Personality Assessments Help Hiring and Employee Development

Personality Assessments such as  Caliper, Disc, Gallup, HBDI and FiroB are popular tools that yield useful, consistent information for medical sales managers.

There are 2 scenarios that assessments are normally used:

  1. As a hiring tool in the hiring process.
  2. As an employee development tool for sales managers.

In the hiring process, you normally take an assessment at the very beginning of the interview process or towards the end.

An assessment that is used in the beginning is usually used to screen out people that wouldn’t fit in the job. When I say fit, maybe it is a very technical scientific job and the candidate didn’t have a science degree. The employer may be using an assessment that focuses on abstract reasoning because that is seen as a good measure of intelligence and they are trying to gauge if the candidate will be able to grasp their new technology quickly. If it is an accounting job, maybe the employer is focused more on the candidate’s ability to work by themselves with no direction.

A good manager believes “Where there is smoke, there is fire” and if the assessment comes back with more than 2 points of contention, they may think they are better off passing on you and moving on to the next candidate.  They don’t want to gamble with their new hires.

It’s much less likely to keep you from getting the job if you are taking the assessment as a final step to receiving an offer—unless your assessment comes back with anti-social behavior patterns, the manager will probably move forward.

People who vociferously disagree with their results are almost always a personnel issue waiting to happen. They think they have all the skills needed for their job and they are great. The truth is that is they don’t have the needed skills and probably won’t change.

Personality assessments work similarly in terms of employee development.  As a manager, sometimes you have a really good employee who wants to move to a different role. Maybe they are in a technical staff position and they would like to transition to a line sales position. You like the employee’s values and work ethic and you want to help them advance in their career, but you don’t want to set them up for failure by putting them in a job that doesn’t match their skill set.

So what happens when they take the test and it shows they don’t like to communicate with people and are introverted?

A good manager will handle it correctly by sitting down with the team member and having a conversation about the assessment and try and understand how the team member perceives and interprets the results.

The conversation should be warm and focused on the individual. As you go through the assessment with them and ask their feedback, you will start to get a picture of how that team member sees his or her self. When you start reviewing some of the needed skill sets for the new job and how their results compare to that, often the team member will see that where they want to go doesn’t utilize their strengths and it would be a really difficult transition.

What happens next?  Are they doomed to stay in that role forever?  No.

The manager and the team member work together to assemble a plan that will develop or supplement the areas they need to be successful.  If they are poor public speakers, maybe Toastmasters is a good idea for them.  If they have no clue what a day in the life of a sales rep is like, what about scheduled ride-along days in the field?

If the assessment and the review is done right, both parties leave with a better understanding of the team member and where they want to go in the organization and what skills they will need to be successful in a new role.

Your thoughts?  Comments?  Put them in the comment section or e-mail me at:

Kraig McKee

Snr Recruiter

Written by Peggy McKee - the medical sales recruiter
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