I remember when I was still in college and I attended an interview at Best Buy. During the interview, they asked me to describe my background, previous job duties and other normal interview questions. I was answering these questions with confidence. I felt like it was a game of tennis and I was returning every serve with precision. Until they threw me a huge swerve, the interviewer pulled out a pen from his pocket and asked me to sell it to him! I was confused and I nervously repeated the question while thinking about an answer at the back of my mind. I grabbed the pen and started pitching about how nice the pen looked, the ease of using it to write and so on. At the end of the day, I didn’t get the job and with experience I realize where I went wrong. This is what I have understood at the question and the way I should have approached it.

  1. Ask questions. I should have asked the interviewer what they do? What use would have for the pen? These questions would give you an idea of how to position the pen to them. For example, if they are in management, they would use the pen to sign documents, timesheets or write proposals. Asking questions would give you an idea of how to persuade them to buy.
  2. Start give them important reasons for buying the pen but only reasons that tie in to the answers you received from them previously. For example, highlight the fact you have a pen readily available now to sign paperwork instead of them having to look for one. The ink color of the pen has a strong blue color that will help differentiate an original or photocopy.
  3. As an added option, you can connect the interviewer emotionally to the pen. You can let them know how they can write letters to loved ones, sign that important contract that could change their lives. You can add a personal story from experience such as when you wrote letters to your girlfriend when you were far apart. Stories like that stir strike a nerve with the interviewer/buyer.
  4. Close the deal. If they have already connected with you in step 2, you can summarize everything discussed and hand over the pen. Always close with the things that they connected to strongly.

Hopefully this helps someone in the future when you come across this kind of question. Remember the point of being asked is for the interviewer to know if you think creatively and outside the box.

Do you need help preparing for interviews? Are you hiring but need tips on interview questions to decipher the right candidate? Let us help you through the process. For inquiries email: or visit our website:

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