There are plenty of assessments that are validated for other purposes. Many of these can be categorized as Style or Type assessments. This group of assessments are most often used for team building, identifying a person’s leadership style, behavioral style or type, communication style and perhaps his/her sales style. It is important to understand that while these are very good things to measure, a person’s style or type may not be a factor in determining job performance.
We have all witnessed the consultant who has attempted to convince his/her client that his/her assessment has credibility. They will say the assessment has been given to a similar group of workers, the scores have been calculated and a benchmark created. Be careful of this approach! That average or benchmark means nothing. It is the average of the best, the average and the below average. It does not mean it predicts job success.
Since becoming certified in identifying, understanding and appreciating behavior in the mid 70’s it has become agonizingly apparent to me that attempting to hire a job candidate on behavior alone is courting disaster.
A person’s behavioral type or style, by itself, is not a valid indicator of his/her potential for success in a specific job. There are many tools in use that predict behavior in a general or overall sense, but they do not predict job performance or are they job related. In order for an assessment to predict the potential for job success they must be validated against job performance.
So does this mean you can’t use personality assessments to predict the potential for job success? Not at all! But, you will need to use personality assessments that were designed for the selection process. The assessment must be job related and validated against a given job and the performance required to be successful in that job.
This will almost always eliminate the use of Ipsative assessments for selection purposes. This type of assessment uses the Most – Least word descriptor approach to identify a person’s personal preferences. It can provide insight into the person him/herself, but not validated information to be used to make a selection decision. This type of assessment does not provide the necessary or right type of information to do a true validation study.
Good assessments consist of measuring the factors that contribute to job success. These factors are obtained by psychologists conducting well-constructed job studies to determine the personality traits that actually contribute to job success. They gather data of on the job performance for top and bottom performing job incumbents, along with collecting performance ratings of supervisors and managers and production in the case of salespeople.
Why collect data for a validation study on top and bottom performers? Good question! A well-validated assessment should have the ability to predict potential success, as well as the potential for job failure.
This is why a “one test fits all” mentality comes into question. Different jobs have different success patterns. One test cannot come close to measuring the varied and numerous traits and abilities necessary to perform a given job successfully.
Don’t be fooled or talked into “benchmarking” your top performers. They are good compared to what? What if your top producers looked exactly like your bottom producers? Was the benchmark valid, did it predict success? Maybe and maybe not! Benchmarking only your top performers is a formula for EEOC disaster.
Yet, a client will say, “I want to test my top performers and create an average, so I can hire more people that look like the average of my top performers.” That’s not a good idea. Averages can mask the differences between co-workers. In a recent article, benchmarking was described by saying, “If you averaged the athletic ability of all the members of the top professional team and compared that to the average of the bottom professional team in the league, you would see very few differences.
Both numbers may be fun, intellectual exercises, but tell you nothing about test scores and performance.” A good validity study will demonstrate that high scores match high performance and low scores match low performance. That’s validity, developing averages is not validity.
So what counts in using personality assessments in the selection process? What contributes to success on the job must be identified, defined and measured.
Once those steps have been completed a true study of the top and under performers in the job in question can begin. Typically, psychologists collect data on a minimum of 150 individuals and as high as 300 or more. Assessment scores are collected, along with performance ratings for each group and the results are statistically analyzed.
For the assessment to predict success on the job there must be a mean difference between the test scores and performance ratings. Without being able to correlate assessment scores with performance an assessment is not useful in the selection process. It is wise to use an assessment developed specifically for selection to use in your hiring process.
How do I have a validation study conducted for a job in my 0rganization?
First, you can use assessments that have already been validated for jobs that are similar to jobs in your organization. This allows you to begin using validated assessments without having to make a large investment of money.
The second method is for you contract with a reputable psychological firm to conduct your in house validation study mentioned earlier in this article.
I often hear the question, “Are assessments legal?” The short answer is, yes! When you compare your present process of mostly subjective interview techniques and the lack of a structured interview process to avoid what is called a “soft interview.” This is where candidates for the same job are asked different questions by the interviewers. Interview questions that are not criterion and face validated. And hiring to jobs that do not have defined job requirements.
Compare those legal issues to an assessment where the job has been well researched and defined. Assessments where validation studies conducted by licensed psychologists have identified the personality traits that actually contributes to success in the job. Assessments that have been constructed to identify those personality traits contributing to job success and predict the candidate’s probability of success on the job.
Introducing the Sales Acumen Survey.
The Sales Acumen Survey is designed to help your clients discover an individual’s awareness and knowledge of the strategies necessary for sales success at key stages of the sales process in the consultative oriented sales model. It helps your clients determine who needs training and what areas of training each salesperson requires.
No longer will your clients have to shotgun their approach to providing knowledge and skills training for their sales team. Now, they will have valuable, specific information on the training needs of every salesperson that completes the Sales Acumen Survey.
It’s often said the best salespeople are “born – not made.” This may be true for traits such as resilience, assertive and serious minded. However, it’s not true for the essential processes and skills associated with effective selling. They must be learned.
So what are the elusive knowledge and skill sets that separate successful sellers from the less successful salespeople? They are the seven key areas of the sales process that a salesperson must understand to meet the needs of the customer and deliver strong sales for the organization.
Knowing how to approach a sales situation comes naturally for some salespeople. Other salespeople need to improve their understanding and application of the steps necessary to increase their sales effectiveness to achieve sales success.
The Sales Acumen Survey measures those areas of knowledge and skills that can be learned by the salesperson to help him/her achieve sales success. These areas are prospecting, first meeting, probing, presenting, influencing, working through objections, closing and general sales knowledge.
Each area of the consultative sales process measured by the survey have 10 questions designed to provide an in-depth look at the salesperson’s understanding of that important phase of the sales process.
The salesperson’s results are placed on a scale of 0 to 100 for each of the areas measured by the Sales Acumen Survey. The higher the salesperson scores in each stage of the consultative sales process measured by the survey, the better his or her knowledge is in this particular selling stage.
Coaches are the toughest critics we know, so we invite you to see for yourself!
To test drive the Sales Acumen Survey and receive your FREE Sales Acumen Survey report, please call 800-416-9570/651-452-8256 or email to BillJr@maximumpotential.com.
We’ll process your free report and email it to you for your review and use. We’ll share with you how you can begin offering the Sales Acumen Survey to your clients, while generating additional profits for your business.
Bill Schult Sr.
Maximum Potential Inc.
Hiring A Players for your organization can result in a financial gain of 10 to 100 times their annual compensation.
To determine the tremendous financial impact of moving salespeople from your bottom half into your top half, consider creating three categories – Your Best, Your Second Best and finally the Not So Good. By conducting this exercise you will have created three categories of the same size.
Your Best, which comprise the top third, are those salespeople who are the foundation of your organization. These are the hard working salespeople, who go beyond what is expected, that produce high quality results every time. These are your salespeople who need little direction, are team players, getting along well with everyone. It is difficult to hire these high-quality, top performing salespeople if your hiring process is flawed.
Your Second Best, are those salespeople who can get the work done with some direction, work well, for the most part, with others, are technically strong, work to get the job done in a crisis and often get promoted to larger territories if there is no one else who is better qualified. Most times they will not be the first person considered for the promotion.
The Not So Good are those salespeople who just never seem to be a fit with the organization. It could be that they are in the wrong job, or they need additional coaching and mentoring to produce average results. These salespeople seem to be a magnet for conflict with other team members. These Not So Good salespeople are most times hired because they have interviewed well, come across as friendly and enthusiastic and look to have the necessary experience. For many organizations this group represents, at a minimum, one-third of their entire sales team and this becomes a huge problem.
Hiring managers and HR personnel said that when the Second Best and Not So Good salespeople were hired, they appeared to have all the requisite qualifications. Yes, they had the right degree, the right skills and experience. However, something seemed to go wrong after the hire that led to their under-performance on the job and ultimate termination. Most times the inability to perform the job at a high level was the result of the salesperson not having the right behaviors and/or competencies necessary for successful long-term job success. This translates into under performance on the job, little or no interest in the job, strained relationships with their manager, few team skills, poor work habits and a cultural misfit for the organization.
The expense of hiring Not So Good salespeople is huge. A method to calculate this expense is to look at what is termed the Average Profit per Salesperson. For demonstration purposes, let’s assume that the average profit per salesperson is $100,000. Remember that this example does not take into account the differences in territories and sales experience, but we can still make a good point.
Now consider that your Best performing salespeople produce at an average of 20% more than your Second Best or middle category, resulting in average profit per salesperson of $120,000.
Next, assume your Not So Good salespeople are 20% less productive than your Second Best, this means they will produce an average per salesperson profit of $80,000. This is $40,000 less than the per salesperson profit your Best salesperson category delivered.
This means that for each Not So Good salesperson you replace with a Best salesperson, your organization would make an additional profit of $40,000. If this were your organization, you would realize an additional profit of $400,000 for 10 salespeople and $4 million by replacing 100 Not So Good salespeople.
Looking at the results of our demonstration, it is quite easy to endorse the implementation of hiring only candidates who fit the top third category. Making this happen will not or is not an easy strategy to execute. There is no rabbit’s hat to pull the Best performers from, no magic bullet that will make it easy to begin hiring more top performers.
You need to know that the Best category of salespeople looks for jobs in a different manner than the other two categories. This category of salesperson will often learn about new job openings from a referral from a friend, neighbor or networking with other top performers. So, if your organization has made a decision to hire more Best performing salespeople, it would be a good business decision to concentrate your recruiting and hiring efforts in the above areas and rely less on job boards for your job candidates.
Should you want to continue using job sites to get additional job candidates it would make great sense to write a number of ads you think will appeal to the Best category of job candidates. Include such areas as potential for career advancement, opportunity to meet new challenges and to have an immediate impact on the organization’s success. See which ad consistently attracts the candidates who become your Best performers.
The Best category of salespeople is typically looking to build a career and this may well be the main reason for their delivering top performance on a consistent basis. These candidates are in search of more information and the need to ask more questions in the hiring process in their quest to find a career. Their needs are in stark contrast to the Not So Good candidates who are simply looking for a job with a paycheck.
So, your organization needs to be mindful not to rush into job postings that are, quite frankly, boring. Hiring the Best category of salespeople is more than just job postings, the interview or interviews. Take some time; build a solid hiring system that gives the Best category candidates a process that will allow them to prove they are a Best candidate.
Most hiring mistakes occur when we use only interviews to make our hiring decision. Yes, I know that structured, behavioral based interviews are all the rage in HR circles, but no one is talking about how candidates prepare for these interviews. You may not want to believe me, but the candidates often go to the book stores for books like, “The 100 Best Answers to the 100 Toughest Interview Questions in their attempt to win you over and get the job.
What are you to do? According to a recent Aberdeen survey they use an assessment like 51% of the successful, top performing organizations are doing during their hiring process. Compare your candidates to a validated and predictive success profile or use a well-developed competency model to help you determine if the candidate has the potential to be in the Best category of salesperson for your organization.
A well designed, validated assessment provides the most objective look you will get for every job candidate during your hiring process. Everything else is subjective and when you are investing tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands in salaries and benefits for each salesperson in your organization, it is important to bring some objectivity to your hiring process.
You and your organization should make hiring into your Best category a goal for every salesperson hire. You must do this if you desire to increase the talent within your organization, while increasing your Return on Investment per Salesperson.
We can help you hire more Top Performing Salespeople with our Validate and Predictive sales test. Discover what our pleased clients already know. Top Performers hired with our sales test have the potential to produce 1 ½ times to 2 times the sales results underperforming salespeople typically produce.
If you have 20 or more salespeople and would like to test drive our sales test risk free, please respond to this email or call us at: 800-416-9570 or 651-452-8256.
We’ll be pleased to help! We confident you will say you are glad you did!
Bill Schult Sr. CBA, CBMA
Maximum Potential Inc.
Think twice Before You Hire Your Competitor’s Salespeople
Hiring salespeople from your competition may seem like a great idea, but there are many drawbacks if this is your organization’s hiring strategy.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could plant a few seeds in the ground, fertilize them, water them and a great salesperson would grow right before our very eyes.. This is truly a flight of the imagination, but it is a plan often followed by business owners and sales management in their pursuit to find great sales talent. Instead of growing their own, they try to steal from their competitors.