Every day someone assesses you. They assess your threat, concern, and competence toward them and others. We can’t escape being assessed.
That’s why our senses pick up someone new entering the room. Who are they? What do they want? Why are they here? How will they affect me?
Sometimes, we’re not very good at our assessments of others. We either under or over assess their threat, their consideration of us, or their competence. Even the people we know best can blindside us with behaviors we do not expect.
Early on in my career, I did this with some salespeople I hired to work for me. In my consulting and training business, I had made it to positive cash flow beyond survival. The late nights, the sales calls, the referrals, delivering more than I promised … All of this had brought me and my family a small distance from the constant worry of looking for some money for food, using credit cards, and covering personal checks with business checks that would be good in a few days as my clients paid their invoices.
You probably don’t know what that’s like, but many entrepreneurs live a life just ahead of a cash flow disaster. We had made it past this point.
There are many famous stories of entrepreneurs on the edge. The one I remember most is about Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx. In the early days of FedEx, Mr. Smith took several chances to keep the company solvent. In one instance, after an important loan was denied him, he took the company’s last $5,000 to Las Vegas and won $27,000 gambling on blackjack to cover the company’s $24,000 fuel bill. It kept FedEx alive for one more week.
In my case, as I had just made it a few dollars past cash flow stress, I hired a salesperson – not just one, but three. I did this without the hiring knowledge I now have. As they failed in the days ahead, the sucking sound of money began to threaten our new found cash flow freedom.
Why? I wish I had known what I do now. I wish I had known how to use science, interviews, and work samples to assess someone’s personality, intelligence and conscientiousness. I wish someone had trained me to use the best selection science of personality profiles, structured questions, past performance, and a candidate’s impression management of my thoughts of them and their competence as they interviewed.
That’s why I love to help others not make the same mistakes I did. I want you to learn the 5 reasons to use a validated assessment as one important tool when selecting a great salesperson.
A Quick Definition First
There may be 80,000 assessments to purchase in America, but very few of them have validity and reliability coefficients. Some of them use word banks loosely associated with the 4 personality types that were first discovered by Hippocrates in 5th century BC. Now, that’s old science. They may have some measure of reliability at a broad personality level, but they do not have high validity for specific sales positions with sales-aligned personality traits at a more detailed and customized level.
The 5 Reasons to Use a Validated Assessment
Our assessment is validated for high-activity sales people with short sales cycles – one that has both reliability and validity coefficients sufficient to improve your selection chances above a 50-50 coin toss.
You wear rose-colored glasses. You are predisposed to hire. That’s because you need someone to fill a position, to keep the company doing well, to meet budget, or to grow the company. You’re predisposed to hire, and while you wear these rose-colored glasses which pre-color your decision to hire, reason #2 is going occurring.
The candidates manage your impressions of them in the short time you know them during the recruitment cycle. There’s actually a lot of science around the impression management by the candidate. Let me shorten it for you. We make bad decisions, because we like the candidate. When we have a position that we need to have filled, we are predisposed to like the candidate for the position. The candidates, intentionally or unintentionally, also work to impress and influence us. For these two reasons, we lower our ability to predict who can really sell at the high levels we need.
After screening, and prior to an in-depth interview, we need some objective and valid psychometric science to stop us and counter both the impression management occurring and our predisposition to like a candidate. An assessment of their personality and intelligence will give us this objective clarity. The assessment report will tell us if there are warning areas we are not aware of and just how aligned they are with their personalities to sell for us.
Some people may be assertive in an interview, but in a high-activity sales job they will be stressed in the fast-paced environment with daIly and monthly objectives for a specific number of prospect calls and appointments. They may also be sensitive to rejection or lack the optimism to bounce back from the normal obstacles to sales success.
Their personality traits become available during the final interview. You can ask questions of areas you would not have known about without the assessment to guide you. Having additional interview questions for further exploration of the candidate’s capabilities is incredibly important.
If your sales assessment includes both intelligence and personality measures, then you have 2 of the most researched areas that will impact selling competence. Your final decision, and its predictability, will move beyond a 50/50 coin toss. Now, you can continue to increase your predictability with an assessment of the candidate’s Conscientiousness – the candidate’s hard work ethic, level of responsibility, and degree of motivation to achieve sales goals. You will work to determine this through interviewing, reference checking, social media, Google searches of the candidate, and work samples during the recruitment process.
Let me go back over the 5 reasons to use validated and reliable assessments. They are:
- Your predisposition to hire hinders your objectivity.
- The candidate’s impression management of you hinders it as well.
- An objective and scientific counter to your predisposition and the candidate’s impression management occurs with the correct use of validated assessments.
- Assessments provide you with knowledge of possible areas of concern to include during the final interviews of candidates.
- Increases in selection predictability occur when assessing personality and intelligence, and they further increase with additional hiring steps and tools to evaluate levels of conscientiousness.
We find that most hiring managers, sales leaders, and entrepreneurs do not understand this kind of a comprehensive and holistic look at a candidate. They do not understand the importance and helpful aid from scientific and validated assessments. And they often underestimate or do not evaluate conscientiousness at all.
You, on the other hand, are different. You’re professional business people always looking for the best science for recruiting salespeople who can sell. That’s because you understand the importance of processes and systems which guard cashflow, increase workplace competence, and build a healthy sales culture – one initiated by hard-working people who love to sell at the levels that make your company a financial success.
Thanks for reading, and if we can help your journey in any way, give us a call.