Why Assessments Will Never Work for Some Companies

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Dec 10, 2012 @ 23:12 PM

Assessments are awesome, especially when you choose the right ones, for the right purpose, at the right time.  Despite the availability of some terrific assessments, they won't work for every company.

For example, let's select Objective Management Group's (OMG) highly predictive Sales Candidate Assessments.  As accurate and predictive as it is for sales selection, there are some companies for which it just won't work.  

Some executives believe that their gut instinct is more accurate than any assessment possibly could be.  They will consider the OMG assessment recommendation only when it's consistent with their gut.  I agree that it's important for both the gut instinct and recommendation to be consistent.  However, that's not really the problem.  Executives run into a problem when their gut instinct and the recommendation are at odds.  Then, on which should one rely?  It depends. Check the table below. 

Assessment
Finding 
The Gut
Says 
What Your Action
Should Be 
Recommended Yes Hire
Recommended NO No Hire
Not Recommended NO No Hire
Not Recommended Yes **DO NOT HIRE**

The big dilemma occurs only when the assessment says "Not Recommended" and the gut instinct says "Yes."  So to use the assessment more effectively, the only change which an executive would need to make is to heed the warnings of the "Not Recommended" findings!  

The ironic thing is that an executive should never have this conflict in the first place.  If we're following best practices in a sales selection process, we wouldn't waste time interviewing a candidate who's not recommended for your sales role, selling your product/service, into your specific market, calling on your target decision maker, against your competition, with your price points, challenges, and level of difficulty.  No interview?  No conflict.

Another issue is that some executives are insistent upon requiring that their candidates come from their own industry.  When industry experience is more important than sales competencies, there's a good chance that after, the candidates take the OMG assessment, the majority of those experienced, but weak, salespeople won't be recommended.  

Other executives insist on hiring salespeople who come from big, well-known competitors. Formerly successful, big-company salespeople often fail at smaller, lesser known companies, especially when the company and/or its technology is relatively new.  The OMG assessments will identify accurately most of these candidates as "Not Recommended", but executives will find it hard to believe.  After all, "They were successful at that big company, right?"

And some executives prefer to use an assessment which they've previously used and with which they have some familiarity.  Even if it isn't predictive, they'd rather use a familiar personality- or behavioral-styles assessment as opposed to OMG's product, which may be unfamiliar to them, but has the most predictive sales assessment on the planet!  Ironically, because the personality- and behavioral-styles assessments aren't predictive, they've forced executives to rely on gut instinct, use assessments the wrong way and use them only as a single data point.

It takes more than a great assessment to help companies select and hire great salespeople.  It takes buy-in from the management team to use them the right way, at the right time and have faith in the recommendation. 

TopSalesWorld.com is holding their 2012 Top Sales and Marketing Awards this month.  I'm honored to have been nominated for 5 awards this year:

Top Sales Assessment Tool 
Top Sales and Marketing Blog

Top Sales and Marketing Blog Post
Top Sales and Marketing Article
Top White Paper or eBook

This year, winners will be determined by a panel of judges, but you can vote for:

  • Top Sales and Marketing Thought Leader, and
  • Top Sales and Marketing Social Networking Site. 

Topics: sales competencies, sales blog, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales candidates, sales personality test, objective management group

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Dave Kurlan's Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award three years running and this year this article earned Gold. Read more about Dave.

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