Sales Assessment – More Accurate Than Sales Management Thinks

I have a single rule that I ask our sales development experts and their clients to follow:  When assessing sales candidates, if for whatever reason the assessment says, “Not Recommended”, then the candidate must not be hired.  If the assessment says “Recommended”, a candidate may still be undesirable for a handful of other reasons, but a “no is a no”.   Many clients push back.  They talk about track record, the interview, how much their managers loved a candidate, etc.  And we push right back at them.  After all, our sales candidate assessments are the most accurate predictor of future sales success.  Period.

I interviewed the sharpest candidate I have ever seen – in thirty years – in early October.  I had some coworkers interview him too.  We all came to the same conclusion – can’t miss.  He had it all. Except for one little detail that I failed to share with anyone.  The assessment said, “not recommended”.

Did I dare to violate my own rule?  Did I dare to override the most accurate assessment – the one I created and enhanced and fine tuned every day for the last sixteen years?  Did I dare to risk the consequences?  Our own statistics show that 75% of the candidates who were not recommended but were hired anyway, fail, usually within 6 weeks.  If I risked it, I would be as guilty as the sales development experts and their clents that use our assessments.

I did it anyway.  He started on October 16 like a house on fire.  Today, right on schedule, six weeks into his new challenge, he resigned, discouraged, broken down by his inability to meet his own unrealistic expectations.  He failed.  I’m embarrassed.  The only one who knew this would happen was my wife, the very talented marketing guru, Deborah Penta.  She met him once, early on, and predicted it.

There’s a moral to this story, a lesson learned right in my own back yard.  If the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment says, “Not Recommended”, do not, under any circumstances, hire the candidate.