Selecting Salespeople Based on Personality is a Bad Idea

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Selecting Salespeople Based on Personality is a Bad Idea

There’s always a lot of talk about the use of personality assessments in organizations.  They often get used in team building exercises, and they can be a tremendous asset to someone working on their individual development plan as they try to discover why they are drawn to certain activities and experiences over others.  In fact, the Proception2 DISC assessment we sell has a variety of reporting features that can be used in any of these situations.  Where they don’t belong is in the selection of candidates, particularly sales candidates.

Why Personality Assessments Shouldn’t Be Used in the Selection Process

The issue with a personality assessment is in the way many organizations attempt to use it.  The tendency is to pick your top one or two sales people and give them an assessment and then benchmark future candidates against that assessment.  Let’s use the Meyers Briggs, also known as the MBTI as an example.  There are 16 different possible personality profiles from the MBTI.  If you only benchmark against your top candidates, you are most likely missing a majority of the possible combinations in the benchmark.

The trouble is complicated when untrained professionals try to make interpretations of the results.  Often, their interpretation is incorrect.  Not through any fault of their own, but a rigorous certification process is in place for MBTI and DISC professionals for a reason.  Here’s a classic example.  If you benchmark your top 3 salespeople and all three are extroverts, there is a danger of making the correlation that extroversion is the key to look for in a sales person.  Many times people jump to the false conclusion that extroversion means that the person is outgoing and comfortable in front of clients and that is why they are successful.  Extroversion and introversion refer to where a person draws their energy.  It has nothing to do with being outgoing or talkative.  Extroverts are energized by the outside world.  Introverts are energized by their thoughts and the internal world.  An introvert can be just as outgoing and talkative as an extrovert.  It just may wear them out more than their extroverted colleagues.

Why SalesMax is a Valuable Tool in the Selection Process

This isn’t to say that assessments aren’t valuable when selecting sales candidates.  You just want to make sure you are measuring the right things.  A sales assessment, like SalesMax, measures the following attributes of a potential candidate:

  1. Sales knowledge.  Does the person applying for your sales job have the necessary knowledge about the sales process to have a reasonable chance of success on the job.  Many of us know how hard it is to take someone without these fundamental sales skills and teach them.  It makes for a very long learning curve.  It can be done, but you want these “newbies” to be learning and growing within a team of experienced sales professionals and not the core of your sales team.
  2. Sales motivations.  Much more important than personalities are what motivates a sales professional to succeed.  Validated assessments will have a pre-determined benchmark against these motivators for you to measure against.  We know, for example, that money is a tremendous motivator for most successful salespeople.  Hiring someone who isn’t motivated by money will prove to be a risky hire.
  3. Sales behaviors.  Sales people have a set of behaviors that must be used on a regular basis.  A lack of certain critical behaviors, dealing with rejection for example, will cause the individual to become frustrated more quickly than other people and may lead to turnover.

Contact us today to find out how SalesMax, our predictive sales assessment can help with both pre-employment selection as well as after hire for development of your key sales team members.

By | 2016-10-25T16:33:53+00:00 March 2nd, 2016|Blog, Recruiting, Sales Training, Selection|Comments Off on Selecting Salespeople Based on Personality is a Bad Idea