September 25, 2014

Sales Person Taking Online Sales TestDespite our initial screening efforts, sales candidates occasionally score lower on the online sales test than expected on measures of Drive. For example, candidates with a history of success at a large company may have relied on its brand recognition and collateral materials.

Similarly, some candidates are strong interviewees, and can look great on paper and interview well over the phone, but they may not have the internal motivation we need in a “hunter” salesperson.

Nonetheless, when we are disappointed by a candidate’s test score, it can be very tempting to re-test the candidate, thinking that perhaps the first result simply missed the mark. However, when we re-test candidates, we take a serious risk . . .

Avoid the “Practice Effect”

A key problem with re-administering a sales personality test to a job candidate is called the “practice effect.” Simply put, the candidate will likely recall his or her initial answers and respond in the opposite fashion. In this case, an initial Drive score of 2 out of 5 may increase the second time to 4 out of 5 after reversing the responses.

Although we might be delighted by the new results, we need to be very cautious. Because of the practice effect, the first administration is much more likely to accurately reflect the candidate’s true scores on Drive as well as other key traits.

To be sure, if the initial test was taken in the wrong language or a technical difficulty prevented the candidate from completing the test properly, re-testing in his or her native language is in order. However, barring such unusual circumstances, we need to rely on the initial results, which can be a powerful, if sobering, check on our own gut instincts.

Dr. Christopher Croner and Richard Abraham are authors of Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again and developers of the proprietary and patented online sales test, The DriveTest™, for sales candidates. To experience the difference of the DriveTest™, contact us today!