- December 15, 2006
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
Let’s begin with three management beliefs about assessments as they relate to hiring salespeople:
“If we use an assessment in our hiring process, we’ll be making a more informed decision than if we don’t.” True!
“A personality assessment, behavioral styles assessment or aptitude test will do just fine.” False!
“We should narrow the field down to our final candidates and then assess.” False!
There are two variables that have a huge impact on your success using an assessment in the hiring process. The first is which assessment you use. The second is where in the process you use it.
If you don’t use an assessment that was conceptualized, built, developed, enhanced and perfected specifically for sales, you are using the wrong assessment for the application. Technically, you can use any assessment in the process but assessments that have been adapted for sales applications leave a lot to be desired. The single most important conclusion that you must read – whether the candidate will succeed in a specific sales role, in your company and industry, selling to your specific market, with its decision makers, challenges, competition, margins, sell cycle and asking price – simply cannot be determined from a modified assessment. Also, should an assessment use the same criteria for a company that sells high-ticket complex solutions to CEO’s as it does for a company selling office supplies to administrative assistants? Rule #1 – You must choose the right assessment.
Variable number two is the step in the process where the assessment gets utilized. While your comfort level may be in assessing your final candidates, there are several compelling reasons not to do it at that time.
Compelling Reason #1 – If you’ve already fallen in love with the candidates, it doesn’t matter what the assessment says. You’ll agree with the findings if they support your candidate and disagree with the findings if they describe your candidate in a less than favorable light. For an objective intelligence that you can use in the interview, assess prior to the interview. But just how far prior?
Compelling Reason #2 – The EEOC states that assessments help you conduct a more objective hiring process – that’s good. But they also state that if you use an assessment it must be validated, consistent and reliable in its findings. They also state that if you use an assessment, you must assess all of your candidates. Last year the EEOC said that as soon as resumes arrive electronically and show relevent experience, they represent candidates. So, in order to be EEOC compliant, you must assess in the first step of the process if you are to assess at all. That’s very compelling!
Compelling Reason #3 – This could be the most compelling reason of all. Our data indicates that the clients who assess immediately following receipt of a resume yield nearly 50% more hirable candidates. Wow! In an economy where it is becoming increasingly difficult to find candidates, a 50% increase is very compelling indeed.
Compelling Reason #4 – This is a byproduct of reason #3. The fact that companies get 50% more hirable candidates points to the fact that companies are totally overlooking the right candidates and including too many of the wrong candidates. Companies suck at hiring salespeople. Compelling reason #4 prevents you from making bad choices that impact your final pool of candidates.
Compelling Reason #5 – When you assess in the first step of the process, you can totally automate the process using, of all things, Microsoft Outlook! You won’t have to look at a resume, talk to a candidate, do a thing, until you have your pool of hirable candidates! What a time saver.
Compelling Reason #6 – You’ll save money. It’s much less costly to buy a license to screen on an unlimited basis than it is to pay each time to use an assessment.
Compelling Reason #7 – By moving the assessment to the first step of the sequence, you’ll create a formalized recruiting process that can be duplicated across your company by all managers.
Compelling Reason #8 – You will use the exact same hiring criteria on every candidate. That’s not only very EEOC compliant, it’s smart recruiting.
Compelling Reason #9 – You’ll actually develop the ability to see the difference between those who will succeed and those who pretend to be successful.
Compelling Reason #10 – Think of the information you’ll have available for the phone interview and the first face to face interview. That information, along with a hirable/not hirable recommendation, will come in handy when you need to make a quick decision on a candidate. Today, if you can’t pull the trigger on a candidate quickly, you will lose the candidate to a company that will. If you need to pull the trigger quickly, you had better know whether it’s a candidate who will succeed!