Sales Aptitude Testing – No Sales Test Results…A Blessing in Disguise?

imgres-3I love the following quote by Winston Churchill when he learned from his wife that he had been thrown out of office right after leading Britain to victory in World War Two. When his devoted wife Clementine placed her hand on his shoulder and said, “It may be a blessing in disguise” Churchill looked up at her and fighting back tears he replied: “Well, at the moment it is certainly very well disguised.”

Often when I hear or use the term ‘blessing in disguise’ I can’t help picturing Churchill and remembering how, even at that moment, he maintained his sense of irony and humor.

I will sometimes have a ‘blessing in disguise’ conversation with clients about sales test results, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Allow me to explain. Normally, when a candidate takes our sales test the report that is produced for the hiring manager provides a clear picture of everything needed to make the best hiring decision. To see what I mean here is link to a sample report. Every so often, a report contains a message that the candidate’s results ‘cannot be determined at this time’. As well, none of the personality trait-drive scales, nor any of the work tendency scales contain rating scores. Additionally, in the various narrative based sections of the report it is explained to the reader that not only are the results unable to be determined ‘at this time,’ but that the reasons why are that the candidate would seem to be experiencing some form of serious personal stress.

The first time a client receives one of these ‘conflicted and unclear’ sales test reports on an applicant they will, in very short order, email or phone us to find out if there was a ‘glitch’ with our system or if ‘something went wrong’ with the test. Of course, at this point I have to explain that no, there was not a ‘glitch’ and yes, our system is working just as it should be. Unfortunately, the reason for the inconclusive results is that the personal stress that the candidate seems to be experiencing has altered the way they have answered the questions on our test. In effect, the validity trigger within our test ‘knew’ not to trust the test answers.

Quite naturally the client is often frustrated with this because of course they rely on, and place great value on, the information from our sales test to assist in their hiring decisions. Their frustration is intensified when they realize that not only should they not re-test the candidate but that our suggestion is that the candidate is likely a very risky person to hire at this time. Of course because of this risk we usually recommend that other candidates should be considered for the role.

If the hiring manager has a number of candidates to choose from when this occurs it is usually little more than an annoyance. If, on the other hand, the client has no other candidates for the position or perhaps this was the best of a small bunch then I really feel their pain. They need to fill the role and here we are telling them that the candidate is very risky and to avoid the person if they possibly can.

This is when the ‘blessing in disguise’ conversation begins. What is important to understand, and what I explain to the hiring manager, is that although there is no detail in the test results, a valuable service is being performed. These states of personal stress are typically not apparent in interviews. By bringing the situation to his attention and alerting him to the hidden hiring risks he has the option to move on to another candidate. As well, if the candidate is otherwise very strong the report has alerted him to probe deeper in order to learn about the situation.

In a previous article I explained that, while here at we tend to focus on the more ‘positive’ aspects of our service, the fact is that a huge benefit to using our sales test is that one tends to avoid hiring sales people that you otherwise might have hired if you had not used our test. Which of course might be considered A Blessing in Disguise!

Author: David Pearce

David Pearce is the President of Established in 1986, is North America's #1 provider of sales personality tests. has over 1400 satisfied customers (97% re-order rate) who use our sales test to measure the suitability of sales candidates and sales employees. is customized to your unique criteria, fully automated, instantaneous, extremely accurate and very economical.

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