Famous entrepreneur and Shark Tank cast member Barbara Corcoran wrote a blog post last year titled “Shoot The Dogs Early” where she describes firing 25% of her sales force every single year. In that blog post she mentions that she herself has been fired 4 times! Getting fired (and quitting) comes with the territory of having a long career in sales because as we know, the sales process is hard.

Many career sales professionals will at some point get fired. Sales is one of the few professions with very clear and measurable metrics for success. Whether you are judged by hitting quota, booking meetings or growing an account, there’s usually a goal that you can be judged by and fired for not hitting.

I’m not going to talk about how to handle getting fired since that’s been written about. A lot. I want to focus on how to deal with questions about getting fired during your next amazing job interview.

3 Things to Remember When Addressing Firing In A Sales Interview

1. Getting fired is not always bad

At Ideal Candidate we strongly believe that certain personalities are better suited for certain jobs.

If you are not happy, you’re also not maximizing your earnings.

With all the different selling styles, if you were in a job that was not a good fit, getting fired can be a good thing. Now you have an opportunity to find a better fit to your selling personality.

2. Don’t lie

Believe it or not, it’s usually very obvious when someone is lying during a job interview. It’s tempting to want to use words such as “downsized” and “laid off” when in reality, that’s not what happened. Don’t do this.

Sales managers understand that it’s possible for a strong sales professional to not be a good fit for every product and service. It’s better to be honest and explain what happened than to come up with a story that isn’t accurate.

Take ownership and explain what happened and why you believe you can avoid the same situation at the prospective employer you are interviewing with.

3. Focus on where you will improve

If you have to acknowledge that you were indeed fired in a previous position, try to turn the questions into a positive.

Take responsibility and acknowledge where you could have improved.

Turning it into a learning opportunity will go a long way to reassure a prospective employer. Getting fired can be devastating, but it’s often a change for the better. Learn from what went wrong and try to look for a role that’s better suited to your personal selling style where you’ll succeed.

Are you looking for a job in sales? Use Ideal Candidate and let the employers come to you. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!


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Shaun Ricci

COO at Ideal
Shaun Ricci is a Canadian entrepreneur and the Co-Founder of Ideal. Shaun served as Co-Founder and COO of Field ID until it was acquired in December 2012. Shaun’s accomplishments include spots on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists as well as the 2012 Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Shaun is also an active writer, documenting his wins and losses while building his startup sales team.