Some companies are known for their weird or challenging interview questions.
Facebook, for instance, has asked candidates, “How many Big Macs does McDonald’s sell each year in the US?” Meanwhile, Google wants to know, “If you could be remembered for one sentence, what would it be?”
According to James Reed, author of “Why You?: 101 Interview Questions You’ll Never Fear Again,” and chairman of Reed, a top job site in the UK and Europe, a more common odd question — or request — you may hear in a job interview is: “Sell me this pen.”
In his book, Reed says the real question here is, “Do you understand that selling is fundamentally about the customer’s needs, not the product’s features?”
His advice for answering this tricky question: “Go with it, have fun, and make sure you address the need for the pen (or stapler, cell phone, or whatever else you’re handed) more than its features.”
He says sure, the hiring manager is looking for how well you keep your cool under pressure and is evaluating your approach to sales. “But mostly it’s a pop quiz on the fundamental principal of selling.”
He adds: “If you’re handed your average ballpoint pen, demonstrate your customer focus in your answer by highlighting the problems the object you’re handed can solve.”
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