Assessments Can Improve Efficiencies and Hiring Outcomes

BY Kathy Crosett
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As we emerge from the pandemic, have you looked back to consider which team members handled the increased stress particularly well? These days, you can predict which new hires are good at managing stress if you use assessments to improve efficiencies and hiring outcomes.

How Employees Manage Stress

The "When There is a Will There is a Way: The Role of Proactive Personality in Combating COVID-​19" research project focused on health care workers. In this study, researchers asked several hundred health care workers about their personalities. They also asked how well they believed they handled the added stress of being exposed to the virus. And the workers noted their reactions to disruptions in their well-​established routines. Because these answers were highly subjective, the researchers also reviewed the formal employee appraisals done during this time period. The researchers were specifically interested in whether a specific personality type managed the stress well.

The study defined people as having highly proactive personalities if they possessed specific characteristics. These workers “scanned for and created opportunities, demonstrated initiative and were persevering. These individuals, in a health care setting, had higher job performance and lower withdrawal from work. At their core, these individuals are highly resilient, and they thrived under pressure."

Improve Efficiencies and Hiring Outcomes

You don’t need anyone to tell you that the sales profession comes with 24/​7 stress. And the stress, negative energy and slowed pipeline of deals have increased dramatically in the past year. When sales managers are hiring new employees, only 32% list resiliency as a key characteristic candidates should possess. Our research revealed that resiliency scored near the bottom of the list of 15 traits that managers considered. If you’re hiring a sales rep any time soon, you may want to consciously search for a candidate with proven resiliency.

Asking a candidate about resiliency is one way to determine whether they possess the ability to get back into the sales game after being rejected multiple times. But candidates often say what a hiring manager wants to hear. You should have another way to verify the details. The best impartial tool to use is a sales skills assessment. And the best sales skills assessments will reveal an individual’s natural tendencies. These tendencies include resilience, confidence and coachability.


When a candidate’s assessment doesn’t show a high score for a characteristic like resiliency, don’t panic. The score is an indication that you should dig deeper. You can ask specific questions during an interview. The candidates answers will allow you to understand how the candidate manages rejection and difficult work situations.

Another important element is the coachability factor. When a candidate has high assessment scores for coachability, you have a promising situation. This person will be open to your suggestions and may be able to learn how to increase their resiliency.

The project leader, Professor Nancy Chen Yifeng, associate dean (research and postgraduate studies) of the faculty of business and associate professor of Department of Management of Lingnan University in Hong Kong, had an important tip for all managers.  When stressful work conditions arise, managers can help their employees “understand their own capacity.” Some of this understanding will come through assessments you give to your sales reps. When you discuss the results with them, review the details and potentially agree to short-​term job changes. These changes may increase their comfort level and their productivity.