Skills testing for sales candidates

Skills testing is a fundamental element of any well thought-out and structured recruitment process. However, what does it comprise and why should managers and directors invest in it as a technique?

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Why is it important?

A recent report has urged companies who are looking to recruit graduates to be more open-minded. The research by talent analytics company SHL found that firms were failing to take on potentially the best candidates as many had too narrow a view of what constituted top talent.

Nowadays, recruitment processes need to develop beyond just looking at whether or not a person has a sufficient degree or has passed ‘x’ amount of exams.

While face-to-face interviews are an integral part of any recruitment drive, analysing skills is a tangible, efficient and practical way to put candidates to the test in order to ascertain whether or not they truly have what it takes for a certain role in a company.

In a sales job, there are a number of different competences which applicants must possess to be potentially successful – for example a passion for what they would be selling, self-belief and confidence, a positive mental attitude, the ability to negotiate and problem-solve, and perseverance.

It can be hard to identify some of these skills just by having a conversation with the candidate, which is where skills testing can put candidates through their paces in a hands-on way.

Why might it be worth getting help?

Those in charge of recruitment who are unsure about how to go about testing for different business capabilities might find hiring the help of a sales recruitment agency (such as this one that offers well over 1,000 different tests to choose from) helpful, as it will have years of experience and expertise in doing so.

Furthermore, an agency will facilitate the realisation of tests online, meaning that companies needn’t resource valuable time to carry it out themselves.

While on the subject of existing staff, it may be possible for current personnel to take the tests too in order to set a benchmark and make fair comparisons with results.

Not only can an agency facilitate carrying out the tests, but it will also help firms to analyse the results in order to truly get the most of the process. It’s all very well hosting logical reasoning exams and testing for telephone etiquette, but if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for or how to analyse the results then the test itself becomes futile.

What different techniques are there?

Tests can encompass everything from technical knowledge of the sales industry and concepts to languages and more general abilities, analysing candidates’ office skills, including spelling, grammar, arithmetic and commercial etiquette, for example.

Firms can then use the reports generated from these tests in order to make more informed decisions about applicants, with results considered individually or as part of a wider group in order to make comparisons and formulate rankings for certain skills depending on the weight they carry.

Some of the most popular tests include those looking at sales concepts, office skills, research capabilities, marketing fundamentals, call centre sales aptitude (both for incoming and outgoing calls), telephone etiquette, logical reasoning, vocabulary tests and computer software skills – amongst many others.

Tests can also come in more than one language if you are looking to recruit bilingual speakers or those for whom English is not their mother tongue.


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