Sales Candidate Assessments for Those Re-​entering the Workforce

BY Kathy Crosett
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U.S. adults who haven’t worked in years are now applying for jobs. Are you asking yourself if using sales candidate assessments to screen those who are re-​entering the workforce makes sense? We all know our unemployment rate now stands at 3.5%. And economists aren’t sure how low it will go. If you’re trying to fill jobs, the candidates you’re now seeing aren’t traditional.

Low Unemployment Rates

In fact, it might be challenging to describe traditional candidates these days. Did you know that 59% of employees currently in the workforce currently have gaps in their resumes? This statistic comes to us from Monster​.com. The average gap on the resume is two years. And the reasons for these gaps vary. Some workers, primarily female, took leaves to take for children or aging parents. Other workers, 37%, experienced a layoff. And still others, went back to school to improve their skills or they simply needed a break.

Regardless of the gaps in work experience for your current candidates, you might notice another challenge. If you’re like many employers, you might be dealing with candidates who don’t quite have the critical soft skills you’re hoping for. The most common skill shortages, according to Monster​.com, include:

  • Problem solving and creativity 37%
  • Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity 32%
  • Good communication 31%

Sales Candidate Assessments for Non-​Traditional Prospects

Employers are starting to realize that looking for ideal candidates could be a waste of time. They are now a little more willing to hire veterans, retirees and people who have been incarcerated. And they are training candidates who show promise, hoping these folks will turn into loyal employees.

How Do You Know If You’re Making A Mistake?

What’s your organization’s position on hiring candidates who have been out of work for more than six months? And what’s your opinion of a candidate who has been incarcerated in the past? Your company’s official response may be that it’s too risky and expensive to hire these folks.

Or maybe you deliberately pass over the resume of the person who’s been out of work for six months. Employers also pass over older candidates, assuming they will have unreasonable salary demands or that they’ll have out-​of-​date skills. And some employers hesitate to hire veterans. An analysis by Lisa Nagorny and Dan Pick for military​.com indicates that employers worry veterans will be too rigid in their thinking. Or they believe the military training developed some skills and not others. That belief leads employers to perceive that hiring veterans could be an expensive proposition if extensive retraining is necessary. The truth is, you won’t know for sure how well a person will do at your company until you give them a chance and ask them to take a comprehensive assessment like TeamTrait™.

These kinds of assessments measure a candidate’s natural behavior tendencies, motivations and talents before they have an in-​person interview. You won’t have to wonder if a candidate is persuasive. A sales candidate assessment will let you know. And don’t have to worry about whether a candidate possesses empathy. The results of the assessment will spell out the details in easy-​to-​understand language.

The experts say you should figure out why the person has been out of work for years. Specifically, you’ll want to know what a candidate’s attitude is about work and figure out what isn’t obvious. A lot of those details will surface in a comprehensive assessment like TeamTrait™.

Address the Skills Gap

If you find a potential employee who possesses some of the skills you’re looking for, is it worth investing in them? Candidates who exhibit a great attitude and hustle could turn out to be among your best hires. Just make sure they score high on the assessment questions that indicate they are willing to be coached and to learn. The most effective remedies for skills shortages, for sales skills like negotiating and soft skills like resilience and determination, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, are to provide onsite training.

How To Limit Your Exposure

Despite doing well on sales candidate assessments and during interviews, you may still have hesitations about hiring your top person. That’s understandable, especially if the person was previously incarcerated. It’s expensive to make a hiring mistake and bringing the wrong person into the organization can also negatively impact your culture.

You can reduce your liability by being cautious about how you hire. Consider asking the person to do some project work for you. As they prove their willingness to learn and be coached, increase their hours. Assign them a mentor to help them blend in with the organization and the culture. If they work out over time and build the skills needed to succeed, you can transition the person to a full-​time employee with benefits. Employees like this will long remember your willingness to take a chance on them and they will likely become one of your more loyal and engaged hires.