Have you ever gone out on a sales call and the prospect tells you that the other guy talked trash about the other vendors?
The prospect obviously thinks so poorly of this jerk who has no sales skill of his or her own and needs to try to sell by running a smear campaign of other vendors. You’re sitting there trying not to smirk thinking, “jackpot!”. OR, in a slightly less ideal situation, but still salvageable, you are the butt of the trash talk. Thankfully, your sales skills and integrity are higher, you are able to stay out of the gutter, which leads to customer trust and generally winning the deal.
So, assuming you know not to ever talk poorly about your competition, why is that that we vent our frustrations in an interview setting? There is nothing worse than seeing a high performer kill an interview by speaking negatively about their employer, job, or what they don’t want going forward. What most employers (and people, in general) don’t want is to be around someone negative!
When you go on a first date and the person is speaking about their ex in a negative fashion, we all know that’s a deal killer, right? When you meet someone at a party and they talk about another friend the moment they walk away, you’re thinking, “well, I guess they’ll talk about me that way, too”, no?
We’ve all had bad experiences, of course. Employers want to hire someone who is self-reflective, can find the positive, and figure out what they want going forward.
When someone asks you why you’re looking to leave, try the framework of talking about what you learned and/or what you’re grateful for, and what you’re looking for in the new position. As an example, when I left my long-term career, I used variations of, “I am so lucky because I have had an extremely successful career and am so grateful because I have learned SO much. But I’ve been away from home for a long time, so it was time to move back to be with family and try my hand at software sales.”
Most recently, I had two fairly short-term stints in the software sales world. Neither was a great fit and I had to really sit back and think about why, what I wanted going forward culturally, task-related, and what my “why” was. That led me to recruiting and also helped frame my answers because I was very clear. So I could say, “I am really thankful to have learned more about the marketing industry. I think that will really serve me going forward. However, I think I wanted to get into software sales as a next step for my career and I just do not find myself passionate about technology. I really sat down and got very clear on what drives me (helping people, solving problems) and I think recruiting is a much better fit.”
So. No trash talk in an interview. Even if you’re an all-star hire, this is a deal-killer. Or best-case, it will hold you back from your dream jobs. Talk to your wife/husband/best friend/dog.
For Sales Career Advice, don’t hesitate to reach out directly to Alanna Cochran, Sr. Sales & Management Recruiter, AllSearch