“Sell Me This Unusable Pen” | JobSearchTV.com

I explain how best to answer this ridiculous question.

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You know every once in a while you hear about ridiculous interview questions and I read this one and I couldn't help myself.I was going to go on the rest of my work day but I decide to respond to the question, "Sell me this unusable pen." Now you know I think it's a trap question but if it isn't you've just learned something about your potential boss here that you're an idiot. Do you really want to work for a company that wants to test you by selling something that's dogshit? I'm being that blunt about it. If you've watched videos before I don't use profanity but at the end of the day I think it's really useful to be able to look someone square in the eye and say, "no." I want to sell a usable pen. I'm never going to sell a product that's crap. If that's the way you think of your product and the way you want me to work., I'm not the right person for you and we can end the interview now.

But if you want me to sell something that works well, is a great product, something that we're proud of. I'm happy to sell it for you right now. Can we switch gears here because I don't want to go into this sort of mentality where you have the expectation that I could sell just any piece of crap known to mankind. I can't. I can't sell garbage. I can sell something that's good but I can't sell crap.

Doing that, you have to be prepared for the follow up but you've instructed them on something and you basically smacked this person in the face but, I think, in a smart way. You may not get the job and frankly you may not have gotten the job if he played along with them.

But I think by demonstrating spine, by demonstrating guts, this is male or female her . . . I did fairly strong presentation. But as a woman you can present yourself in the same sort of way as well. You know it's not rough. It's really easy to be docile in compliant, male or female here. It's tough to show the spine because there's a pleasure to be compliant. Don't be a little worm. Go out there and basically say, "I can't sell garbage and I won't sell garbage. If you think that of your product, I'm not the right person for you if you have some pride in what you do,, if you have some pride in the product the service that you sell, let me sell something like that right now and let's go forward. I think that's the ideal way to present.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1400 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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