We are in rapid-growth mode and are doubling our sales team every 3 months. Many HR managers I know are using personality tests as part of the hiring process to help select between candidates. We would be using this for junior sales positions, after completing the initial screening call. It would help us evaluate which candidates are the best fit for in-person interviewing and hiring decisions. What tools have you found effective? Any other thoughts on how best to apply these screens? Would you recommend hiring a consultant to facilitate or run an in-house program?
I would be curious to know why you feel it is important to use personality testing. I have hired over 20 sales reps and I have never used any testing. I have conversations with my hires because that is going to tell me more about their personality any day than a test. Plus you might eliminate someone because of a test score that could be a great fit for your organization. I have a pretty strong process for hiring sales people and could share with you my steps and even the questions if you would like.
I like Emergenetics. It tests both personality and one's preferences (thinking + behaving). It is used for hiring, onboarding and team building. Each assessment costs $120 and you need to hire a certified associate - I am one of them - to debrief the results and coaching accordingly.
Call if you want to know more about the test.
Personality tests work sometimes. I would want to see them in action. Here is an idea. Put out three questions that you would like your sales person to know and have them summit a video of them answering these questions. This way you can really see their personality, from their posture to their voice.
I'm personally a huge fan of the DISC personality test. It's short, direct, and always has an accurate result in years of experience. You can find the test inexpensive online or buy a license to print and distribute yourself. I know specifically that Sales is one of the potential personalities so it correlates directly to what you're looking and evaluating for.
Dave Kurlan's OMG Assessment http://www.objectivemanagement.com is the best I've seen.
It's not cheap but it is accurate. And I have taken it myself.
The problem with using personality tests or, more accurately termed, behavioral indicators as a tool for assessing salespeople, is that they are not constructed to discover sales ability.
You can, for instance, get a behavioral indicator to tell you that a CFO scores high in "Drive." But what does this really tell you? Put that CFO in a sales position and maybe they'll fold up like a wet noodle--they may well be "driven" to excel as an accountant and decision maker, but not in a selling situation.
As for relying only on conversations and your gut feelings...the best talkers will win that one. We all think we're great students of human nature, but the reality and the facts are that we'd have better luck pulling the name of our new hire out of a hat.
I really like DiSC - because understanding how someone thinks really helps me understand how they will fit into the team. I like to have a sales team that is diverse in skills and personalities so that we can match people with customers - this really allows me to better understand how they will react to the existing team and whether they have some traits that others do not.