A friend of mine just came back from a stupid interview. By stupid I mean the interviewer was a man of very little brain and blew his chance to hire Dave. My oh so experienced friend with 20 years experience closing "C" level executives on multi-million dollar deals was confounded by a young pup who had just ascended to his first VP Sales and Marketing role and was rather very proud of himself.
The first question he asked Dave wasn't even a
question. He pulled a pen from his pocket and said, "sell me this
pen". Now Dave's a master salesman so he knew how to handle the
question, but what would you do?
I had to do this with a perspective client early on in my career who was testing my sales abilities; I asked the question, “Do you need a pen?” He said, “Yes”. Great, how much money do you have in your wallet? He gave me the $150. I folded it and put it in my pocket - then I told him that wasn’t near enough – but it was a reasonable down payment.
With age comes wisdom [and just a touch of impatience for stupid parlor tricks]. Here's what I did the last time someone did this to me. I asked the interviewer, "do you need a pen?" He said, "no". I said great, so what do you need? "Nothing", he said. To which I said "terrific I'll be on my way because you're neither a suspect nor a prospect”.
You don’t need to perform parlor tricks for interviewers. You also don't need to waste your time with people who have no intention of hiring you - unless of course you want to practice your closing routines. Remember that the next time an interviewer asks you a stupid question.
In the recruiting business we refer to these as throwaways – sales calls we use to sharpen our technique. We know ahead of time they’re not going to hire us or we’d never work for them – BUT practice makes perfect. Who can you practice on this week?