5 years ago
February 5, 2019

13 Things to Stop Saying in Sales Interviews If You Want the Job

So, you’ve landed a job interview. Congrats! It’s one step closer to getting the job. Being called back for sales interviews shows a company has some interest in you. They…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

So, you’ve landed a job interview. Congrats! It’s one step closer to getting the job. Being called back for sales interviews shows a company has some interest in you. They want to learn more about you and your potential fit for the job and for the company culture.

Naturally, you will want to impress the sales recruiter. You will want to put your best foot forward and stand out from other candidates being interviewed. You want to win the job, or at the very least, you want to get a call back for a final interview.

We all know sales job interviews can be stressful. Lots of people, even experienced sales professionals, get nervous. When we get nervous, we can say things we didn’t mean to say, say things the wrong way, and can be unclear about what we are trying to communicate.

Everything you say can have an impact on your candidacy. Even little or subtle things can hurt your chances of getting the job. There are certain things you should say and do. There are also many things you should stop saying in sales interviews if you want to get the job.

Here we’ve put together a list of things you should stop saying in sales interviews if you want to get the job:

1. What I Lack in Experience….

Recruiters will know if you lack the standard level of experience for the role by simply looking at your resume. There is no need to highlight it or remind the interviewer. What you need to focus on is how you are the right fit for the job, beyond your level of experience. If you continue to bring up your lack of experience, your lack of experience will show.

The same can be said if you say, “I’m a quick learner.” When you utter these words, you are really saying, “If you hire me, I will learn on the job and make up for my lack of experience.”

2. Sorry for Being Late

There is no excuse for being late for a job interview. Showing up even 5 minutes late does not give a good impression. Depending on the interviewer, you could be immediately disqualified for the role if you were late.

You’ll know well in advance when and where your interview will take place. Make sure to plan your day accordingly. Leave extra early and plan to be there 15 minutes ahead of time.

3. Thanks for Having Me. How Long Will This Take?

Yes, most candidates want to know how long the interview will take, but asking about this at the beginning of the interview can make it seem like you have better things to do or you are not taking the job that seriously.

4. Sorry! I Thought My Phone Was Off

This is a big no-no. It’s also annoying and can be very disruptive. It will bring the interview to a stop, you or the interviewer could lose their thought process, and you could kill the momentum and rapport you’ve established with the interviewer. Everyone knows you should turn off your phone before a sales interview. Double check just to make sure.

5. Sh*t and Other Swear Words

The words you use during your interview are important. They convey your professionalism.  You should avoid swearing during a job interview, even if the recruiter swears. Mind what you say and be careful not to let something slip once you let your guard down.

It’s also important to be a clear communicator. Avoid using buzzwords, industry terms, and acronyms.

6. What Benefits Do You Offer?

There’s a time and a place to ask about benefits, salary, and commission structures. It’s just not during the first interview. Asking about benefits and pay could make it seem like that is your main priority, even if it’s not. It’s best to hold off on this conversation until it is brought up by the interviewer or when a formal job offer is made.

7. I Hate My Current/Previous Job

Even if you actually hate your current job or a previous position, keep it to yourself. While hating your current job may be the main reason you are looking for work, telling an interviewer this could become a red flag for them.

The same can be said about bad-mouthing your previous boss. As much as you may dislike them, never speak negatively about your previous boss. It could cause interviewers to start to wonder when you will start speaking negatively of your new boss and colleagues if you were hired.

8. This Job Is a Great Stepping Stone

Recruiters are looking for sales candidates who can be long term solutions. Conveying that you view this job as a stepping stone or temporary career move, even if it’s true, could hurt your chances of being considered for the job. Companies are looking for a committed candidate.

9. I’ll Do Whatever You Want Me to Do

Sure, you want to make it seem like you’re flexible and adaptive, but saying you’ll do whatever the company wants doesn’t communicate you are a team player or well equipped to handle change. It could actually convey you are somewhat desperate and are willing to take any job, not just the one you are interviewing for. Companies want to hire you for specific skills and abilities.

10. This One Time….

Be conscious of letting your guard down and getting too personal. Avoid telling stories that are too revealing. Keep the conversation on topic and avoid saying too much.

11. I Got Into Sales for the Money

You’ll likely be asked why you got into sales. Saying you got into sales because you heard the money was good does not leave the best impression. It’s common knowledge many people get into sales for the money, but it doesn’t mean you need to say it to your interviewer.

If you are asked why you got into sales, focus on reasons outside of compensation.

12. I’m Not Sure

You should have an answer prepared for every type of sales job interview question you could be asked during the interview process. If a question catches you off guard, take a second to collect yourself before formulating a response.

13. No, I Don’t Have Any Questions

A sales interview is as much your opportunity to interview the potential company about whether you want to work for them as it is their opportunity to consider you for the job. You should have questions prepared about the company and position before the interview. Not having any questions will raise flags for the interviewer.

Get More Great Sales Job Interview Advice

Have a sales job interview coming up? Here are some more insightful blog posts packed with tips and tricks to help you become a top candidate:

5 Sales Interview Questions Your Recruiter Will Love

Sales Interview Not Going as Planned? 4 Ways to Redeem Yourself

The Top 4 Traits You Should Show Off in Your Next Sales Interview

When Is the Most Socially Acceptable Time to Follow Up Your Sales Interview? (And How to Do It)


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.