Hiring managers frequently ask “When is the best time to use a sales test during the hiring process?”
Some managers are initially inclined to wait until the very end, after they have “fallen in love” with the candidate, and hope the test reinforces their opinion. However, waiting too long to administer a sales test to a candidate carries a big risk . . . the longer we wait to test a candidate’s underlying personality traits, the more we risk wasting time with a candidate more motivated to get the job than to do the job. Many candidates are cleaver and persistent interviewees . . . they sell themselves vigorously in the interview process. However, the best (or only) sale we will ever see from some candidates is in the interview. So, we need to know, upfront, whether we are spending our time wisely, with someone with true potential.
Clients sometimes come to us looking for help identifying a candidate with strong technical skills who also has the aptitude to sell. This is a tough nut to crack because the skill set and interests often do not run in parallel.
When developing their sales hiring programs, many companies add a mock sales presentation to help gauge their candidates’ ability to sell. These presentations are a great opportunity to find out whether the candidate knows how to engage the prospect, handle objections and sell effectively. However, we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw from the candidate’s performance.
Assessing your current sales team for sales aptitude can be an excellent way to provide a benchmark of where you stand today so you can set measured recruiting goals and objectives going forward.
Let’s say, for example, that you have 20 salespeople and you assess them all. The data will tell you two things.