Sales recruitment and the use of online psychometric assessments

Psychometric assessments for sales staff are all the rage, but beware – no one criterion is fail-safe. Everyone seems to be using online testing these days. That’s fine, however many people (candidates and companies alike) have fallen foul of testing, especially when it comes to sales selection.

Online testing is becoming the way of the future. However, many online assessments are being marketed as credible with little regard for their limitations. Security is still the biggest issue.

Some web-based test publishers have prioritised speed, ease of integration and usability over a rigorous approach to testing itself. Unless security issues are fully addressed, the test content can be duplicated and candidates can “practise”. This reduces the test’s integrity and compromises the validity of results, especially in the case of remote testing, where you can’t control the testing environment or verify the test-taker’s identity.

Guaranteeing virtually instant results limits online test offerings to basic screening instruments, rather than comprehensive measurement of job-related competencies.

Furthermore, bypassing psychologists increases the risk of litigation, due to inappropriate test selection and interpretation of results by untrained personnel. Substantial research and development is required to develop credible assessment tools, which some web-based publishers have had little time to undertake.

The most realistic option is to partner with a reputable psychological assessment provider, who can provide relevant assessment tools regardless of whether they are administered on line or in the standard format. Even then, psychological assessments should never stand alone. Their real value is in complementing an employer’s own evaluation procedures.

A multi assessment approach is recommended for sales selection, however you should make sure you use processes, tools and information that help not hinder.

The average percentage increase in sales output from improved selection is approximately 2.5 times greater in sales jobs than in low-complexity non-sales jobs. If you want more information, please go to a more in-depth article Testing On Your Own Territory Discussion Paper on how to get the best out of online assessments especially when trying to hire sales people who can sell.


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