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Cracking the sales hiring code

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(MoneyWatch) Not all sales and marketing people are created equal. In a challenging economy, you want to hire people who are creative, innovative and can get results despite the roadblocks. After all, today is a new day with new opportunities for those who are open to them.

To improve hiring decisions, many companies have found out how to crack the personality code by using robust, in-depth, work-style personality testing.

"Our research for our book, 'Cracking the Personality Code,' reveals that this is not guesswork or an untested science," says co-author Dana Borowka. "Work-style assessments are a standard recruiting practice for many branches of the government and military, as well as many Fortune 500 companies when assessing potential hires for key or critical positions."

Personality testing gives you objective information that can help you make an informed decision. Here are four of Borowka's proven ways to use in-depth work-style personality testing to hire the right sales and marketing people.

1. Compare Their Resumes Against Your Job Description. Sounds obvious, doesn't it? Surprising how easy it is to blow right past this step in the hiring process. Past experience alone is not what you are looking for when you review the resume. You are looking at how well they performed, what were their successes, and how adaptable they might be to the job that needs to be done for your organization. Experience is nice, but it is results that really count.

2. Assess Their Problem-Solving Resources. Is this person a problem solver? If so, what kind of problem solver? Each of us has unique problem-solving resources on which we rely. Borowka recommends you determine what the person's strengths are when it comes to problem solving. What are the usual approaches this person will use to resolve these problems?

3. Determine Their Patterns For Coping With Stress. Stress is a force that tends to distort the body, a factor that induces bodily or mental tension, or an automatic physical reaction to a danger or demand in the environment. Borowka says: "As one physician stated, 'Stress is any demand, either internal, external or both, that causes us to mentally and physically readjust in order to maintain a sense of balance within our life.' Without a doubt, stress is a fact of life in today's work world. So determining a candidate's or employee's ability to cope with stress is critical for a manager."

4. Examine Their Interpersonal Interaction Styles. Breakdowns in communication are never good for an organization. So take a good look at the individual's style for relating and communicating with others. How do they usually react in dealing with others? What is their comfort level in interacting and personal connection with others? Personality assessments can tell you the person's major sources of gratification and satisfaction when building relationships with each other. "This is the time to identify potential red flags," says Borowka. "A personality assessment can discover issues that are sometimes overlooked during the traditional interviewing process and can quantify a hunch or feeling the interviewer may have about a particular candidate."

Bottom line: Personality matters. Knowing interpersonal interaction styles can also help understand how to manage individuals for greater work performance. A comparison of the interpersonal dynamics of teams, departments, employees and candidates is well worth the effort.

Stay tuned for a follow up post covering four more ideas for cracking the sales hiring code.

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