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A Sales Personality Test will eliminate these 5 Sales Hiring Mistakes

By David Pearce, President,

A Sales Personality Test will eliminate these 5 Sales Hiring Mistakes

If you believe that interviewing and hiring sales people is one of your most imprecise and risky business decisions then you are certainly not alone. Like many hiring managers, you may have come to believe that the chances of making a good sales hire are about the same as winning a coin toss. This is extremely unfortunate. Not just because hiring sales people might be your most important job function but also because of the cost of hiring a sales failure. If you have any doubt about the cost of hiring the wrong sales person, then please try out our Cost of Failure Calculator here. You are probably aware these are expensive mistakes but I bet you'll be shocked at how expensive they actually are. The good news is that a sales personality test will vastly improve sales person selection by eliminating these 5 common mistakes.

Sales Personality Tests are Tools Not Magic Bullets

First. There are no easy answers to hiring sales people. People are complicated creatures. A sales personality test is not a panacea. Naysayers will use the fact that a sales personality test is not a cure all for all your sales hiring problems as the reason to not use one. That's just as ludicrous as those who over exaggerate their many benefits. Like a lot of things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Stated fairly, a sales personality test is a tool. Like other tools it performs a specific function but does not preclude you from using other sales hiring tools. For a more detailed look at how much emphasis you should place on the results of a Sales Personality Test click here for an article that addresses this: How Much Emphasis Should be Placed on the Results of a Sales Assessment Test?

Second. A sales personality test is basically a rejection tool. The reality is that as much as we, and other vendors of tests for sales, present them as hiring/selection tools, their basic purpose is to ensure you do not hire someone that you otherwise might, had you not used the test. As a result one of the major benefits of using sales personality testing can not really be quantified. This is troubling to those who rely on statistics and many of the naysayers will use this as a reason to avoid sales tests.

Third. Risk when hiring sales people will never be entirely eliminated. There are many reasons why sales people fail that have nothing to do with what a sales personality test is designed to alleviate.

However, if you use a sales personality test you can avoid these 5 common mistakes and vastly improve your odds of hiring high potential sales people. As well, if a newly hired sales person takes a little longer to succeed you can operate with the comfortable knowledge that you are not devoting your time, money and energy to someone who never should have been hired in the first place.

5 Sales Hiring Mistakes

1. Believing what you see in the interview part 1

Even though we have come to rely heavily on them, interviews are a very bad way to evaluate sales candidates. Why? The answer to this one could fill a book but I will keep it short. In interviews, sales candidates play roles based on what they think you are looking for. This is why a candidate who looks great today can turn out to be a complete failure in a few weeks or months. It is their true personality and motivational style that you need to identify and evaluate. If you're fooled by their act you won't find out if they are the right person until it's too late. Has this ever happened to you? A sales personality test looks beyond the role to identify the true sales personality traits. This is the person you will inevitably see, and it is on this that you should base your hiring decision.

2. Believing what you see in the interview part 2

Another huge reason you should not rely on interviews is the fact that certain personality traits look very similar to other personality traits. One of the most common examples of this is the candidate who is extremely personable but not very self-motivated. You are at a serious disadvantage when interviewing these candidates since they intuitively know what to say and what you want to hear. If you hire "hunter" types you can be fooled into thinking they also have the necessary assertiveness. If hired, you will eventually see that they are just really extroverted and only appear to be assertive. Some extroverts also possess assertiveness but these candidates definitely do not. A sales personality test identifies the difference so that you know just what makes the sales candidate tick and therefore what type of personality you are dealing with, how to manage them and most importantly whether should you hire them.

3. Rejecting certain candidates who do not interview well

The reality is that some of the very best sales people are introverts. Please click here to read an article about this topic: Why Some of the Very Best Sales People are Introverts. Depending on your business, this type of person may or may not be appropriate. Unfortunately for them, if you rely too much on how they come off in the interview they (and you) will never find out if they have the potential for success. Many of the more reserved sales candidates are highly self-motivated and do particularly well in more technically oriented sales roles. A sales personality test will give you a detailed picture of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses so you can operate with a full understanding of what they bring to the table. Who knows, you might find a diamond in the rough.

4. Hiring without a clear and realistic picture of the required sales traits

Sales roles differ a lot in terms of their required success traits. I'm sure you know the necessary technical qualifications for your roles, but without a clear and realistic description of the traits required for the role then you're like a casting director of a film, auditioning actors without really knowing what you're looking for. In addition to not properly identifying the necessary traits many also fail to realize that traits are like double-edged swords. Aiming to hire for some things means you just can't get certain other things in the same person. For example independent and self-motivated sales people will tend to disregard rules and be hard to manage. Conversely the sales people who respond to structure and who are good with the details tend to be more high maintenance. In other words, you can't have it both ways. When you use a sales personality test you will avoid these problems since you'll have to go through a process of job analysis with the sales test vendor. You and the vendor will operate with a clear and realistic picture of the required sales personality traits. In the case of our sales test the candidate will also be scored as to closeness to your specific criteria.

5. Taking too long to understand the new hire

While not exactly a hiring issue, how you deal with the new recruit has an awful lot to do with their success (or lack thereof). Once a new person comes aboard it can take some time and quite a bit of trial and error to figure out how to adapt to their needs. Do they need a lot of structure? Do you just leave them alone? Do they sometimes need a kick in the butt? What about a pat on the back? What are the new reps strengths, weaknesses and gaps? Depending on your situation you may only have 3-6 months to get the person up and running. Certainly with some new reps it is easy-just point the direction and let them go. Of course many are not like that. With some, you never quite figure them out. With others you spend valuable time and money to develop someone who in your gut you know was a hiring error. Some of these people leave the company and you replace them and try again or what is worse they stay and are really not quite good enough to keep on but not quite bad enough to terminate either. When you use a sales personality test for hiring you not only start off with someone who fits what you want and need in the role but this trial and error period is eliminated since you have a clear understanding from the get go of strengths, weaknesses, how to train, manage and motivate. Guesswork is eliminated and you can adapt your style to the needs of your employee. Not only will you cut down on hiring mistakes, you will drastically reduce the ramp up time and improve the chances of success.

If you've made any of these 5 sales hiring blunders and would like to avoid them going forward then please get in touch. I would be pleased to learn more about your unique challenges. To take a complimentary demo of our sales personality test right now please click here.

David Pearce is the President of Established in 1986, is North America's #1 provider of sales personality tests as well as personality tests for sales positions used to evaluate sales employees for sales competency. has over 1400 satisfied customers (97% re-order rate) who use our personality sales test to measure sales aptitude assessment when hiring. Our online sales assessment test is customized to your unique criteria, fully automated, instantaneous, extremely accurate and very economical.