Sales personality tests first became popular in the 1980s when enterprises began to see how challenging it was to decipher an employee’s true soft skills without first putting them in a job. This however lead to a great deal of hiring risk and loss of company resources, so recruiters and managers began to search for a better way. Industrial psychologists then developed a test designed to assess traits integral to sales that provided 90% accuracy just by asking job applicants to answer a few short personality-based questions. But despite this success rate, and over thirty years worth of research, many companies are still skeptical.
How Can Such a Short Test Be Useful?
Some employers worry that a 10-minute personality test is not detailed enough and may cost them talent, so they take the process into their own hands instead. What they don’t realize is that even a short test can measure the most useful and comprehensive information. While longer tests typically measure sales skills, it’s important to remember that many skills can be taught on the job; a person’s natural sense of empathy, sociability, or assertiveness can’t always be improved.
I’m An Experienced Interviewer, I Don’t Need It
Those who’ve been in the hiring business for a long time may believe they have the power to detect a sales personality in an interview setting, but interviewees have the ability to confuse a hiring committee, especially if they want the job badly enough. The truth is that many recruiters and hiring managers don’t know how to use sales personality tests at all, and so their interviewees easily play up the sales personality they think the manager or committee wants to see, but upon hire, behave very differently. Furthermore, without a detailed analysis of the position in question, it’s very difficult for managers to know what personality traits it calls for. Many end up hiring someone they think exemplifies a competent salesperson overall, but someone in a prospecting position has a very different personality map from someone closing deals, even though they both could be strong salespeople when placed in the right role.
Can’t Applicants Cheat?
If applicants can pull the wool over a prospective employer’s eyes in an interview, many don’t trust them not to leverage their answers on a test. However, because sales personality tests such as those available through providers like SalesTestOnline know applicants will try to respond “correctly” to each question, they take this into account when designing the questions. Rather than asking questions related to sales, their sales questions are masked, and so applicants have no choice but to respond authentically.
There are sales managers out there who believe that because their hiring strategies are more wide-ranging, their chances of finding employees for the long-term are higher. Yet, the sales industry still experiences one of the highest turnover rates around. As a trial, choose to incorporate a sales personality test when next you hire, and see whether it helps cut through any interviewees’ facades or whether it gives clearer insight into a candidate’s sales personality. Companies don’t need to completely eradicate trusted hiring techniques, rather, they should take advantage of tools available to them that make the process a little more transparent.