Measuring Sales Potential: Unleash Your Team’s Best with Top Sales Assessment Tools

Here are a few sobering stats. 74% of salespeople fail. 20% of salespeople do okay but could use improvement. And only a tiny fraction of salespeople are considered “elite” at just 6%.

This means that taking a conventional approach to sales hiring where you choose candidates based merely on their resume, previous positions, education, etc. is likely to end up with mediocre results at best. The numbers just aren’t in your favor.

That’s why a growing number of sales leaders are using sales assessment tools that implement science-based techniques to objectively determine who’s the best fit for a role and who possesses the right hard skills, as well as the right soft skills.

Why Should You Use Top Sales Assessment Tools?

A lot of candidates can look great on paper. Maybe they’ve got a robust resume jam-packed with impressive credentials, a stellar track record, and have been employed by industry standouts.

That’s great, but can they actually sell?

More specifically, can they sell effectively in your unique sales environment? And do they have the specific personality traits that it takes to succeed with your company?

These aren’t questions that can’t necessarily be answered by looking at a resume. That’s where sales assessment tools come in.

Designed to evaluate and measure the performance, skills, and capabilities of prospective salespeople, these tools offer several distinct benefits.

  • They allow you to objectively analyze candidates using quantifiable data
  • You can easily identify each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses
  • They offer scores for an easy comparison of different sales candidates
  • You can avoid bias that naturally creeps in
  • They can be customized for your specific sales environment
  • They streamline the sales hiring process as a whole, freeing up more time for you to focus on core business activities (this is especially important for smaller businesses that lack a dedicated hiring team)

And with many of the top sales assessment tools boasting remarkable numbers in terms of the results they help achieve, it’s easy to see why this technology has become so popular in recent years.

With that said, here are my top sales assessment tools, including core features, benefits, and more.

The Original Sales Candidate Assessment By Objective Management Group

One of the biggest selling points of The Sales Candidate Assessment is the massive volume of data behind it. As of late 2023, it’s been used by over 37,000 companies to make over 111,000 hires across 200 different industries.

For this reason, it’s been one of the most consistently reliable sales assessment tools and can be used by a wide variety of companies in multiple industries. As I mentioned earlier, a big reason for the success of these assessments is that they can be customized for each unique selling environment. And that’s certainly the case with The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment.

“Your customized Role Specification allows you to specify the unique requirements of your position. Candidates are then assessed against your criteria to create a recommendation custom-tailored to your needs.”

In terms of insights it provides, you can assess:

  • A candidate’s will to sell
  • Their “sales DNA,” meaning whether or not they have the traits to produce positive outcomes
  • Their core competencies, such as qualifying and closing leads
  • How trainable they are
  • Where they rank in comparison to other candidates (their sales percentile)

This combined with the simplicity and intuitiveness of using The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment, and it’s a tool that many sales leaders can greatly benefit from.

The DriveTest By Sales Drive

This tool also has a lot of data behind it, with 150,000 sales assessments being administered to date. One of the main reasons why we like The DriveTest is because it’s so simple and straightforward.

First, you give the test to potential sales candidates, where The DriveTest analyzes essential factors like critical personality traits needed to thrive in sales and non-teachable traits, including achievement, competitiveness, and optimism.

The test also includes 42 forced-choice questions, where “candidates must choose between three options that sound equally positive, making this sales personality test very difficult to fake.”

Then, The DriveTest will provide you with a color-coded scale that measures each trait, while also quantifying the score from 1 to 5. This simple rating allows you to instantly assess each candidate and see how they stack up against other applicants.

From there, it’s just a matter of using this data to decide who’s the best fit for your sales team. Note that candidates who receive a score of 4 to 5 in “the green range” are nearly twice as likely to become sales leaders.

The Caliper Profile By Talogy

The first thing to note about The Caliper Profile is that it not only helps you hire elite salespeople, but it also helps you manage them post-hire so they reach their full potential.

In their own words, ” The Caliper Profile is a unique talent solution in that you can use your assessment data even after the hire is made. By using your new hire’s profile data, you are able to explore areas of opportunity and growth to develop them further.”

And that’s important because continued salesperson development is crucial to staying on top of your industry and winning against competitors.

I also like the thoroughness of this sales assessment tool, as it analyzes a staggering 280 behaviors, 56 competencies, and 21 behavioral traits.

So as you can see, it’s highly comprehensive and capable of providing a 360-view of sales candidates.

One area The Caliper Profile really focuses on is mental toughness, where it looks at:

  • Level-headedness
  • Stress tolerance
  • Resiliency
  • Energy/persistence
  • Self-structure

As you probably know, being mentally tough is an incredibly value trait to have in salespeople. Being able to deal with consistent rejection and the overall ups and downs of the position is essential to long-term success. The Caliper Profile gives you a crystal clear view of how each candidate fairs in this area.

Besides that, it can uncover a candidate’s most natural behaviors, along with behaviors to investigate.

Here’s an example.

Put this all together, and The Caliper Profile is definitely a sales assessment to consider.

The Predictive Talent Assessment By Chally

Next is The Predictive Talent Assessment, which, right off the bat, has some great numbers in terms of the impact it can have. According to Chally, hiring managers who use it see:

  • 46% faster time to hire
  • 43% lower cost per hire
  • Salespeople that are 21% more likely to reach their sales goals

Some particular things to note about this tool is that it analyzes 138 sales competencies, with that number still growing. It’s highly customizable, allowing you to find elite salespeople across a wide variety of industries and specific sales roles. There’s a “large database spanning five decades with normative samples of over 600,000 adults with broad representation of race, ethnicity, age, gender, national origin, and global geography.”

Also, The Predictive Talent Assessment offers clear, simple reporting along with recommendations on how to properly utilize the information to make smart sales hiring decisions.

There are a few different types of assessments you can perform with this tool, including the Best Fit Sales report, which indicates which candidate is best suited for the position you’re hiring for, and the Motivations and Habits Report, which lets you know how a candidate approaches sales situations.

And my personal favorite is the Individual Strengths Report, which breaks down core competencies and shows what percentile a candidate is when compared to other respondents.

Although this sales assessment tool isn’t quite as thorough as some of the others on this list like The Original Sales Assessment, it’s still more than sufficient for many hiring managers.


Perhaps the most impressive thing about SalesGenomix is that it’s an assessment tool that’s built around 20 years of field research, involving half a million sales professionals. As I’ve mentioned before, the more data that goes into analyzing salespeople, the more reliably you can predict their likelihood of succeeding in your unique sales environment.

So that’s one of the main reasons why SalesGenomix made the list.

Another benefit is that it looks at 140 different sales attributes and can assess a candidate’s qualifications across 14 sales roles, including sales management. Whether you need to hire someone for an entry-level sales position or someone for a senior leadership position, you can do so confidently with this tool.

Besides that, SalesGenomix is great if you have a candidate that has performed well in one role but they’re applying for a different one. If you’ve been reading the HireDNA blog for a while, you may know that I’m a big proponent of hiring sales professionals who are great at selling but don’t necessarily have direct experience with the specific role at hand.

I find that true skills and talent usually transfer, and most elite salespeople can quickly learn a new role. With SalesGenomix, you can “rate the success potential of a given candidate across a dozen or so sales roles. So you can confidently make hiring decisions even when a promising candidate has limited experience at the role you are trying to fill.”

Besides that, this assessment has the ability to test your existing sales team when you want to promote from within. This comes in handy for succession planning or if you simply don’t want to look externally every time you need to make a hire.


While the final tool on this list isn’t specifically geared toward sales hiring, as it works for several types of careers, you can most definitely use it for assessing sales candidates. And the overall simplicity and effectiveness of the platform combined with how much time it can save make it a great choice, in my opinion.

Some of TestGorilla’s main selling points besides its simplicity is its ability to drastically lower unconscious bias and offer an amazing customer experience — both of which are vital for creating a winning company.

To use TestGorilla, you first choose an assessment name and job role.

Then you choose the best tests from the company’s large archive of tests and add custom questions if you want.

From there, you invite candidates to participate and analyze the results.

An added plus is that if you ever want to hire for other positions outside of sales, such as a bookkeeper or developer, everything is ready to go with TestGorilla.

Building a Winning Team with Top Sales Assessment Tools

In today’s hyper-competitive business world, “relying on a hunch” with sales hiring just won’t cut it. To give yourself the best chance of success, it’s critical to rely on science and data to accurately predict how a candidate will perform in your unique sales environment.

Each of these sales assessment tools offers different features, but all bring something valuable to the table. So if you’ve been considering implementing this type of software, these are good places to start. The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment in particular is one of the best pound-for-pound, with 92% of recommended candidates reaching the top half of the sales force.

82% of Companies Use a Pre-Employment Assessment Test: Should You?

A pre-employment assessment test is nothing new for high-level sales positions. They’ve been used for years to analyze candidates like account managers, regional sales managers, chief sales officers, and so on.

But in recent years, a growing number of companies have been using pre-employment assessment tests for nearly all positions, such as basic sales reps. The question is, does this make sense for your company? And if so, how should you approach it?

82% of Companies Now Use a Pre-Employment Assessment Test

A few years back, SHRM wrote a fascinating article about the rise of predictive assessments that referenced multiple studies on the topic. In it, SHRM writes, “according to the Talent Board’s 2016 Candidate Experience Research report, 82% of companies are using some form of pre-employment assessment test, and how they use assessments is evolving.

20 Reasons to Use Skill Assessment Tests | TalentLyft

Two particular types of popular screens are job simulations (54% of respondents are using these, according to the Talent Board study) and culture fit (51% using, a 22% increase from the Board’s 2014 study. While assessments once primarily were used for executive and mid-level leadership positions, today they’re commonly used for hourly and entry-level jobs.”

Note that the data SHRM referenced was from 2016. So it’s likely that even more companies are using a pre-employment assessment test in 2022. And with screening technology continually advancing and improving, this is a trend that’s likely to continue.

This brings me to my next point.

Is a Pre-Employment Assessment Test Right for You?

Let me first say that there’s no magic bullet for sales hiring, and you can never be 100% sure that a candidate will work out. That said, a pre-employment assessment test is pound-for-pound one of the most effective tools available for improving your sales hiring success rate.

When utilized correctly, a pre-employment assessment test offers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Quickly testing a candidate’s true abilities
  • Determining how good of a fit they are for a particular sales position
  • Determining how good of a cultural fit they are
  • Differentiating between two similarly skilled candidates to figure out who’s better
  • Efficiently filtering through a high volume of candidates
  • Reducing or even eliminating bias
  • Spending less time performing manual assessment tasks

Not only that, pre-employment assessments often improve the candidate’s experience because it gives them a fair chance to showcase their talents. When you put it all together, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular sales hiring tool and why an increasing number of companies are choosing to use it.

For that reason, I truly believe the vast majority of sales recruiters can benefit from using a pre-employment assessment test. If you’ve been considering using one but haven’t gotten around to it, now is a great time to do so.

How Should You Approach Pre-Employment Assessment Testing?

There are several ways to go about it. SHRM lists some specific types of tests and testing methods, including:

  • Cognitive ability tests
  • Personality tests
  • Aptitude tests
  • Honesty and integrity tests

For some companies, a pre-employment assessment test could be something as simple as asking a few cognitive questions regarding IQ, verbal ability, and deductive reasoning, along with some basic personality questions involving motivations, communication skills, and attitude. If you’re simply looking to uncover the essentials to better determine how good of a fit a particular candidate would be for a sales position, this can be sufficient.

But if you want to go a bit deeper (which is ideal in today’s competitive sales world), it’s usually best to use pre-employment testing software, as it streamlines the process and adds a level of objectivity that’s hard to achieve with conventional, manual techniques. Also, today’s software is highly advanced and capable of producing detailed data to help you make the best choice through visual reports.

Using HireDNA as an Assessment Tool

One particular platform that’s helpful for many sales recruiters is HireDNA, which both generates and screens candidates.

First, HireDNA uses intelligent matching that analyzes 20 key data points to find top-tier candidates that are perfect fits for the specific role and your hiring criteria. For example, this software looks at things like role, culture, and experience fit and provides a quantifiable number of how qualified a particular candidate is.

From there, HireDNA screens the candidates using a science-backed assessment and matching algorithm to objectively predict success before hiring. This takes the guesswork out of the process and is a highly accurate way to assess each candidate’s selling skills and overall capabilities. In turn, this filters out individuals who wouldn’t be a good fit and ensures only the highest quality standards.

In terms of effectiveness, 92% of candidates recommended through HireDNA go on to reach the top of the sales force during their first year, and 96% of hiring mistakes are eliminated. Besides, that turnover is reduced by a third on average.

Wrapping Up

Candidate testing has evolved dramatically in recent years. It’s gone from primarily testing higher-level positions to testing candidates at all levels. With 82% of companies now implementing some form of candidate testing, it’s clear that it’s working and can be quite effective. It’s just a matter of finding the right pre-employment assessment test for your company.

While simply asking a few questions can certainly work for making a basic assessment, most sales recruiters see the most success using a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA that features intelligent matching and science-based assessments because of the high accuracy and ability to consistently predict success. To learn more about HireDNA and see it in action, you can request a live demo today.

The Top Sales Assessment Tests for Finding Elite Salespeople

Finding quality salespeople isn’t easy. In fact, a quick glimpse at recent data shows that it’s incredibly difficult, with as many as 80% of sales candidate hires producing an “unsatisfactory result.”

That’s why more and more CEOs and sales leaders are turning to sales assessment tests to help identify the candidates who possess the core competencies needed to succeed, as well as the right “sales DNA.” Sales assessment tests take a science-based approach and powerful technology to sift through a large candidate pool and narrow it down to the best of the best, virtually eliminating the potential for error. 

Here are the top sales assessment tests available, along with their unique benefits. 

Objective Management Group’s Sales Candidate Assessment

Objective Management Group (OMG) is a true pioneer of the sales assessment industry. Their test is widely regarded as one of the best and most reliable, with a staggering 92% of recommended and hired candidates reaching the top half of their sales teams within the first year. 

It has even received the honor of being rated the #1 sales assessment by Top Sales World for nine years straight. 

One of the main reasons why this tool is so effective is because of the personalized approach it takes. “Your customized Role Specification allows you to specify the unique requirements of your position. Candidates are then assessed against your criteria to create a recommendation custom-tailored to your needs.”

It also leverages a massive volume of data from over 2 million salespeople across more than 31,000 companies. 

Some specific sales skills and competencies OMG’s Sales Assessment analyzes are:

  • 21 core selling skills
  • The will to sell
  • Motivation
  • Coachability
  • The “figure-it-out-factor”

So, if you’re looking for an exhaustive tool with an amazing track record, this is definitely one to consider. 

SalesFuel HIRE Sales Assessment Test

Referred to as “moneyball for sales hiring,” this assessment from SalesFuel also takes a highly data-driven approach and analyzes nine specific categories of sales competency, including everything from planning and preparation to self-management. 

This allows sales CEOs and sales leaders to objectively know for sure if a “candidate truly possesses the knowledge of their craft that comes from experience and success.” It’s a quick and effective way to determine whether a sales candidate is legitimate and capable of delivering on their promises or merely a “sales imposter.”

The SalesFuel HIRE Sales Assessment Test was developed by four of today’s leading sales experts…

  • Jeffrey Gitomer – Author, speaker, and business trainer
  • C. Lee Smith – CEO of SalesFuel and bestselling author of StreetCred
  • Tony Alessandra – Entrepreneur, business author, and famous keynote speaker
  • Jim Cathcart – Entrepreneur, speaker, and bestselling author of Relationship Selling

…who all bring their own brand of expertise to the table to create a comprehensive sales hiring formula to greatly increase your chance of success. 

The Brooks Talent Index Sales Assessment

This sales assessment “allows hiring managers to back up their gut feeling with validated science — and choose the candidate with the greatest fit and potential to succeed in the role.” The Brooks Talent Index does this by generating four key types of scientifically validated reports.

First, there’s behavior style, which Identifies how a candidate handles problems and challenges and how they adapt to their environment. 

Second, there’s motivators, which figures out the reasons why a candidate does the things they do and whether or not they have the drive to excel in a position. More specifically, the Brooks Talent Index looks at theoretical, utilitarian, aesthetic, social, individualistic, and traditional motivators.

Third, there’s the personal skills inventory, which assesses a candidate’s critical thinking skills to reveal the approach they take to making decisions, their primary strengths, as well as any biases that could hinder their decision making. 

Fourth and finally, this tool looks at sales skills to determine whether or not a candidate possesses the exact abilities needed to thrive within your company. It analyzes strengths, along with gaps in skills that could potentially be a problem. 

And as you can see from these graphs, this sales assessment test is very visual, making the findings easy to digest and understand. 


This final tool is built upon a massive volume of data, including 20 years of research and half a million sales professionals. Although not quite as accurate as predicting success as OMG’s sales assessment at 92%, SalesGenomix still boasts a high accuracy rate of 80%. 

It’s also been praised by reputable sales and marketing companies such as Aberdeen Group and CSO Insights. 

Like most effective tools, SalesGenomix is designed to evaluate candidates based on the specific sales position you’re trying to fill and doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. 

It’s incredibly in-depth and measures 140 sales attributes across 14 different sales roles. So, whether you’re simply looking to hire a salesperson or a higher level position like a sales manager, this tool can help you do it, while efficiently filtering candidates out until you find top tier talent. 

It’s also extremely fast, where SalesGenomix gives a candidate the assessment, scores the results, and provides you with recommendations within just a few hours. 

Don’t Leave Critical Hiring Decisions to Chance

The unpleasant truth is that many salespeople simply fall short, with as many as 57% missing their quotas each year. Even seasoned CEOs and sales leaders with a strong eye for talent can easily choose the wrong salespeople — something that largely happens from relying on a hunch rather than data.  

Using a proven sales assessment test like one of the tools mentioned here allows you to take a science-based approach where you can seamlessly sift through candidates and identify truly elite salespeople with surgical precision. 

So, at the end of the day you can make your hires with supreme confidence and build a rock solid team of high performers. 

See how HireDNA can help you attract and recruit better talent, while slashing your hire time in half. Request a demo today

Here’s How to Develop a Winning Sales Recruiting & Selection Process

As many as 80% of salespeople fail to hit the mark, and 55% of them should actually be doing something else, according to the National Association of Sales Professionals. These numbers illustrate just how difficult it is to succeed in sales and shows that the CEOs and sales leaders responsible for hiring reps have their work cut out for them. 

But in this post, we’ll outline a definitive strategy you can use to develop a winning sales recruiting and selection process to ensure you only hire the best of the best. Let’s jump right in.  

First, Identify the Most Important Areas That Influence Success

Each company is different. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach is seldom effective. Instead, you need to start your sales recruiting campaign by pinpointing which specific areas most influence success in your business. 

In their eBook Best Practice to Recruiting the Hardest Role in the Company, SG Partners says “Best Practice Sales Team Selection process commences with a clear understanding of the criteria for success in your market. You need to identify the candidate’s experience in the 20 most important areas that will influence success.”

They then go on to list some examples of factors like:

  • Markets where your company operates
  • Your customer base
  • Competitors
  • Sales cycle
  • Method of compensation 

Screen Candidates Objectively with a Sales Assessment

Before you look at a single resume or begin interviewing, you’ll want to use a candidate sales assessment to get an objective snapshot of selling skills to determine which candidates have what it takes to thrive. 

“This unique screening process was developed exclusively to identify those salespeople that WILL be successful in specific sales environments,” explains SG Partners. “It separates out those candidates that may look like salespeople and sound like salespeople but simply won’t sell.”

There are many different tools out there, but the main one we suggest using is the sales assessment from Objective Management Group (OMG). It’s based on a massive amount of data, including over 2 million salespeople from more than 30,000 companies across 200 industries. 

And its predictive validity rate is unparalleled, with 92% of suggested candidates reaching the top half of the salesforce. This will analyze 21 sales core competencies like the will to sell, motivation, coachability, and so on to filter through your list of candidates and narrow it down to the most elite. 

Phone Screen Shortlisted Candidates

Now it’s time for the actual interviewing process to begin. For the first round, you’ll want to phone screen the candidates who successfully completed the sales assessment, possess the right skills you are looking for and match your unique selling environment. 

This should be brief at around 15 to 30 minutes and is simply meant to see how well they engage with you, as this will be a great indicator of how well they’ll engage with leads if hired. 

You’ll want to create a basic script for your phone screening to ensure all candidates get the same questions and have the same opportunities. SG Partners recommends intentionally putting candidates under pressure to see how they respond to gauge their overall effectiveness. And you’ll also want to use quantitative scoring to rate a candidate’s response to each question (e.g. a 1 to 5 rating). 

For a full rundown on how to effectively use phone screening, check out this previous post we wrote. 

Conduct Short Interviews with Top Candidates

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidate pool even more, it’s time for a round of more detailed but still relatively short interviews of around 35 minutes. Ideally, this will be done face-to-face, but given the current climate post-COVID, doing it over video conferencing software like Zoom should be sufficient, specifically if they will be selling virtually. 

“The candidate is screened on issues or concerns with their work history or suitability based on their resume and also issues that were identified through the [sales assessment],” says SG Partners. “This interview is again designed to measure the ability of the candidate to respond to challenging objections while seeking to gain control of the interview process.”

The exact questions you ask can run the gamut, but Meg Prater of HubSpot highlights 10 sales interview questions that should help get the ball rolling. You can also download our interview questionnaire for a more detailed list of behavioral style interview questions. 

Perform In-Depth Interviews on Your Top 2-3 Candidates

At this point, you should have narrowed it down to your top two or three candidates who all show great promise. You’ll then want to have highly in-depth interviews with these candidates and really dive in deep to figure out what they truly bring to the table. 

“This interview is a very extensive process that requires the candidate to take you through a structured overview of their work and experience following a clear chronological order,” writes SG Partners. “This process can take up to two hours and is designed to separate truth from fiction in relation to the past history of the candidates.”

And don’t forget about reference checking. 

Given the amount of preparation that in-depth interviews like this take, it’s crucial that you perform plenty of planning and preparation in advance. 

Hold a Final Interview for the Candidate You Want

The last step in the sales team selection process is to have a final interview, which is where you go over the formalities and get everything squared away. Here are some specific things that SG Partners suggests covering. 

From there, it’s just a matter of making an offer.

Rinse and Repeat

Rockstar salespeople don’t grow on trees. And we’ve seen time and time again that haphazard hiring practices and selecting candidates based on “a hunch” lead to unfavorable outcomes. 

While nothing is 100% foolproof, following SG Partners’ sales team selection process can promise with near certainty that you’ll find the right salespeople that fit in perfectly with your company culture. 

Once you have the formula, rinse and repeat. 

For more on how to level up your recruiting, download Best Practice to Recruiting the Hardest Role in the Company

And to learn about which mistakes to avoid, read The Top 5 Reasons You Are Failing at Recruiting Consistently Great Sales Teams

How to Ensure You’re Hiring Based on Actual Skills Rather Than Just “Personality”

Have you ever encountered a candidate who oozed charm and charisma? Who said all of the right things? Who had the “it factor?”

People with great personalities naturally make a great first impression, and more often than not, they end up walking away with the job. In fact, personality was deemed the single-most desirable quality in an employee by 78% of hiring professionals, according to an executive survey. 

And while it’s certainly a nice trait to have, it’s important to ensure that you’re hiring based on skills rather than solely on “personality.” Here’s why. 

A Long-Standing Misconception 

SG Partners, a professional sales training and coaching company, wrote an eBook entitled The Top 5 Reasons You Are Failing at Recruiting Consistently Great Sales Teams. In it, the first mistake they mention is evaluating “personality” rather than job skills. They talk about how many CEOs and sales leaders think that personality traits like high energy, honesty, and strong work ethic practically guarantee success. But that just isn’t the case. 

“Many consultants and distributors of pre-employment tests maintain that certain personality factors help ensure management or sales success and offer psychological theories to support that belief,” explains SG Partners. “However, solid statistical research from many objective sources shows little correlation between personality factors and any specific job factors. Producers of these tests (like the Myers-Briggs) admit that they are useful for self-awareness and training but not for hiring.”

While having a great personality can certainly help a sales rep, especially when it comes to interactions with leads and their colleagues, there’s no clear evidence that it will result in success. And on the other end of the spectrum, just because someone is shy and doesn’t have a magnetic personality doesn’t mean they can’t succeed. Geoffrey James of even talks about how introverts often make the best sales reps these days, mainly because of the growing distrust of “fast-talking, backslapping salesmen” who come across as hyper-aggressive. 

These days, many leads prefer to deal with more introverted reps because they tend to be better listeners and take a more empathetic approach. 

The Dangers of Hiring Based on Personality

And in some cases, CEOs and sales leaders can get themselves into trouble when they focus so much on personality that they overlook a candidate’s obvious lack of other skills. As humans, we can’t help but form first impressions of others. It’s how we make a baseline assessment. Jean Baur, a career coach and author of The Essential Job Interview Handbook, even says that it only takes about three seconds for someone to form an initial impression. 

But it’s far from foolproof and can often be a red herring that leads to making the wrong hire. After all, someone with a stellar personality may be likeable and get along with everyone, but it doesn’t always mean they’ll necessarily add value. If their ability to close deals and general skill set are lacking, they could be quite costly because you’ll have to start the entire hiring process all over again. 

With the U.S. Department of Labor calculating that “the average cost of a bad hiring decision is at least 30% of the individual’s first-year expected earnings,” this can be a major blow to your company. 

How to Objectively Assess Potential Sales Reps

This begs the question. How exactly do you make an objective assessment and ensure that a candidate checks all of the right boxes? 

We recommend using a tool like the sales candidate assessment from Objective Management Group (OMG). This assessment is based on an immense volume of quantitative data, where OMG analyzed over 2 million salespeople across 30,000+ companies in 200 industries. 

From their findings, they were able to pinpoint some specific factors that determine a salesperson’s likelihood of success, including the will to sell, possessing the right “sales DNA,” being coachable, having core competencies, and more. 

And the numbers speak for themselves. By using the sales candidate assessment, a staggering 92% of salespeople who were recommended reached the top half of the sales team within their first year. 

On the other hand, three quarters of candidates that weren’t recommended but still hired failed within six months. 

At the end of the day, it’s about taking a science-based, data-driven approach to hiring that gives you a comprehensive, objective view of candidates. That way you can efficiently narrow down the candidate pool without getting caught up in surface level traits like personality that don’t guarantee success. 

Keeping Your Hiring Process Objective

Hiring isn’t easy. It’s something that even the world’s top companies struggle with at times. 

Therefore, it’s common to fall back on natural human tendencies like confusing having desirable characteristics like a great personality as being an indicator of success. But as we’ve just learned, taking this approach comes with some definite pitfalls and can be more of a hindrance to hiring than an asset. 

The key to making consistently sound hiring decisions is to focus on actual skills, ideally using a tool like the sales candidate assessment, to gain an objective understanding of a person’s abilities and likelihood of success. And while having a likeable personality is a plus, it should by no means be the main factor when selecting a sales rep. 

To learn more about this common hiring mistake, along with others, check out The Top 5 Reasons You Are Failing at Recruiting Consistently Great Sales Teams by SG Partners. 

And to learn about how to improve your hiring process, check out Best Practice to Recruiting The Hardest Role in the Company

92% of Recommended and Hired Candidates Succeed. Here’s Why.

How many times have you chosen a salesperson who had an amazing personality and checked all of the right boxes, only to later find that their performance was less than stellar?

This is a common experience among many CEOs and sales leaders, and according to Shep Hyken of Forbes, 57% of sales reps fail to hit their quotas. But fortunately, there’s a way to get it right nearly all of the time. 

In this post, we’ll discuss a proven system you can use to take the guesswork out of hiring salespeople to ensure that you consistently select elite performers. 

Accurately Predicting Sales Success

Objective Management Group (OMG) has conducted rigorous assessments over the years to compile a massive amount of data on the sales force selection process. Here are some specific numbers that went into their research.

As you can see, they’ve analyzed over 30,000 companies, more than 86,000 hires, and over two million salespeople to determine what contributes to success. The volume of data is staggering and has generated some fascinating insights into what sales recruiters, sales leaders, and CEOs should look for when assessing and hiring sales candidates. 

For example, OMG found that having the will to sell, where a person possesses the right level of desire and commitment, is a key factor in success. They found that being trainable and coachable is critical. They also found that having 21 core selling competencies, like being a “Hunter, Consultative Seller, Qualifier, Closer, and so on are vital — something they can quantitatively measure. 

In short, OMG found that there’s a science behind hiring quality salespeople — a formula sales recruiters, sales leaders, and CEOs can use over and over to find top talent and retain them for the long haul. 

Check out more data from OMG, see how your sales team compares to the competition and the sales DNA of top performers in your industry here.

92% of Recommended and Hired Candidates Succeed

Through their findings, OMG has developed what they call The Original Sales-Specific Assessment, which measures sales capabilities rather than just behavioral and personality traits. This assessment takes a data-driven approach to finding the best of the best candidates and is so effective that it’s been rated the #1 sales assessment for 9 consecutive years by Top Sales World.

And here’s where it really gets interesting. OMG found that a whopping 92% of candidates that are recommended and hired through The Sales Assessment succeed and reach the top half of the sales force within just 12 months.  

This shows how important it is to make hiring decisions based on data, rather than merely a hunch. And this is something that more and more organizations are actively embracing, with a PwC global data and analytics survey finding that 61% of companies want to rely more heavily on data analysis and less on intuition when making hiring decisions. 

On the other hand, OMG also found that “75% of candidates who aren’t recommended but hired anyway fail within six months.” 

This just reaffirms the importance of assessing candidates based on concrete data and how utilizing a sales-specific assessment can be a real game changer. 

Why it Works

Now let’s take a closer look into the details as to why using the assessment works. 

First, it’s customized to your unique selling environment. “Your customized Role Specification allows you to specify the unique requirements of your position. Candidates are then assessed against your criteria to create a recommendation custom-tailored to your needs.”

In other words, it doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, the assessment looks at your exact business and identifies which characteristics the ideal sales rep, manager, or leader should possess. 

Next, it uses a Candidate Analyzer to quantitatively score candidates based on their abilities via an easy-to-use portal. This allows you to seamlessly filter through candidates and pinpoint the ones you’re most interested in for later follow-up. 

And finally, OMG has a recruiting system called STAR (Sales Talent Acquisition Routine) that allows you to deploy a more structured approach to recruiting sales talent over a four-week period and looks like this:

During the first week, there’s the initial setup, where OMG configures their assessment for the specific role you’re hiring for, creates the optimal applicant tracking questions, and writes an ad that articulates the traits, skills, and experiences a candidate should possess.  

The second week is when sourcing takes place, where the ad is placed on relevant job sites and candidates are searched for on resume databases. Then, OMG provides tactics to help you filter through the results to confirm that applicants meet base requirements along with training on how to narrow the list down through phone screening calls

The third week is when the top candidates are interviewed in-person or through video conferencing. This is where you go more in-depth and really get to know each candidate and see what they bring to the table. The fourth week is when the final interview takes place to identify the true rockstars and when a candidate is officially chosen for the position. 

As you can see, the process is very streamlined and can be used again and again to ensure you consistently make the right hires. Also, note that The sales assessment is designed specifically for sales, sales management, and sales leadership roles, making it extremely accurate. 

Hiring Candidates Based on Science

74% of sales reps are ineffective and fail to hit the mark, while only 6% are considered to be elite performers. At first glance, this may seem like the odds are stacked against sales recruiters, and it’s true that finding quality people can be tricky.

But comprehensive research has found that selecting salespeople based on hard data that’s generated through tools like The OMG Sales Candidate Assessment enables you to make decisions with relative certainty. It’s just a matter of putting the data to use and objectively selecting candidates based off of it. 

Interest in a free trial of the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment? You can register for a free test drive here.

For more helpful information on improving your sales hiring process, there are two eBooks to check out below. 

The Top 5 Reasons You Are Failing at Recruiting Consistently Great Sales Teams

Best Practice to Recruiting the Hardest Role in the Company

These Are the Top 5 Traits to Look for in a Sales Rep Based on a Mountain of Research

In another blog post, we talked about the importance of making hiring decisions based on data rather than a hunch. At the end of the day, sticking to a proven formula leads to better hires who are more productive and perform at a consistently high-level. 

It’s all about using science.

In this post, we’re going to expand on this topic and break down the top five traits to look for in a sales rep based on in-depth studies and a boatload of data. Let’s dive right in. 

The Sales Acceleration Formula By Mark Roberge

There are countless bodies of research that have analyzed what makes for a successful sales rep. For instance, sales strategist Steve W. Martin of The Harvard Business Review interviewed 1,000 top tier salespeople and performed personality tests on them in 2011. 

And the University of Florida conducted in-depth research in the early 2000’s to distinguish the difference between “tellers versus sellers.”

Research like this offers a ton of value, but one of the preeminent sources for identifying key traits is the work that former Chief Revenue Officer of HubSpot, Mark Roberge, did in 2015. He exhaustively analyzed a massive amount of data to come up with what he calls The Sales Acceleration Formula, which he wrote a book about. 

One of the key parts of his system is tapping into critical metrics to not only find high level sales reps, but create a more efficient process for doing so. After parsing through the data, Roberge came up with five specific traits he found most important. 

Here they are ranked by their importance. Drumroll…

1. Coachability

Above all else, Roberge found that being coachable and adaptable is the number one characteristic to look for in a sales rep. He specifically mentions how he’s had situations in the past where a rep who had incredible success in a prior position floundered in a new environment simply because they had a rigid attitude and weren’t open to input. For example, they had the mindset of “I’ve been selling for 10 years, and I’ll figure it out.”

But in today’s ultra dynamic business world, having a willingness to accept direction and feedback is of the utmost importance. In fact, some of the top reps Roberge has encountered who have “crushed it” are the ones who have been the most coachable. 

2. Curiosity

Next, he found that having a natural inquisitiveness is huge. Being curious about how a platform works, how it fits into a company’s sales model, how to solve a prospect’s pain points, and so on plays a key role in gaining a deep comprehension, and in turn, being an adept salesperson.

And this is a sentiment that’s shared by many other sales experts, like Matt Sunshine of The Center for Sales Strategy. “Great sellers are naturally curious and they can’t help but ask questions to learn more about how they can help.” In turn, they take that information and tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of each lead head on. 

3. Intelligence

Okay, this one is pretty obvious. A rep should always have a strong intellect and a high-level understanding of your industry, customer psychology, how your platform fits into a lead’s business model, and how to nurture a lead. It’s also helpful when they possess a solid emotional intelligence (EQ), where they know how to navigate issues like addressing prospect concerns, how to collaborate with other team members, and generally how to operate with tact. 

It should be noted that Roberge places intelligence far above what many would consider conventional sales skills like convincing, which involves an aggressive approach. Instead, he says that the top performing reps in this day and age tend to act more as consultants or trusted advisors to leads. They use their business savvy to help leads make critical decisions and explain how a platform can improve operations, rather than trying to “shove a product down their throats.”

4. Work Ethic

This trait should also come as no surprise. “Someone with a great work ethic will accelerate his or her learning curve and operate in a state of constant improvement,” explains The Muse in Forbes. “He or she will always look for ways to be better.”

Naturally being driven and willing to put in the time inevitably positions a rep for success and is integral to their evolution.

5. Prior Success

While prior success doesn’t 100% guarantee success within your company, it definitely factors in heavily. As long as a rep possesses the other four traits listed above, their odds of thriving are excellent. 

When it comes to assessing prior success, David Kurlan of Objective Management Group, explains that there are two specific criteria to look for:

  1. Sales reps reached 100% of their quota or better in a previous position
  2. They were in the top 26% of all salespeople

So, these should definitely be on your radar when assessing candidates. Kurlan also points out that using a science-based sales recruiting platform like HireDNA allows companies to identify reps in the top 6% of the total sales population. 

Always Look to the Data

The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge reaffirms what sales recruiting experts have been saying for years. Making smart hiring decisions hinges largely on looking at objective data to make assessments. 

After performing a mountain of research, Roberge was able to pinpoint the top five traits that electrifying reps possess — coachability, curiosity, intelligence, work ethic, and prior success. 

Using a science-based sales recruiting platform allows you to effectively zero in on these areas and provides you with quantifiable data to help you make the right decision. And the best part is that this is something that can easily be rinsed and repeated. 

Want to see how you can streamline your hiring process and find top tier talent? Book a HireDNA demo today. 

Why Hiring Decisions Should Be Based on Data, Not a Hunch

Using your intuition and “following your gut” can be beneficial at times. And as humans, it’s something we’re naturally wired to do. 

In fact, research psychologist and author Gary Klein found that as many as “90% of the critical decisions we make are based on our intuition.”

But when it comes to critical business decisions like hiring, it’s better to take a data-driven approach rather than merely relying on “a hunch.” Here’s why. 

What the Harvard Business School Has to Say About It

In an article entitled The Advantages of Data-Driven Decision-Making, The Harvard Business Review (HBR) talks about how intuition has become deeply ingrained in the business world and the deep value that’s been placed on it over the years. 

“Society has imbued the concept of ‘intuition’ — of simply knowing when something is right or wrong — with a tremendous amount of prestige, importance, and influence,” the HBR explains. “The concept of intuition has become so romanticized in modern life that it’s now a part of how many people talk about and understand the ‘geniuses’ of our generation.”

They make specific mention to intellectual and business juggernauts, like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, who relied heavily on their instinct for guidance. And while intuition has certainly factored into the success of notable figures like these, as well as other massive success stories like Henry Ford and Jeff Bezos, it doesn’t mean that it should be the default for making important hiring decisions.

The HBR says that intuition can definitely be a helpful tool, but there’s a strong body of research that says data-driven organizations have an inherent advantage over their competitors that rely less on data. In fact, they point to a study by PwC that found the former are three times more likely to experience “significant improvements” in decision-making than the latter. 

Let’s Quantify

Given that this article is all about the numbers, it’s only fair that we quantify exactly how much hiring decisions improve by taking a data-driven approach. According to separate research from the HBR, an algorithm that based candidate evaluations off of a simple equation outperformed human decisions by at least 25%

Further, using the algorithm allowed researchers to increase the accuracy of choosing productive employees by over 50%. That’s impressive! 

So, what specifically makes data superior to human intuition when it comes to hiring?

Brian Connelly, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management at the University of Toronto summarizes it well by saying, “the problem is that people are easily distracted by things that might be only marginally relevant, and they use information inconsistently.”

It’s also easy to fall into the trap of being overly charmed by a particular candidate’s personality, where you end up overlooking major flaws. You may also pass up a top tier talent simply because they don’t have a striking personality or you don’t feel an instant connection with them. 

This isn’t to say that you should mindlessly rely on machines to make every single hiring decision, and human input should definitely factor into the equation. But at the end of the day, it’s clear that using data is highly important. 

And given the high-powered tools that are readily available, it would be foolish to not take advantage of them. 

Finding Perfect Candidates

In a whitepaper called The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection, David Kurlan of Objective Management Group mentions how extensive research was done to identify “perfect candidates” — those that are virtually no fail and positioned for massive success.

Kurlan boiled it down to two specific criteria:

  • Candidates are top performers who reached 100% of their quota or better
  • They were ranked in the top 26% of all salespeople

Then, by using strong filters to assess core sales competencies, Kurlan was able to pinpoint candidates that were in the top 6% of the total sales population. This shows firsthand how making an objective assessment using the right data can help a company find the best of the best

It eliminates the guesswork and allows you to assemble a sales team based on legitimate skill and talent rather than merely a gut feeling. 

What Specific Data-Driven Assessment Tools Should You Use?

There are multiple sales assessment tools on the market, but there’s one in particular we recommend — the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment. It’s designed specifically for sales rather than simply “being tailored for sales” and evaluates 21 core sales competencies (not just personality traits) that have been objectively proven to predict success. 

Here’s what it looks like. 

And here’s a glimpse of the data that went into identifying the 21 core sales competencies that it analyzes. 

Using this tool provides you with a bird’s eye view of what each candidate brings to the table, providing you with quantitative data and allowing you to effectively predict their likelihood of success. 

Studies have found that a staggering 92% of recommended hires through the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment reach the top half of their sales force within a year and that it eliminates 96% of hiring mistakes using proven science. 

It’s even been rated as the number one predictive sales talent assessment for nine years straight by Top Sales World

Let’s Recap

Although there’s no denying that instinct can definitely play a role in business success, multiple studies have proven that it has its limitations, especially when it comes to hiring. Companies that choose candidates based on concrete data have a distinct advantage over their competitors that rely solely on emotion. 

It’s just a matter of using the right tool to analyze core sales competencies, and narrowing your candidate pool down to the top performers. 

Want to learn more about the process? Register for a free sales candidate assessment today. 

Are you hiring? Get pre-screened, assessed, and vetted sales candidates tailored to your hiring criteria and unique selling environment. Request a Demo of the HireDNA sales recruiting platform.

How to Avoid Costly Sales Rep Hiring Mistakes

Hiring salespeople is typically among a company’s largest budget items, and the cost of a bad hire is immense. The average cost of a bad sales hire is more than $115,000, while the cost of a bad sales management hire can reach as high as  $3.5 million, as outlined in our recent blog post on hiring effective sales managers.

These numbers represent average costs; you can use this free Hiring Mistake Calculator to determine your organization’s specific bad hire impact, including your cost of recruitment, development and lost business.

And that’s strictly from a mathematical perspective – the overall impact is compounded when you factor in the loss of resources devoted to the bad hire, lowered team morale and performance, and the damage to your brand reputation among your clients and prospects. 

In this blog post, we examine why the wrong sales reps are hired so often, and what smart sales leaders are doing to reduce the risk and impact of hiring mistakes.

Wrong People Are Hired 77% of the Time

According to a recent evaluation by Objective Management Group (OMG), the wrong salespeople are hired 77% of the time. According to OMG, these bad hires: 

  • Make excuses for their lack of performance (60%)
  • Lack commitment to sales success (37%)
  • Are not motivated to achieve sales success (20%)

How to Avoid a Bad Sales Hire

When OMG compared data between all salespeople and the lowest-performing 50%, they found that the most significant differentiator among “good” and “bad” hires was their Sales DNA – the unique set of  traits and behaviors that influence a rep’s performance. 97% of weak salespeople lack the minimum required Sales DNA for success in their roles. 

In a detailed white paper exploring the science behind salesperson selection, OMG outlined five key components of a rep’s Sales DNA that signal a potential bad hire: 

  • Need to Be Liked – While it’s important for a sales rep to be likable, reps who demonstrate a need for approval usually have difficulty facing potential challenges like confrontation, rejection, and asking tough but necessary questions.
  • Tendency to Become Emotional – Reps with higher emotional involvement may struggle to listen and remain focused on the prospect, which can result in missing important details or losing control of a conversation.
  • Self-Limiting Beliefs – Ineffective sales reps exhibit a number of self-limiting beliefs that can sabotage their selling process, such as “I don’t like making cold calls” or “It’s impolite to ask a lot of questions.”
  • Bad Empathy – Sales reps who make their own major purchases using a non-supportive buy cycle (comparison shopping, heavy research, long decision timeframes, etc.) are more likely to empathize with prospects who engage in the same behavior, and are less effective at helping prospects move forward with the purchase decision.
  • Discomfort Discussing Money – When sales reps are uncomfortable asking questions about budget or a prospect’s financial position, they are unable to ask the necessary questions or make suggestions on solving potential budget-related objections.

Science-based sales assessments that identify a candidate’s Sales DNA, along with other sales competencies, can help sales leaders determine a candidate’s likelihood of success before making a costly hiring mistake. 

Build A Winning Sales Team

At HireDNA, we offer a range of science-based recruiting and assessment solutions for companies looking to hire and retain top sales talent. We help sales leaders determine candidates’ Sales DNA, among other competencies, and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

Why Choose Us?                

  • Our predictive candidate assessments eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes
  • Businesses hire 50% faster when they work with us
  • We have an 80% success rate for placements across organizations

8 Qualities Of The Best Sales Representatives

Generating sales is not easy, yet the best sales reps understand the challenges of their job and are always at the top of their game. So, what qualities does a successful sales representative have that makes them a cut above the rest? Let’s take a look at the traits that help distinguish a seasoned salesperson from an average one.

At HireDNA, our rigorous sales recruiting processes can help you locate top talent so you can hire the best salesperson for your needs. Talk to an expert today.

What Are The Traits Of An Effective Salesperson?

Some personality traits have a direct impact on a person’s selling style and ultimately their ability to succeed. Here are eight key qualities of the best sales representatives:

Extensive Product Knowledge

To sell a product, an exceptional salesperson must have in-depth knowledge of it, down to the smallest detail. Closing a deal requires extensive research, confidence, and perfect execution of the sales pitch. Without deep product knowledge, that will be difficult to achieve.

A highly successful salesperson is always prepared with the right information and resources to make a profitable sale. They are aware of any potential criticism their product might receive and know how to pitch its advantages to a possible buyer to make it seem like an excellent purchase.


More than 70% of salespeople are not prepared for meetings. The best sales representatives, however, are dedicated to their job, clients and work schedule. They are always ready to meet or give a demo to a client.  

The best salespeople recognize their mistakes and do not blame others for any shortcomings or failures. Instead, they remedy the flaws and minimize the risk of failure in future sale pitches. Furthermore, they possess a sense of responsibility to follow up with the client and remain vigilant for resulting queries.

Listening Skills

Successful sales reps know that the secret to a successful sale lies in the loyalty of a customer. Therefore, they will strike a connection with the client by addressing their concerns and issues before offering the product. That’s why the best salespeople seldom talk—instead, they are always listening. This helps ensure that they understand a client’s needs and can respond accordingly.

Clients usually have a positive reaction to the empathetic attitude of a salesperson, and they are more open to listening to a sales pitch from them.  

Polite Persistence

It takes 18 calls on average to even connect with a buyer. Anyone who gives up after the first few phone calls can’t possibly be successful in this field.

The best sales reps are persistent in their efforts to get through to a prospective buyer. They are tenacious yet polite and never give up an opportunity to convert a lead into a buyer—or to at least get them into the sales funnel. At the same time, they respect the boundaries of their clients and instead of showing extreme doggedness, they strive to develop a relationship with the potential customers through frequent personalized follow-ups.

HireDNA’s streamlined hiring process can help you get in touch with the best sales representatives that satisfy the talent needs of your organization. Learn more.

Ambition & Will to Sell

Goals motivate the majority of sales representatives, but the most successful among them take it to the next level by creating a plan for their career. The targets they set for themselves may be even more challenging than any professional goals set for them. This determination helps salespeople grow as individuals and as professionals. Achieving personal goals requires patience, resilience, long-term planning and can encourage better sales habits.

Candidates who are committed and possess the will to sell are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve greater sales success. Today, selling is more difficult than ever. Avoid hiring sales people who are unwilling to commit and push beyond their comfort zone to get results.

Coachable & Curious To Learn

An essential quality of a successful salesperson is their curiosity to learn. They educate themselves by reading industry blogs, watching video tutorials, and attending training sessions.

The best reps work on their presentation skills, time management, and other relevant abilities that make a significant impact on their performance. Studies have shown that sales personnel produce 50% higher net sales when they work at companies that offer training activities.

Hiring sales people who are coachable and willing to learn is essential. The best candidates agree that there is always room for improvement. Look for reps who are open to constructive criticism and are always ready to learn.

Whether you would like to train an existing team or need help onboarding as part of the hiring process, HireDNA offers sales training services to help turn your sales team into a high-performance machine. Learn more.


Technology is a crucial part of sales, as the latest developments such as AI, CRMs and automation tools have changed the way sales activities are executed.

Today’s world requires salespeople who can keep up with tech and its contributions to the sector of sales. The best reps know how to use up-and-coming tools to enhance their prospecting and pitch processes.

The Right Sales DNA

Sales DNA is a term used to describe a candidate’s mix of natural and learned skills. Finding candidates with the right sales DNA for your team is crucial. At HireDNA, we offer a predictive sales candidate assessment that goes beyond personality traits to assess 21 core selling competencies possessed by top sales performers. Predictive hiring accounts for much more than credentials or standard interview answers. We go further with comprehensive assessments and analysis to find the right candidate for your organization’s needs.

Learn more about our Predictive Hiring Assessments.

Hire Outstanding Sale Representatives

Highly competent and persuasive sales reps can enhance the effectiveness of any sales and marketing team manifold. They possess unique attributes that set them apart from an average salesperson.

At HireDNA, we bring over 10 years of experience recruiting, hiring, and training the most successful salespeople. Get in touch to learn how we can help you build a winning sales team.

Why Choose Us?              

  • 80% of our searches for sales talent end in a successful hire
  • 92% of our hired candidates reach top half of sales force in 12 months
  • 50% faster onboarding for new hires

Ready to hire the best sales representatives for your company?