In Caliper’s more than 50 years of researching job match and job fit, we have found that – when it comes to salespeople –it’s not just personality that makes a job fit or the motivation they possess that makes them successful. Just because someone has the empathy and ego-drive to persuade people, there’s no guarantee they will succeed in the role.
It is important to look at the job itself in combination with the individual’s personality dynamics. What will they be selling? And to whom? To whom will they be reporting? And what type of sales job is it – does it require more account management? Or is it strictly a cold-calling, hunter-type role? What is the culture of the organization? Will they be telecommuting, or will they be in the office?
It became clear to us that selling PCs versus selling helicopters requires very different skill sets and personality dynamics. Moreover, selling something intangible like consulting services is not the same as selling tangible products and tools.
Caliper’s research has shown that it is critical to understand the job, analyze what skills are needed to do the job well, and then assess to match the person’s dynamics with the requirements of the job.
In an article published by U.S. 1, “Sizing Up (Before Hiring) Salespeople,” I talked about the work we did in coming up with a workplace personality assessment. Our initial assessment was designed to help predict sales potential.
Although sales positions are still important in today’s World of Work, it isn’t the only job for which assessments are valuable. People who work in service, operations, and administrative positions are all critical to your company’s bottom line. Those candidates and employees – whether new hires or current talent being moved into other positions within the company – should all be assessed. What work will these people be performing on a daily basis? Understanding the job function in any area is necessary to really identify a job match.
When you consider the role and the individual’s personality dynamics together, you will have a good idea of how successful the person will be in that role. And if the individual does not appear to be a strong fit, what areas require development? Are there coaching opportunities? Or is this person simply not a match? Although it may seem like an unnecessary extra step in the assessment process, ensuring job fit is essential; it will guarantee success over the long term for both the individual and the company.
To circle back to our sales example: the ability to successfully sell is critical, but it’s only one factor of what makes a person fit for a sales job.