Using Personality Tests in Sales Recruiting

Personality tests may provide a sales management team with an effective tool to help them differentiate between different candidates. While the exam can unearth several key indicators, managers need to be wary of total reliance on this method for sales hiring.

Most personality tests are accurate in what they measure, however, they are not complete enough to base a hiring decision solely on the results of the examination, according to Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

“Using strictly personality tests as a gauge on whether or not you hire a salesperson is like trying to figure out a puzzle that has 1,000 pieces when you only have 250 of them,” noted the executive.

While the actual tests are relevant to the personality of the new hire within the outside world, it is hard to measure the core drivers and motivators of the individual within the workings of a company. Their cognitive ability is not calculated in the test, and it is impossible to find out what will keep them selling prior to the point that they are employed, Riddleberger reported.

The difference between a good interview and good performance can be wider than many managers want to admit, as the rapport that a candidate displays may disappear once the job begins, according to

“One of the most common things I see is a personality test may show someone as aggressive and assertive, but at the same time that person is not able to deal with rejection on a daily basis,” Riddleberger noted. “A personality test by itself will not tell you that, as it will only look at what is on the outside, not the inside.”

Specific examinations, like the Resolution System Inc. (RSI) assessments, are based on the forced ranking of concepts, which are backed by science and hard numbers. These tests are also designed in a way that makes it impossible for the candidate to manipulate, according to the executive.

Candidates who have taken personality tests before often know how to skew their answers in order to obtain a certain result, something that can be avoided through a more complete assessment. Specific RSI assessments work to provide metrics that the answers may apply to, determining the possible success or failure of a potential hire, said Riddleberger.