Killer Interview Question: Can You Sell Me This Pen?

Killer Interview Question: Can You Sell Me This Pen?

You may never want to be a purveyor of pens but being able to sell one may help you land your dream job. This is what we’re going to look at on this week’s KIQ.

Red head businesswoman with pen, because RHM image from Shutterstock

There are plenty of peculiar interview questions that go around and we’ve explored many of them in our weekly KIQ. But “Can you sell me this pen?” is one of those questions that are strange yet commonly asked during interviews. That’s according to James Reed, chairman of Reed, a leading jobs website in the UK and Europe.

In his book, which addresses 101 common odd interview questions, Reed noted that the objective of this question is for the interviewer to find out whether you understand that selling is fundamentally about customer needs and not about the product features themselves.

If you are faced with this question in your upcoming interview, here’s how he recommends that you answer it:

“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.   “… 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.”

How would you tackle this question? Let us know in the comments.

[Via Business Insider Australia]


  • Are we seriously stealing this from Wolf of Wall Street?!


    Go ahead – write something – oh you need a pen.

  • Sales pitch: This pen has multiple uses, not only can you use it in your right hand, but you can use your left hand too. And don’t forget it’s great for use on paper like notepads, Post-It notes, or the back door of the office or nightclub bathroom stall. 😛

  • Woops. double post… if only I had a pen to cross it out and not this ‘Backspace’ key thingy. 😛

  • First ask for more expensive pen to sell.
    Then take the pen and leave the interview. They will call you back asking for the pen. Now start selling it!

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