Once you’re selected for an interview in metal industry sales, what should you do to prepare for the big day?

Recruiters recommend that you practice your interviewing skills!

The interviewer wants to accomplish two things with your meeting: identify the skills you might bring to the job and assess who you are, what you know about the position you’re applying for, and how well you can adapt and grow.

What NOT to say in a metal sales interview

Everyone has at least one weakness; and if you’re like most people, you probably have several. It’s okay – that’s what makes you human. Some people find that weakness makes you more likable and approachable.

But what happens when you’re asked that dreaded interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness?”

Conventional wisdom insists that you take the weakness and turn it into a strength:

My greatest weakness is a commitment to working until the job gets done. I put in a lot of hours to make sure a sale happens.

The response comes off as insincere, often leaving the interviewer wondering why you would have to work additional hours to make the sale. Why not contract with the buyer right away?

Avoid responding too honestly, especially if your weakness significantly impacts your job performance:

My weakness? I can never be on time for anything. It doesn’t matter what it is – a sales presentation, a company meeting, or even my performance review. My friends tell me I’ll be late for my own funeral! You can count on me to be at least an hour late!

Addressing the weakness this way not only reveals a deficit that will affect job performance, but it also overshares information.

There’s a better way to approach talking about your weaknesses.

How to talk about your weakness(es)

When asked the weakness question, be honest.

If you’ve prepared for this moment, you have already identified a weakness. Succinctly explain the fault to your interviewer:

I have always liked to take on a sale from start to finish by myself. In the process, I’ve learned that I may not know all the answers, or sometimes others have a better way of doing something. So, I’m learning to reach out for help.

Even better, try showing the relationship between your strength and weakness:

My strength is taking on a sale from start to finish by myself. However, that strength has also left me with a weakness. I sometimes forget to reach out for help, but I’m trying to improve on that.      

Being able to talk honestly about your weaknesses shows self-understanding, flexibility, and the likelihood that you can adapt to new situations.

Your interview success will come down to one critical skill: your ability to communicate with others.

How can we help you?

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Are you a top producing salesperson considering a new role in the plastics industry? Contact us to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.