2 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make with Sales Candidates

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 @ 05:02 AM

previewDo you prefer to see movies when the previews are awesome or dull?

Do you get more excited about your entree after a delicious or unspectacular appetizer?

Are you more likely to buy a car after an exciting test drive or one that left you unimpressed?

If you are using our sales recruiting process (STAR), then your sales candidates receive an email after submitting a resume.  They are informed about the five steps of the process and instructed to complete an online application and the OMG sales assessment.  When the online application is not included, about 35% of the candidates take the assessment.  When the online application is included in the process, the assessment rate jumps to better than 50%.

At this point in the process, the candidate is the appetizer, movie trailer, and test drive - all rolled into one.  If they don't complete the application and assessment, then why do sales managers and HR managers try so hard to get them to do it?  Haven't these candidates already shown you all you need to know about their follow-through, follow-up, attention to detail, ability to work a sales process, ability to take direction, and commitment to the result?  These candidates might even be thinking, "Not if I have to work this hard..."

Sales managers and sales leaders repeat another big mistake during the first interview when they prematurely sell the sales opportunity to the candidates.  Why aren't they challenging the candidates about their capabilities and fit instead?  Selling the job to the candidate positions you as the seller rather than the buyer, placing you in a position of weakness rather than strength.  That makes it much more difficult to land the candidate you want, for the role you have in mind, and with your ideal compensation plan.

The consultative approach required for sales is the same approach that you should be using in the interview.

If you are interested in learning about OMG's Sales Candidate Analyzer, a free tool that is included when you use OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, I'll be leading a webinar this Wednesday, February 26 at 11:00 AM ET.

WEBINAR - How to Get the Most from OMG's Sales Candidate Analyzer Tool
February 26, 11 AM ET

PLEASE HELP ME OUT!  I am completing a study of the functionality of today's sales force.  Would you be nice enough to take 5 minutes and complete the questionnaire for me?  I would really appreciate it.  I'll be publishing the results of this study in an upcoming White Paper.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, objective management group

Get Sales Compensation Right to Recruit Winning Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

sales compensationSales candidates, especially good ones, are exponentially more difficult to attract than they were just two years ago.  We regularly observe clients struggling when it comes to getting resumes from quality candidates.  One of the reasons is compensation.

1. True or False: The higher the compensation, the better.

2. True or False: Compensation isn't that important to most salespeople.

3. True or False: Compensation is always relative.

4. True or False: Base salary is usually more important than % of commission.

The answers are False, False, True and False.

There are four variables that impact the importance of compensation:

  1. Requirements - If there aren't many significant requirements, expectations, experiences, or expertises, then $50,000 may be fair.  But if you need a salesperson who has had success selling expensive products or services to CEO's amid a tremendous amount of competition and you need this person to both find and close new business, then you are describing a salesperson who would expect a compensation plan to pay them in excess of $125,000 and as much as $250,000.
  2. Industry Norms - If you want one of the effective salespeople to join your company, you need to divorce yourself from the mindset that, "In our industry, it's traditional to pay..."  That's fine if you will never, ever interview and hire salespeople from outside your industry.  But if your industry provides a $135,000 base and the salesperson being interviewed comes from an industry that pays a $35,000 base,  you will overpay and undermotivate.
  3. Splits - Once again, you'll need to move away from the one-size-fits-all comp plan.  Extrinsically motivated salespeople will thrive on a low base and high commission plan while intrinsically motivated salespeople will perform more effectively on a high base with small commission plan.  That's why I always ask candidates to provide me with an earnings history broken down by salary and commission (and bonus if applicable).
  4. Needs - What a salesperson needs to earn to pay bills must be considered at the start and you may need to subsidize this person during ramp-up if the plan is weighted toward commissions and if income will fall short of the bill-paying requirement.  Regardless of motivation type, what salespeople desire to earn to get what they want in life must be considered for long-term retention.  When salespeople are successful and their income continues to grow, they will grow with you.  When success or income stagnates, look for them to add your company to the previous employers listed on their resumes.
I have written about and am on record saying that, in order to build an over-achieving sales force, you need to eliminate the 80/20 rule - the rule that says that 80% of your salespeople will suck -and replace it with the 100/0 rule - the rule that says that 100% of your salespeople will be over-achievers.

Well, I found some sanity over the 80/20 rule in Perry Marshall's new book, 80/20 Sales & Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More.  Perry busts some long-standing myths and backs it up with sound data.  I read the first chapter and am hooked - a must read for me and perhaps for you too!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, sales management, sales leadership, Sales Candidate, sales compensation, sales talent

What Google Might Know about Hiring Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 @ 09:06 AM

no brainerThe NY Times posted a story on June 20 about Google, their recruiting efforts, and big data.  The story really doesn't reveal that much, but there is an interesting quote (that I will get to shortly) that is relevent to hiring salespeople.  When we help companies get the sales selection piece right, there are several components that we tweak.  We help them get the following things right:

  1. Sequence of Steps
  2. The Posting - The entire sales recruiting process is only as good as its weakest link.  Most companies get the posting completely wrong and get wrong candidates into the candidate pool.  Then, what happens after this step is applied to the wrong candidates!
  3. Sourcing - see my explanation for #2
  4. Applicant Tracking
  5. Sales Candidate Assessment - There are two keys to this piece.  The first is the use of the right assessment.  The second is that the assessment be used this early in the process to disqualify all candidates who will not succeed in the particular role, at your company, calling into your marketplace, and your ideal decision-maker, against your competition, with your price points, and particular challenges.
  6. Short Phone Interview - Make sure that recommended candidates have the right experiences and sound good.
  7. Face-to-Face or Video Interview - Challenge the candidate and make sure they own what is on their resume as opposed to them being the author of a piece of fiction.
  8. Final Interview - Sell the opportunity.
  9. Offer
  10. On-Boarding
It typically takes a day or two to help clients integrate and apply this process to their business.  Clients love it because it not only results in consistently hiring much better sales talent, but it saves a tremendous amount of time and money too.  The value of getting it right?  Priceless.

You can use this free tool to
grade your sales recruiting process

Clients usually agree with all of the above.  One part, that they often disagree with, is that too many clients require that their salespeople have a college degree and that's where the NY Times and Google article comes in.  I don't have anything against college graduates, but I have never seen a correlation between higher education and sales success.  While many successful salespeople have college degrees, salespeople don't succeed because of their education.  We learn from the NY Times article that Google has not seen any correlation between education and success at Google, arguing that success in school requires a different set of skills.

I was not a particularly good student and did not finish college.  Most of the skills I have needed to write, type, speak, communicate, persuade and sell, research, manage, lead, use technology, build, create, opine, listen, question, and think outside the box; to stand-out and be analytical, practical, memorable, animated, dynamic, entrepreneurial and entertaining, to talk the language of business and CEO's, are not things that were taught in college.  I learned most of what I needed to know in high-school, from books, coaches and mentors, and mostly, on the street by taking risks, trial-and-error and early on, making mostly errors.  

In my not so humble opinion, if you want to put an educational requirement on sales candidates, it should be that they are street-smart rather than degreed.  Here are two exaggerated examples:
  • Educated - "Where is the documentation for this?  Show me where to go for that?  How does this information apply?  I'll need some time to learn and assimilate this.  I should be ready to begin visiting customers, to learn about them, next month.  When I understand a little more about why they buy from us, I'll start to make some business development calls."  
  • Street Smart - "Thanks.  I'll figure it out.  When can I start selling?"

This is truly a no-brainer.  Which salesperson would you prefer to be on boarding right now?

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, Sales Candidate, hiring salespeople, sales assessment test, objective management group

Inc Magazine Misses on the 13 Traits of an Outstanding Salesperson

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

inclogoI just read the 13 Traits of An Outstanding Salesperson, an article that appeared on Inc.com.

As usual, I had several thoughts about this so, in no particular order...

  • Note that it isn't "The" 13 traits; it's simply 13 traits, implying that there are others;
  • It's also not "The Top 13" traits;
  • These are not in any way, shape or form, expert opinions;
  • Charisma?  Really?  If the salesperson will be presenting to audiences, sure it would be a nice plus for them to be charismatic but if you read the actual explanation,  the contributor is simply talking about someone who is likable.  Likable is good, but hear this:  All of the mediocre and horrible salespeople - almost the entire 74% - are likable!
  • Laziness?  Seriously?  A great example of how an executive confuses a behavior with a result.  Great salespeople aren't lazy, they simply know which opportunities to pursue and don't waste their valuable time chasing low percentage, low profit opportunities!
  • Hunter's Mentality?  That's the correct phrase but if you read the contributor's explanation, he got the mentality part wrong.  He's more focused on whether the salesperson is excited enough about a huge opportunity to pursue it.  A true sales Hunter's mentality is to actually find as many sweet spot opportunities as possible and not waste time pursuing those with low odds of closing.
  • Intelligent Fighter?  This contributor mixes motivation with what he calls politely persistent, or assertiveness.  Motivation and assertiveness are not the same things.  There are plenty of highly motivated salespeople that are not nearly assertive enough, and plenty of assertive salespeople who are not very motivated.
  • The Trifecta?  This contributor says it's a combination of Drive, Personality and Intelligence but he describes someone who has the ability to get in front of a buyer and close the deal.  Not so again.  The real requirements for that are Strong Commitment, No Need for Approval, Rejection Proof, and Supportive Beliefs around Prospecting!
  • Existing Relationships and Product Knowledge?  All that will accomplish is assure that there are plenty of prospects who value a good presentation and product knowledge.  We don't need more friends and presenters, we need hunters, consultative salespeople, and closers!
  • People Skills?  This contributor is really describing someone with great listening skills - that's the ticket.
I think Inc. published these because they were the most interesting of all the submissions.  However, because Inc. is a respected business publication, readers are likely to take this crap to heart and actually go out and look for salespeople who exhibit these traits.  Most of these young business people either don't know what they don't know, or know they know it all.  Most importantly, if you are going to be hiring salespeople, it's more important than ever to not make costly mistakes.  Even if their 13 traits were predictive of sales success - and they're not - how would you really know if a candidate had them?  That's why it's so important to use Objective Management Group's Sales Candidate Assessments - legendary for their accuracy and ability to predict sales performance.
Earlier this week, I hosted a 45-minute interactive Webinar and shared the magic behind our assessment.  If you are interested in seeing it, you can click here.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, sales personality, sales traits, sales test

Sales Assessment Findings - Another Preview of the Interview

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 23:10 PM

business relationshipsJohn Musser, an OMG Partner in Atlanta, recently shared an observation with me.  He found that when his clients didn't care for a candidate who was recommended by our Sales Candidate Assessment, he was able to correlate his client's perception to a single finding: Won't Develop Relationships Quickly.

A number of clients misinterpret this finding, thinking it means that the candidate won't develop relationships at all.  But it's not that they won't develop relationships, it's that it won't happen quickly during the first meeting.  When the client is left feeling indifferent, it's often because the candidate wasn't successful at making a connection in that first interview.

There are two ways in which one could look at this:

  1. Knowing that the candidate is a bit slow to warm up, cut him some slack, bring him back for a second interview, give him another chance and overlook his performance from the first interview.
  2. Know that what you see is what you'll get and his inability to quickly develop a relationship will prevent him from making prospects comfortable enough to answer the types of good, tough, timely questions which are the hallmark of effective consultative selling.
Obviously, you'll want to follow option #2.
Observing assessment findings manifested during an interview is a very common occurance, but it's more likely to occur when a candidate has some of the following findings:
Finding What You'll See
Tendency to Become Emotional Defensiveness, panic, louder volume,
rash, sweat, etc.
Need for Approval Saying what you want to hear, fear of 
pushing back, fear of tough questions, trying to make friends
Too Trusting Optimistic when you give the candidate a put-off like, 
"We'll be back to you next week." 
Uncomfortable Talking About Money Stuttering, lack of confidence when asked about earnings history

Of course there are many more, but this gives you a sense of it.  If you would like to see more examples or read more, click for some assessment case histories.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales management, Sales Candidate, sales interview, sales assessment findings, sales assessment test

Compromises in Sales Candidate Assessments Compromise Revenue

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:09 PM

compromiseWhen I first began to evangelize the importance of sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments in the early 90's, no other assessment company was focused on the sales force or developing a sales-specific (built for, rather than modified for, the sales force) assessment.  22 years later, my message has been so well-received that it spawned a sales assessment industry.  Most of the so-called sales assessments are from companies and individuals which have modified or created derivative works, based on existing assessments to make them appear to be sales-specific.

Experience has demonstrated that there are three areas where companies tend to compromise with sales candidate assessments and those compromises always lead to revenue shortages:

1. Compromising Assessment Choice  -  Other than the sales-specific assessments developed by Objective Management Group (OMG), assessments generally fall into the categories of personality tests (like Caliper), behavioral styles assessments (like DISC) or sales aptitude tests.  Personality tests and behavioral styles assessments are not predictive of sales performance and, as much as their marketers would suggest otherwise, the only things that are sales-specific are their marketing materials and the names of some of their findings.  They report on what they measure and they measure what they collect which are answers to questions asked in a social context rather than sales context.  Sales aptitude tests measure only what an individual knows about transactional (not consultative) selling, but not how they are likely to perform.  The compromise takes place if a company chooses an assessment for one of the following five reasons:

    • Familiarity - A company has successfully used a personality test or behavioral styles assessment to better understand their employees.  While it seems to make sense to expand its use to sales selection, these assessments do not accurately predict performance or success in a sales role.
    • Faulty Assumptions - An executive receives a referral from someone who has used personality or behavioral styles assessments and recommends them, incorrectly assuming that they would be equally effective for sales selection.
    • Misled - A company chooses a sales aptitude assessment because the name implies fit and alignment when it only measures interest, knowledge and awareness.
    • Price - An assessment may cost less, but the savings are dwarfed by the cost of a hiring mistake.
    • Comfort - An executive may be more familiar with a particular assessment, but knowing the assessment language, buzzwords or reporting format doesn't magically make that assessment more accurate or predictive.

2. Compromising Assessment Timing - Assuming that you've selected the best assessment for sales selection (OMG's highly-accurate and predictive Sales Candidate Assessment), it must be used at an optimal point in the sales recruiting/interviewing/hiring process - the first step.  When a resumes arrives, candidates should receive a reply with instructions to take the assessment.  The completed assessment quickly eliminates those candidates whose sales capabilities don't meet the customized requirements for the role.  These include criteria based on the difficulty of the sale, length of the sales cycle, title of the decision-maker, price point, competition, locale, management supervision, average sale price and more.  The Compromise takes place when a company doesn't wish to purchase a license for unlimited use and chooses to pay-per-use instead.  With pay-per-use, the company can't assess every candidate and they waste tremendous amounts of valuable time on unnecessary interviews and misguided inclusion.  This nearly always results in the wrong candidates advancing through to the interview, the wrong candidates being chosen to take an assessment, and findings of "not recommended" being the rule rather than the exception.

3. Compromising Assessment Use - Assuming that you're assessing everyone in the first step with the best sales-specific assessment available, the manner in how you use it is important too.  Your assessment is configured to recommend only those candidates who will succeed in the role as described above.  The proper way to use the assessment is to conduct a short phone interview with only "recommended" candidates, assuring that they sound great and meet the required experience.  Only the best of those you've called should receive an interview.  The Compromise takes place when an executive does one or more of the following six bad things:

    • Interview even though a candidate was "not recommended".
    • Automatically hire because the candidate was "recommended".
    • Interview prior to the assessment, leading to the executive falling in love with that candidate, usually "not recommended" after being subsequently assessed.
    • Use the assessment only as a data point, ignoring the recommendation.
    • Lower the assessment standards and criteria to allow more candidates to be recommended.
    • Make exceptions.

Obviously, there is more to the successful use of a sales candidate assessment than the actual assessment and candidate selections.  Many companies get it wrong at every step.  The companies which do get it right get very consistent results.  By following the process and not making exceptions they always get top-notch salespeople, leading to revenue increases.

Want to learn more?  I'll be discussing What's Preventing Your Sales Force From Over-Achieving in an SMMConnect Webinar on Wednesday, September 26, at 1:00 PM ET.  Learn more here.

You can try OMG's Sales Candidate Assessments with a 72-hour Free Trial.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, sales aptitude test, predictive, behavioral styles assessment

More Sales Assessment Imposters Exposed

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 06:05 AM

When I call a sales assessment an imposter, I am usually referring to a personality or a behavioral styles assessment that has been adapted for sales.  The adaptation is usually quite spectacluar with their marketing as the assessments always sound like they were built for sales.  When they rename some findings on their reports to appear more sales-specific, the adaptation is complete.  However, the actual assessments remain essentially the same.  The questions that people are asked and the internal analyses remain unchanged, but the assessment company swaps some of the findings for personal traits and behaviors that have been traditionally associated with selling.  These traits and behaviors are uncovered by asking questions in social settings rather than business or sales settings.  As a result, the translations to sales are often inaccurate, meaning that the findings are not predictive of sales performance.  If you want to read more about the difference between personality and behavioral styles assessments compared to OMG's sales-specific assessments, you can find many examples here.

Last week, I received an email promoting one such assessment.  This was their headline:

headlineThey provided five examples and because two were companies that increased sales, we are led to believe that this company's predictive assessments are for sales roles.  When you visit their website, you learn that they have assessments for nearly every role in nearly every industry.  For the offerings to be this broad, only a personality assessment could be this flexible.  And while the information in personality assessments can be helpful, they have absolutely no correlation to sales, sales success, or sales performance.

Upon further investigation, the site provided these options for sales (emphasis on retail and B2C):

drop downIf you choose Sales Engineers, they recommend two of their assessments - neither of which has anything to do with selling:


For those of you who employ Sales Engineers, the two assessments listed above can help you determine how effective they could be at problem-solving, but not engineering or sales.

If you choose Financial Services Sales Agents or some of the other options provided, they recommend this personality assessment:


Apparently, they believe that the personality traits required for customer service are the same as those required for sales success.  If that was true, then you would be able to move your entire customer service team into sales roles, not only with success, but without push back.  You already know that your customer service people have no interest whatsoever in selling!

Assessments can have a huge impact on selection, diagnosis and development of the sales organization.  However, if you choose the wrong assessments - imposters - you won't receive any of the powerful intelligence or predictive benefits that OMG provides its users.  

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, predictive

Another Sales Assessment Takes on OMG - What Does it Reveal?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Apr 04, 2012 @ 08:04 AM

comparisonToday, we have another rare opportunity to compare a personality assessment, masquerading as a sales assessment, to OMG's sales-specific assessment.  A candidate took the test with which the recruiter was familiar, Sales Achievement Predictor (SalesAP), while the client asked the candidate to take OMG's assessment.

I later received an email asking if I could explain why OMG's assessment said "Not Recommended" and the SalesAP said "Highly Recommended".  In general terms, SalesAP, like all personality assessments, makes assumptions about its sales findings. 

  • SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to make cold calls, but how do they know that?  The candidate had Initiative and Extroversion as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to cold calling.  But that isn't necessarily so.  OMG found that the candidate also had strong Need for Approval and Difficulty Recovering from Rejection - two conditions that actually hinder cold calling.
  • SalesAP states that the candidate had the ability to close, but how do they know that?  The candidate has Competitiveness and Goal Orientation as findings, so they incorrectly assume that translates to closing.  But that isn't necessarily so.  OMG found that the candidate has only 11% of the attributes of the Consultative selling skill set and 11% of the attributes of the Closer skill set.  In addition, he had 4, out of a possible 5, Major Weaknesses with a High (bad) Severity - all factors that inhibit effective closing.
  • SalesAP states that the candidate had a Strong Disposition to Selling, but how do they know that?  I believe it's simply a sum of the first two findings!  OMG found that while the candidate Enjoys Selling, he had a very low Sales Posturing Score, so he'll struggle making good first impressions.
  • What SalesAP is completely unable to identify are specific selling skills that are relevent to the sales specific role that this salesperson would fill.  OMG found that this candidate would be unable to Sell Value, a requirement for a company that has either a complex sale or products that are priced higher than the competition.
This personality test, and others like it, simply look at ranges of scores and if the scores are similar with those of successful salespeople, they assume that this person will be successful too.  But unsuccessful salespeople regularly score high in these dimensions too!  Personality tests are great when you simply want to know more about an individual.  However, when it comes to salespeople, there are three things that personality tests are not:
  1. Role-specific,
  2. Sales-specific, and
  3. Predictive of sales performance.
It's not practical to use personality tests as a sole hiring or development tool, but it's fine to use them as a complimentary tool, as long as you completely ignore the recommendations.  Why?  Personality tests can only report on what they can measure and they can only measure the responses to their questions.  Unfortunately, the questions are asked in social settings, rather than sales settings, and the findings have very little relevance to sales.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, Sales Candidate, Personality Tests, predictive

10 Reasons - Don't Worry When Sales Candidates Don't Take the Test

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 19, 2012 @ 06:01 AM

We  instruct clients to have their sales candidates take the Sales Candidate assessment very early in the recruiting process. It's the first step after the client receives their resumes.  Clients carefully spell out exactly how the entire process will work and explain that the assessment is simply the first step.

Recent statistics show that only 34% of the candidates are taking the assessment without additional prompts.  Isn't that awful?

Maybe - let's explore it further.

We should consider that the following ten scenarios are all possible reasons why candidates fail to complete the assessment:

  1. RISK AVERSE - they think it's a scam and they're afraid to click the link
  2. NARCISSIST - they think they are above such nonsense as having to take an assessmentNarcissistic Salesperson
  3. POOR ATTENTION TO DETAIL - they suck at following directions
  4. LACK OF CONFIDENCE - they do click the link, take one look at the questions and realize they are over their head
  5. NOT QUALIFIED - individuals are not a salespeople so this prevents them from pursuing the opportunity
  6. POOR FIT - they don't have the background you are looking for so they won't pursue the opportunity
  7. CAN'T MULTI-TASK - they begin taking the assessment, get called away and never return to complete it
  8. LONE RANGER - they didn't take the process you laid out seriously
  9. POOR NOTE TAKER - they intended to take the assessment and forgot to do it
  10. REACTIVE - They were waiting for you to call and ask them to take the assessment
I would be the first to say that 34% is a terrible completion percentage.  But considering most of the reasons, would you really want to waste one minute of your time reviewing their resumes, talking with them on the phone, interviewing them face-to-face or even considering them for the position?  If you are doing the hiring, is the 34% completetion really such a bad thing?
Instead, the 66% who don't complete the assessment simply become the victims of the first filter.  The assessment itself is the second filter - recommending only 25% - 50% of those who do take the assessment.  The variation is a direct result of the configuration of the assessment and how strong you need your salespeople to be, based on the challenges they will face.
The next filter is a phone call with the the recommended candidates.  Clients learn that of those recommended, they don't all sound great and some don't fit.  The best of the candidates who survive the first 3 filters get interviewed, the first time in the process where the hiring manager really has to invest any time.  Interviewing skills are extremely important for this step, where the hiring manager must determine if the candidate owns what is written on their resume or they simply penned a work of fiction.  
Is your sales recruiting process this efficient? Do you have and use the skills necessary for being able to conduct a thorough, intensive, challenging 30 minute interview and know at that point whether you have found your next salesperson?

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, omg, sales selection, sales assessments, objective management group

Will This Sales Candidate Really Fail If We Hire Him?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 @ 22:10 PM

This week I called the type of candidate that traditional HR professionals love - his resume was formatted, there were no typos, his background was exactly what my client craved - but the assessment wasn't so impressed with him; he was a borderline candidate at best.  Normally this candidate would not have received a call from me but because he was a good fit, I was looking for a needle in a haystack candidate (again) and was on the cusp, there was no downside to a 3-minute call.

What a disaster!  He didn't engage me ("Hi"), couldn't articulate how his experience met the description in the job posting ("I did all of that"), failed to string a complete sentence together ("Mine was more money") and didn't provide a single example, detail or explanation.  He also failed to ask a single question.  And he was on the cusp.  Weak salespeople don't sound that bad so why didn't the assessment tell me about this issue?

It turns out that while the major findings we typically focus on were acceptable, there was one finding - The Sales Posturing Index - that was the lowest I had ever seen.  On a scale to 100, "Fred" scored 20! 

SalesPosturingWhile Fred was confident enough, he had no clue how poorly he came across, how awful his first impression was, and how badly he presented himself.  Most obvious during the 3-minute call were the following Posturing Qualities that he didn't possess: "Develops Relationships Early", "Consultative Skill Set", "Sales Optimism", "Sales Empathy", "Sales Assertiveness", "Goal Oriented", and "Controls Emotions".

As always, this assessment is very predictive and you only need to believe in it?

Which side of the cusp was the candidate on?


When it says Not Recommended, you really need to believe the science behind the recommendation - if you dare to hire one of these candidates 75% of them will fail inside of 6 months.

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales hiring, sales recruiting, Sales Candidate, accurate sales assessment, predictive sales assessment, sales selection

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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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