Sales Aptitude-PBS Video about Sales

Why Everyone Should Know How to Sell

This short video from PBS NewsHour is great.  Carlos Watson makes a great case for why we all need to know how to sell.  As he says many of those outside of the sales profession think of sales as a dirty word and of sales people as being rather sleazy. This attitude to sales as a profession seems to get in the way of their acquiring what Carlos believes is a critical skill-the ability to ‘sell’ ones ideas.  Carlos does a great job of showing how having this skill is critical to success in any role, business or otherwise.  From a corporate perspective our recent article highlights the many benefits to businesses of utilizing sales testing for non-sales employees.

Sales Assessment Tests: SalesTestOnline is Better than The Caliper for Identifying Top Sales Talent-Here’s Why


The Caliper Profile is quite possibly the most widely used assessment test in North America. They have a great reputation, having been in business for approximately 50 years and boasting many Fortune 500 companies and even a number of professional sports teams as clients. They test candidates for a variety of roles, including sales candidates in numerous industries.   They have earned a great reputation and when I encounter any of their current or former clients they consistently speak very highly of the Caliper Test.

Below though are two caveats to the mostly positive comments:

  1. The high cost to use the Caliper Test, which ranges from $200-$300 per candidate.
  2. The very long testing time of 60-120 minutes, which can be inconvenient and therefore often makes it very difficult to get candidates to sit for the test.

Given the extremely high cost of hiring a sales failure one would not normally think of the cost of the testing itself as a barrier, but of course budgets are budgets. The result is that even though clients are generally satisfied with the Caliper they tend to be highly selective and in many cases overly selective, about which candidates they give it to in order to not waste money. Of course the second issue is that once they do find a candidate that they deem to be ‘test worthy’ they realize that getting the candidate to actually take the test can be very difficult; frequently finding that the candidates for whom they really have an interest will not agree to take it. Even when these top candidates do actually agree to take the Caliper they are often frustrated by how dauntingly long it is and therefore fail to complete it. This is not really all that surprising when you consider that many of the best sales people just do not have much time since they are busy selling. Furthermore their personalities are such that taking a 1-2 hour test is for them, like sitting still for root canal.

So, as good as the Caliper test is when utilized, it’s high cost and inconvenience restrict it’s use to just a very few candidates who often are asked to complete it as almost a formality at the end of the hiring process. This approach to utilizing assessments might make sense if you are hiring for a senior management role or if hiring a sales rep is something you do very rarely. This is the type of hiring process one might have used 20 years ago but today it makes little sense and frankly it puts your organization at a serious disadvantage in the competition for top sales talent.

Today, when in the hiring process one uses sales assessments, is completely opposite to when in the process they were used previously. Today, it is critical to quickly evaluate sales candidates very early in the hiring cycle rather than very late. This way you can determine right away if the candidate is worth pursuing and of course you can do so ahead of your competition for sales talent. Naturally this means that you will be testing far more candidates and doing so with far less pre-qualification. It is pretty obvious then that using an expensive and lengthy sales test in this more ‘top of the funnel’ approach is just not realistic from the perspective of both efficiency and economics.

In this ‘top of the funnel’ approach your sales assessment test must be very economical, easy to administer, easy to complete by candidates and it must clearly, quickly and accurately identify the high potential sales candidates. Conducting the sales assessment test early offers several benefits in addition to those mentioned above:

  • By casting a wider net you will identify high potential sales talent that may not have otherwise caught your attention
  • Testing early identifies red flag areas to address quickly
  • Valuable interview time can be devoted solely to high potential candidates
  • Both face-to-face and phone interviews become far more effective due to the information uncovered
  • Saving Money

Are we suggesting you should compromise accuracy? Does this mean that if you currently use the Caliper that you need to give it up? The answer to both these questions is no. In terms of accuracy is considered to be over 90% accurate and the test results correlate to a very high degree with Caliper; in the words of one long time Caliper user “with I get 85% of what I get from the Caliper, for 15% of the cost”. Certainly, some Caliper users have chosen to switch to On the other hand what others have done who just do not feel comfortable making a complete switch is to use both. is used at the top of the funnel as described above and Caliper is used with the final few.

Finally, while this article is addressing as a superior tool vs Caliper for identifying top sales talent, many of the issues described also apply to other expensive and cumbersome sales assessment tests. Whether you use the Caliper or one of these other sales tests we invite you to visit us at in order to learn more. I would be very pleased to talk to you personally in order to learn about your specific needs. If you are interested I would be happy to arrange a no obligation demonstration of our system.