Using Assessment Tests As A Hiring Tool

Part of every sales manager’s job is to add to the team.  Hire new talent.  You think you know what you’re looking for:  that “spark,” that intangible “it” factor, that “something about this candidate” that tells your intuition that this is the one.  You do look at resumes and previous sales figures (if they have them), but you also look for personality, drive, determination, and people skills.  Not exactly an exact science, is it?  There’s lots of room for error.  So how do you combat that uncertainty?  You use assessment tools.

Using behavior or personality assessment tests on candidates in the hiring process can be one of the most useful tools in a hiring manager’s box.  In competitive arenas like medical sales, laboratory sales, clinical diagnostics sales, medical supplies sales, medical equipment sales, biotechnology sales, pharmaceutical sales, DNA products sales, cellular/molecular products sales, hospital equipment sales, or medical device sales, knowing the traits that make a successful salesperson will give you critical information to add to the resume and the interview so that you can make the best hire possible. 

Some of the more common tests include DiSC, Caliper, and OPQ. 

DISC is the classic test.  It provides a behavioral profile across 4 primary dimensions:  Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.  It’s not a specific skills test, but it does describe behavior patterns and styles. 

Caliper works with you and your company to create an ideal profile of your top performers.  Their assessments measure for personality characteristics, individual motivations, likely behaviors and potential for success in a specific job.

OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire) measures persuasiveness, teamwork, independence, relationship building, planning, attention to detail, conscientiousness, tolerance to stress, results orientation, leadership style, motivation and energy.

One important tip for managers:  administer these tests on your current sales force first.  You know what qualities and traits have proven the most successful for your company, so you can use these results as a benchmark to measure new candidates against.

On the high end, assessments can run between $300 – $400.  For this, you get actual recommendations with very comprehensive and specific information.  For a little more work on your part, you can get assessments for as little as $50.  But, for basic cash, you get basic information–personality traits, qualities, etc.–and you do your own interpretations.  All of these tests can be done online.

At PHC Consulting, we think assessment tests are so important, we use them for every employee that we hire ourselves. We encourage our client companies to use them, as well.

Written by Peggy McKee - the medical sales recruiter
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4 Responses to “Using Assessment Tests As A Hiring Tool”

  1. Merle on April 30th, 2009 2:04 pm

    The DISC is not an appropriate tool for selection. It has less than desirable reliability and has never provided evidence that it can accurately predict performance (i.e., validity) by independent research. Same goes for the Caliper. Use the OPQ32 – it has significantly more robust research behind it.

  2. the medical sales recruiter on May 7th, 2009 8:05 am

    Thank you for the comment. If you have an article that gives more information on the OPQ and why it is more valuable, I would love to read it and maybe share it with my readers.

  3. trevor price on November 1st, 2010 11:17 am

    I disagree with Merle:
    I believe that the DISC Profile personality test is one of the best ways for managers and HR departments to effectively learn how to assist their employees, or in this case, new hires. I swear by the DISC profile.

  4. the medical sales recruiter on May 28th, 2011 7:53 am

    I love DISC.