly, the reason the question is asked is so obvious that it throws people off their game. The intention is to see how you would talk up the benefits of something a simple and as ordinary as a pen. Some interviewees make the mistake of going on and on about what a great pen this particular one is and how important it is to own a finely crafted pen,

The best way to respond to this question is to simply ask the hiring manager "what would you pay for a pen like this?" Whatever price he comes back with, say "sold!" More

"Are You a Team Player?"

 Honestly, who would answer this question with an "I think so" or a flat out "no." Some hiring managers who have weak interviewing skills feel that they just have to ask as many questions as possible and this classic has found its way into countless interviews.

Are you a team player? Of course, you are. After all, you know and believe that when the team thrives, you thrive as well. Throw out an example or two of how your soccer team won the county championship one year because you all focused on working as a team. 

If you don't have any past experiences, just say "absolutely" and force the hiring manager to come up with better questions. More

"You Have any Issues with Authority?"

 Hiring managers who ask this question probably have had some challenging encounters with past (or current) employees who pushed back on them. This question may speak more directly to the hiring manager and their past experiences or their lack of confidence in their positions.

Answer that you understand that for a team to work well that authority must be respected. Not only do you answer this question you also give yet another plug for being such a good team player!

And, just for fun, if you are asked this question during an interview for a job you have no interest in, go ahead and answer "All authority should bow down before me." That should go over well! More

Overcoming the Daily Grind in a Sales Job

 Two ways this question can be viewed: One, the company you are interviewing with drives the heck out of their employees. Two, should you get the position you may be working on a team of slackers.

Sales is a tough career, and many in sales are only in sales because they can't find a job doing what they want. If you question your work ethic, you really shouldn't be thinking about getting into sales in the first place. More

"Would You Consider Yourself to be a People Person?"

 People will buy from people they like and won't buy from people they don't like. Everyone knows that so hiring someone that is likable and who likes others is important. But asking if you are a people person is useless.

Of course, you are, or you probably wouldn't be in sales. While you may not be the most outgoing person in the world (or even in the interview room,) people, who don't like people simply are not interested in sales positions.

Answer by speaking to your strong or growing professional network instead of just saying how much of a people person you are.