July 31, 2014

You’ve administered a sales assessment to your top candidate. She has an impressive resume and track record of success, but the assessment measured her low on Drive.

What went wrong? Should you still move her into the next round of the hiring process? Should you sacrifice Drive for highly experienced?

Sales Manager Evaluating Salespeople

As hiring managers, it is often tempting to assume that a candidate with substantial sales experience will score high on a sales assessment test that measures Drive. However, it is not uncommon for candidates with seemingly extensive resumes to record lower than expected Drive scores.

Before ignoring the results of the sales assessment, be sure that you are not relying on false information given to you by the candidate. This could include a padded resume or a rehearsed performance during a phone interview.

 

8 Possible Reasons for Experienced Candidates to Score Low on Drive

It might seem a little strange that a candidate that looks great on paper does not measure up to your expectations on Drive. There are numerous reasons why a low Drive candidate can still have an impressive resume.

  1. The candidate relied on brand recognition and collateral materials to sell.
  2. The candidate may have embellished some aspects of his resume.
  3. The candidate is a Settler, and only does the bare minimum to get by.
  4. The candidate is not very resilient and does not have enough Optimism to be considered high Drive.
  5. The candidate’s previous experience may have been with an organization with vague or unchallenging expectations.
  6. The candidate is great at selling themselves, but lacks the necessary Drive to sell products or services.
  7. The candidate was partnered with someone who was high in Drive on his previous sales team and was not required to source and bring in new business on his own (A farmer vs. hunter role).
  8. The candidate knows how to network for his career, but does not apply those skills when out in the field to sell products and/or services.

No matter what the reason behind the low scores, something is not lining up. And, as a hiring manager, it is your job to solve the mystery before making (and regretting) the wrong hire.

 

10 Questions to Ask During the Face-to-Face Interview

If your highly experienced candidate measures extremely low (1-2) on Drive through a sales assessment test, we do not recommend moving forward with this candidate.

Even though, he has experience, he does not have the core aptitude required to sustain sales over the long haul for your company. Don’t waste your time.

If your candidate scores average on the sales assessment (3), you want to be sure that he does not fall into any of the previous categories before making the decision to hire him.

Sales Manager Reviewing Resume

When this happens, we suggest that you ask a few key questions during the behavioral-based face-to-face interview to understand the dynamics at play:

  1. How was your sales team structured at your previous organization?
  2. What was your greatest accomplishment in your career so far? How do you plan to top it?
  3. Tell me about a difficult client and how you handled the situation.
  4. Tell me about a time that you failed to close a sale.
  5. What characteristics would you want from an ideal sales partner?
  6. At your previous organization, were you responsible for finding new leads or maintaining existing accounts?
  7. What was the most challenging aspect of your previous position?
  8. When was the last time you were competitive? What was the result?
  9. Have you ever had to make sacrifices to be successful?
  10.  When did you discover that you loved selling?

Listen carefully to the candidate’s answers and pay attention for any red flags. For example, a red flag for the question “How do you plan to top your greatest achievement?” may appear if the candidate hesitates for a long period of time in order to manufacture a suitable answer.

A truly successful salesperson would have an answer at the ready because of him inherent Need for Achievement.

 

Before Making a Final Hiring Decision

Before making a decision on whether to hire your candidate, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What is it that I like most about this candidate?
  • What is it that I like least about this candidate?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but by taking a personal inventory about your feelings towards a candidate can help you make a more objective hiring decision.

If you answered the first question with “his experience”, then you might be relying on your own personal biases to make this important choice. Rather, hopefully, you will answer “his Optimism” or some other component of Drive.

However, if you answered “his experience” to the second question, it might actually be a positive indication. It means that he has greater assets than just his resume.

 

Consider All the Evidence

While you should not use a sales assessment as your only means of making hiring decisions, it is important to use the information gathered by the assessment to form a better understanding of where your candidate stands.

Failing a sales assessment that measures Drive should be the first indication that the candidate does not have the innate aptitude necessary to sell and will likely not  last long at your organization.

As always, we recommend a hiring process that includes a thorough resume screening, a phone interview, a science-based sales assessment test and then a behavioral-based interview with the candidate face-to-face. We have found that this is the best way to let the crème de la crème of high Drive sales candidates rise to the top.

Salespeople Waiting to Be Interviewed by Sales Manager

 

Are You Interested in How to Test for Drive in Your Sales Candidates?

SalesDrive, LLC is proud to offer The DriveTest™, a pre-employment test specifically designed to measure the key traits of successful sales representatives. The DriveTest™ measures the main three components of Drive: Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism. It also can give hiring managers insight into a candidate’s teachable skills like: Confidence, Persuasion, Relationships and Organization. The results will even guide you in deciding which role would best suit your candidate, either as a hunter or a farmer.

If you are interested in the science behind The DriveTest™, take a look at our publications, including our book, Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again.