Challenges of Using an Assessment for Sales Selection

It shouldn’t be so difficult.  Take a company that needs to hire good salespeople, add a proven process and a world-class, highly predictive, sales specific assessment, and you get a management team that finally has the ability to consistently hire effective salespeople.  Right?  Sometimes.

In small and medium sized companies, the answer is always yes.  Prior to our involvement, they didn’t have a clue.  No process, no assessment, no skills, no clue.  After training them on the process and the most effective methods for sourcing, automation, screening, interviewing and decision-making, they simply execute.  Done.

But in larger companies, it’s a different story all together.  Big companies not only have processes and sometimes assessments in place, they have people whose job it is to manage and execute these processes.  Ineffective as they have been, these people aren’t so pleased to give up their sacred ways.  So what do they do?  They question everything.  They challenge things like:

the percentage of candidates who take the assessment vs. those who sent resumes
the percentage of candidates that are recommended
the percentage of candidates that are hired
the reasons why a candidate that wasn’t recommended should be recommended
the reasons why a candidate that was recommended shouldn’t be recommended
the validity of the assessment when their recommendation differs from the assessment
the validity of the assessment when they don’t understand how it works

When a world-class process for consistently hiring good salespeople eliminates the need for recruiters, saves  dozens of hours of management’s time, improves retention, upgrades the quality of the sales force, simplifies the selection process, increases the number of candidates in the pool and out and out blows away what the company did previously, it’s hard to understand why anyone would fight such a stroke of genius.  But they do.  Who typically fights this?

Recruiters who see the need for their services all but eliminated
Recruiters who are exposed for sourcing warm bodies rather than top candidates
Sales Managers who can’t make excuses for the quality of their salespeople
Sales Managers who don’t know how to develop new people
Sales Managers who would rather hire ineffective people they like instead of effective people they don’t like as much (read better than them).

What can executive leadership do about this challenge?

Set clear expectations right from the start about how this process will work, and how you expect them to embrace it.  It comes down to leadership.  A company whose leaders lead won’t have these problems while companies with weak leaders will waste their time and money initiating programs that have no chance for success.