Personality Profiling: why attitude more than your skills is critical for a successful sales career

No matter how strong your CV may be, employers are looking for something more than a list of achievements, skills and impressive past employers. These days, especially when you’re likely to be up against a number of other strong candidates for a job, the key quality that will set you apart is your personality.

You might think that this will naturally come through in an interview, but it’s not as simple as that. You’re in sales, you know how to sell, you’ve probably thought long and hard about how best you can sell yourself in an interview, you’ve probably created some form of a performance that is designed to impress. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean necessarily that your personality will shine through and it’s ‘you’ that an employer really wants to see.

Personality is everything

Increasingly, employers are turning to personality profiling as an aid to the recruitment selection process – to help make the process more streamlined and cost effective, but also to help identify those candidates who will have the right attitude for the job and who will be the best fit for their particular organisation.

Skills can be learned and developed, but you are what you are, it’s just about impossible to change your personality. And it’s that that will most influence your ability to be successful in a particular sales role. If you’re impatient to make things happen or are highly energetic in your approach, but deals can’t be closed that quickly, you may find yourself working in an environment that is wrong for both you and your employer. If, however, you are a strategic thinker who enjoys putting plans into place that will reap rewards over a longer period of time, you will be the ideal candidate for a role that demands sustained effort. And being likable and confident goes without saying in a sales position, along with the strength of character to take a few knocks on the chin when a sale falls through.

Taking the tests

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to personality profiling tests, and it’s best not to try and pre-empt what the prospective employer may want to hear – you cannot possibly know how answers will be interpreted or what will be viewed as a strength or weakness. Employers will use the findings to inform the next interview stage – probing more deeply if need be to discover why you might have answered particular questions a certain way. It doesn’t mean this is a negative, it may even show up a very positive quality that demonstrates you have great potential.

So it’s best to be as honest as you possibly can and let the real you show. At the end of the day, there will be some sales jobs you are chasing that you think are perfect for you, you’ll get shortlisted for second interview and then lose out to another candidate. But then there will be one or two where it is patently obvious that you are the right candidate for the job, and if you’ve had to complete a personality profile, you can be pretty confident that it will be the right job for you too.

There are plenty of sites on the internet offering personality profile tests – some are free to do, others are subject to a fee. It’s well worth trying out a few so that you know the kind of questions you might face. You may also find our article on psychometric testing of interest too.

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