Job Interviews & Psychometric Assessments: How to Hire the Best Sales People

Interviewing potential new staff has never been easy, and many candidates today have been preparing from school for this moment. It has therefore become more of a challenge and a sophisticated approach is needed.


Plan your recruitment process step by step so you know how many stages there will be before you will be ready to offer a position. It is best to make the recruitment process clear to your recruitment partners and candidates, otherwise you could lose the best candidates because they assume they are not selected and look elsewhere.

In our increasingly busy lives taking the time to get ready to conduct interviews can be a challenge, but it is a must if you want to hire the best. In the same way that you expect your candidates to come prepared with a good knowledge of your company, you need to ensure you are ready to interview them. Read their CV in advance and highlight any areas that require clarification and plan your questions carefully.

Block out adequate time for interviews, it is a mistake to try and fit them into an already busy day, so ensure there are no interruptions or distractions, then you can focus on learning about your candidate.

Study carefully the results of all psychometric tests you have conducted on the candidate before the interview. Many candidates will try and portray what they think the interviewer wants to see, so feedback from a personality measure at an early stage in the interview is a highly effective way of getting past any ‘interviewee front’ to the real person.

Why use Psychometric Tools?

Over 70% of all FTSE 500 companies use psychometric tools as an integral part of their recruitment process and over the last decade an increasing number of small to medium size companies have followed suite. As a recruitment aid, psychometric tools deliver un-biased pre-selection information that strengthens the interview and selection process. They can be used easily and effectively to assess many attributes from personality, numeracy and reasoning skills, to sales skills. The most popular are personality measures which add some impartiality to the process; that said they should never be the final arbiter, just an important source of additional information.

PPI™ is a DISC based personality measurement which provides an in- depth, easy to understand report covering some twenty different areas of work-based personality, including strengths, weaknesses, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, plus learning style and likely sales ability. It also covers how they work within a team and how to manage them effectively, their perception of their current role and potential changes under pressure.

SPI™ is a quick and easy-to-use sales screening tool that has been developed and tested over a number of years within the sales industry. Completed prior to interview, this two-part questionnaire is designed to measure three key factors that help determine sales ability:

  • Desire for Success – Do the candidates have the inner desire to succeed in their chosen field? Where desire is not present, all the sales techniques in the world will not make them successful sales people.
  • Aptitude for Sales - Identifies if candidates have an aptitude for working in sales. Staff with the right sales aptitude are not only much easier to train, but also far more likely to succeed.
  • Human Relations - Highlights the likelihood of applicants being able to empathise with clients, an invaluable skill in successful sales and negotiation.

Be Decisive…

Generally you will have several candidates for each role and you need to give careful consideration before offer letters go out, that said, when you are spoilt for choice and delay making a decision it will often be that the best candidate has already gone elsewhere. They have the confidence in their ability and if the feel they are not valued, they will not hang around - so make your selection process as quick as is practical and then offer the position to the candidate who stands out.

We hope you have enjoyed this guest article by Sean Hutton, Managing Director at Human Capital Development.

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