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Why Personality Testing Works to Evaluate Sales Candidates

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Why Sales Personality Test Work

Many companies offer psychometric testing. These range from personality tests to verbal communication demonstrations. The goal of all of these tests are the same. They are trying to identify the most important personality characteristics required for a job or task.

This can be complicated because the traits needed to succeed, like attitude or intelligence, are difficult to quantify. Measurements like strength or endurance are easy to measure in athletes, but in salespeople the practice can be much trickier.

It takes a well-designed test to accurately assess the best sales candidates.

Desired Qualities in Salespeople

Why does personality testing work so well for salespeople? The answer is that personality tests isolate and reveal the characteristics shared by top performers.

In the case of salespeople, more than 90 years of research and data show conclusively that top producers share three main personality characteristics that cannot be taught. These necessary qualities are Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism — collectively known as Drive.

Candidates with these three traits have the strongest potential to develop into top earners for your company. Experienced sales managers know that without these traits, they may have wasted time and money training an employee who simply lacks the essential characteristics to be successful.

What Makes for a Quality Sales Personality Test?

Sales personality tests used to hire sales candidates need to be as objective as possible. The Internet features dozens of websites with alternate personality tests for salespeople, but in order for them to be successful; they need to exhibit three basic factors:

1. Reliability. Reliability simply refers to how well a test holds up over time. In other words, will a candidate get the same score in two weeks as was received today? Of course, the answer should be yes. Look for reliability standard in the manual supporting a given test, or ask the testing service to provide reliability documentation.

2. Standardization. Any test used to target a certain group needs to accurately reflect the attitudes or qualities shared by that group. In the case of salespeople we want to measure their Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism. The test should be able to measure these qualities in a standard way across a group of people.

3. Validity. This means that the assessment test measures the qualities that it claims. If a test claims to measure competitiveness but instead measures a related quality like aggression or self-indulgence, not only will you be mistaking an incorrect quality in favor of another, but in the case of the above example, you might be honoring a negative quality instead of a positive one.

Benefits of Personality Testing for Sales

Candidate Placement

Sales personality testing has the obvious benefit of helping you select the correct person for the job. For example, a high-performance salesperson who lacks Optimism will only stand to cause problems later. If you have identified this characteristic, you can make better choices before the bad hire winds up costing your company a great deal of money.

Target Onboard Training

A quality sales assessment can also provide valuable insight even after you have hired a candidate. This means after your new hire joins the team you can target training to meet their specific needs. You may also be able to gauge your new hire’s interests in certain projects, allowing you to assign the salesperson to the most appropriate team. Remember, attitude and motivation in employees is spurred onward when you work to cultivate what interests them.

Build Stronger Sales Teams

Well-developed sales personality tests help not only with individual development, but team building, too. By assessing the strengths, weaknesses and interests of a salesperson, hiring managers can scope out the best teammates to pair them up with to enhance their chances for success. Through the combination of a solid test, thorough interview practices, intuition and experience, you can raise your success ratio significantly, saving money on miss-hires and increasing team productivity overall.


Hiring a bad salesperson can cost you clients on top of the lost wages and money spent on benefits packages. Today’s generation of tests are incredibly accurate and valuable, allowing only candidates with the greatest potential to get through the initial stages of the interview and hiring process. From there, you can move on to all the other things you know it takes to succeed in your particular organization.

Consider The DriveTest®

Are sales managers able to reliably identify the Drive necessary for sales candidates’ success with one sales personality test? The answer is a resounding yes.

A quality sales personality test can identify the top three characteristics of Drive in potential candidates with a high degree of accuracy. The DriveTest®, can identify them to more than an 80% accuracy level when coupled with a Drive-based interview.

The sales test meets all three aforementioned quality test factors.

Our test is reliable, and salespeople taking the test today will receive the same results two weeks from now.

And because the test has been taken by hundreds of potential sales candidates, we have seen again and again how well Need for Achievement, Competitiveness and Optimism are represented in salespeople, allowing us to standardize the test.

Finally, the test is valid. The DriveTest® has saved companies millions by accurately identifying the go-getters who stand to make their employers realize a strong ROI.

In Conclusion

Using a sales personality test sounds like a no-brainer to us, but you would be surprised how many hiring managers are not comfortable with testing yet. They either think they can produce better results through intuition or simply do not like to change their hiring techniques. Remember that even experienced salespeople can lack Drive.

If a candidate is sitting across from you at the interview table, chances are they knows how to talk a good game. However, after being hired, many salespeople only want to put in the minimum amount of effort required in order to remain employed. You need to be able to weed out those candidates.

Salespeople low in Drive are sore spots in sales teams for three major reasons:

  • Lowered team morale. If the rest of your team needs to pick up the slack of an unmotivated or negative co-worker, the spirit of the whole team suffers.
  • Wasted wages and training. You waste money on the employee’s wages as well as the time and money spent on training.
  • Opportunity costs. Not only are you losing money paying an unmotivated, unsuccessful employee, but the money you could have made by making the correct hiring choice is a net loss.

Using The DriveTest® for every potential sales hire will help you avoid these issues and save valuable time and money. Try our sales personality test today and never hire a bad salesperson again.

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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Sales Hiring Simplified!

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