Personality Assessments - They Still Don't Get it

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 @ 12:02 PM

On the heels of these three articles:

The following email was recently forwarded to me.  As you read it, look at the descriptors which the client references in the personality assessments.  They're not sales descriptors, so in essence, we have another example of an assessment which claims to be measuring one thing, but actually is measuring another:

"The reports I got from OMG on candidate [name omitted on purpose] are radically different from those I received from CPQ in Bradenton, FL and from MySalesTest.com (PXT for cognition and Interests; PSI for personality and behavior).  Both CPQ and MySalesTest.com rate him highly on topics such as Prospecting Skills (industriousness/energy, persistence, enterprising, drive) Closing skills (assertiveness, decisiveness, persistence), Internal vs. External Motivation (manageability, accommodation, independence, self-reliance),Occupational Interests, Selling Style (cognition and sociability) and Team Player (Sociability, Attitude, Accommodation, People Service, and Competitiveness).

OMG rates [his name] poorly on most of these same topics. The bottom line is that two scientifically reliable and valid tools are consistent with our face-to-face experiences in 4-5 interviews with [his name] and/or me. This afternoon [another name] is going to interview with [his name] and [another name]. If those interviews go well I intend to hire young [his name]."

You should have been able to see from that email just how disconnected the descriptors are from sales!  Here was my response:

"Of course they're different!

Prospecting - Personality and Behavioral assessments can't really be predictive on prospecting because they don't actually measure prospecting.  Look at the descriptors below (above in this post) for prospecting.  None of those have any influence on either will they prospect (vs. call reluctance) or will they be effective (skills).

Closing - Personality and Behavioral assessments can't really be predictive on closing because they actually don't measure closing in a sales context.  Look at the descriptors below (above in this post) for closing - assertiveness and decisiveness aren't measured in the context of selling or buying, just in general.  It's quite different from what happens in a buyer-seller context.  It's the same for persistence - theirs is a general finding, not sales-specific. 

Motivation - Personality and Behavioral assessments can't really be accurate on motivation because they don't actually measure motivation in a sales context.  Many people who work for your company are motivated, driven employees, but they may not have any desire to sell.  Motivation for sales must be measured in a sales context. 

Bottom Line - You already fell in love with the candidates and will default to whichever assessment supports your belief.  Our sales-specific assessments are the most accurate predictors of sales success on the planet and they've been scientifically measured and validated too. But we've gone the extra mile and conducted Predictive Validity - how predictive the assessment is of job performance, not just Construct Validity (whether the assessment actually measures what it sets out to measure)."

The nice thing about this email thread is that it allows you to read specific examples of how these assessments fool you into thinking they're relevant.  Do you get it now?

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

 

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales evaluation, Management Assessment, personality test, personality assessment

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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