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6 Reasons You Didn’t Get That Sales Job

Rejection is tough (just look at our previous article) but there’s a reason you didn’t get that sales job. It’s possible the perfect candidate fell into their lap or they had planned to hire the president’s brother-in-law all along but it’s more likely that you just weren’t the right fit. Here are a few possible reasons that might be true.

1. Your Numbers Were Wrong


Quota attainment is the first number an employer looks at when hiring a salesperson but it’s not the only one. You can also get passed over if your deal sizes were too small, the sales cycles were too short or your overall quota was too low. A history of overperformance makes a good first impression but it can be like comparing apples to oranges if the details don’t match up.

2. You Didn’t Communicate Well

This applies to the interview and the rest of the process. If you gave meandering answers, talked too fast or, sadly, have a really thick accent it doesn’t go over well in an interview. It’s also a turnoff if you didn’t respond promptly to calls and emails or didn’t keep your contact in the loop if things changed.

3. You Didn’t Ask For The Job

Showing up for an interview means you’re curious. Asking for the job means you’re invested and know how to close a deal. That doesn’t mean you should end every interview by asking “So, when do I start?” but there are some questions you can ask which clearly state your interest in a professional way. These include:

“Are you going to recommend me for an offer?”

“I know there will be some discussion but have I got your approval?”

“Is there anything I can address before we close to satisfy you that I’m the person for this job?”

4. You Sold Too Hard

An interview is an opportunity to sell yourself, which means the interviewer is going to draw conclusions about your approach to sales. If you hit the same talking points too often, can’t stop spinning your work history or cross the line from confident to cocky the interviewer isn’t going to be keen to put you in front of clients.

5. You Were Winging It

Maybe you didn’t Google the company before heading to the interview. Maybe you aren’t really the expert your resume makes you out to be. Either way, it’s easy to figure out when a candidate doesn’t know as much as they should so do some research and highlight your willingness to learn instead of trying to ‘fake it ‘till you make it’.

6. You Didn’t Have Experience

A lot of sales skills are transferrable but industry experience is still an important consideration. When dealing with senior decision-makers or technical stakeholders it may be worth passing on an overachiever in favor of a consistent earner with the right background. This is a common barrier when trying to break into enterprise software sales but it’s not insurmountable.

These are just a possible reasons that you didn't get that sales job but there are plenty more. Share your suggestions in the comments!