Two Critical Tests for Sales Candidates (Part 2)

In part one I expressed my despair that companies don’t do a more thorough job of selecting salespeople.

My concerns stem from my years in the sales training business where I was too often brought into a company and asked to basically train pigs to fly. They wanted to train salespeople who, at best, should have been selling something else, and at worst, should not have been in sales at all.

Don’t get me wrong, not all the salespeople were misfits or duds, but many were. Too many, in my mind. I wondered how these people got hired for sales in the first place. In some cases, they were masters of selling themselves into a job but unable to sell little else.

I started to use our Sales Temperament Assessment (STA) to assess workshop participants prior to the training so at least I knew which ones were likely to "get it and use it," which ones would "get it and maybe use it," and those who would "get it but not be able to use it."

While I recommend the use of the STA as part of the hiring process, of course, I also have two other "tests" that I like to see companies use.

The first is a mini competency quiz which consists of 10 sales-related questions that allow you to assess the candidate’s knowledge of selling. You’d be surprised what this short quiz uncovers. More important than what the person knows is what he doesn’t know. It will show you what areas the candidate will need help in should you decide to go ahead and hire him.

If you don’t want to create your own quiz, drop me an email and I’ll send you mine. I’ll even include the answers. 🙂

The second test is a sales simulation where you ask the candidate to go through an appropriate sales scenario with you as the prospect. Choose a neutral item or service as you don’t want to know if the person knows the product, you want to know if he can sell, period.

Many candidates talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk, they fail to make the grade.

We include a couple of simple sales scenarios, along with a detailed sales call checklist, as part of a Hiring Interview Toolkit we make available to clients who have signed up for our Sales Temperament Assessment services. Of course, you can always make up your own sales simulation fairly quickly.

I know you’re busy. Everyone is. But if you’re not going to take the time to hire smart and test your candidates, then you might as well just flip a coin. That way you’ll save time while having the same odds of success at hiring a winner.

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4 Responses to “Two Critical Tests for Sales Candidates (Part 2)”

  1. Yvonne Franklin October 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Hi Brian, I stumbled upon your article and am very interested in the 10-question sales quiz. Please let me know how I might get my hand on it! Thanks, Yvonne

    • Brian October 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm #


      I’ll email you a copy.

      Brian J.

      • clairee April 21, 2015 at 9:33 am #

        Hi Brian
        Can you please kindly also forward me a copy of your 10 question quiz?
        Thanks, Claire

  2. Pat September 16, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    Hi Brian, I am interested in receiving a copy of your 10-question sales quiz.
    Thanks, Pat.

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