When scheduling candidates for assessment testing you have two options: you can
incorporate assessment testing into the preliminary screening process to eliminate
candidates who do not possess the necessary attributes identified in the job profile; or you
can use test instruments when you have a list of finalists and are seeking to gain a better
perspective of their “fit” for the sales position.
If you are hiring for a telephone support or customer service role, you may want to use an
assessment instrument to screen out those candidates who do not have the essential
personal attributes (e.g. high service motivation, organization and empathy) and interview
only those candidates whose test scores show they have the necessary attributes. This
approach reduces the amount of time you need to allocate for face-to-face interviews.
Opinions are equally divided amongst the experts on the question of when you should
schedule candidates for assessment testing. Some experts advocate testing before the indepth interview takes place. Their reasoning is that the sales manager or hiring team can
use the results to probe for discrepancies and apparent weaknesses, thus making the
interview more relevant. Other experts advocate that candidates should be scheduled to
take the test after the in-depth interview has taken place and the results used to address
potential problem areas during the reference check. As a sales manager, you should base
your decision on your specific set of circumstances. Over time you will be able to
determine which approach is the most effective for your and your sales force.
In addition to using assessment tests in the selection process, they can also be used to
address the candidate’s training and development needs once hired. This information can
help you address the question of whether or not you can meet the candidate’s
developmental needs as listed on the Individual Candidate Scoring Sheet. Instead of
wasting money by sending new sales representatives on the “standard” courses, sales
managers can use test results to pinpoint specific areas where training is most needed.
Similarly an appropriate test can also shed light on how the candidate likes to be managed
and whether they are candidates for future promotions.
About the Author:
The Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA) is a national organization of 30000 sales and marketing professionals. Members receive significant savings on travel, business costs and more. The CPSA also offers exclusive sales training and certification programs.