Human Resources
Assessment and Selection Applicant Profile Professional Sales™

Applicant Profile Professional Sales™

Aon Hewitt’s Applicant Profile Professional Sales test is a robust, rapidly implemented assessment of key skills critical to success in sales. It has been used and validated against a variety of performance measures, including supervisory ratings, sales revenue and turnover.

Improved job performance—Across multiple studies and industries, supervisor ratings of job performance were consistent with test scores. Candidates with high scores are much more likely to be rated “Outstanding” on the job.

Increased revenue—Research with clients has showed that high scorers increased:

  • Quotas met which led to $1.5M more per sales professional in a technology company
  • Gross sales by $1.4M per sales professional in a building company
  • Quotas met which led to $38M more for 100 sales reps in a communication company

Reduced turnover—One implementation resulted in a 27% improvement in retention rates. One client organization saw a 72% reduction in sales force turnover. Another study showed a decrease in turnover by 8% resulting in $6.8M in additional sales and reduced hiring costs.

The Applicant Profile Professional Sales test is administered via the web. It contains 70 multiple-choice items and can be completed by most individuals in 45 to 60 minutes. It measures dimensions critical to success in professional sales, including:

  • Sales orientation and drive—This competency involves taking constructive action with little or no direction from others, persevering until the objective is achieved, performing at a high level, exceeding expectations, and focusing on and closing sales.
  • Reliability and follow through—This competency involves acting professionally in business situations, working productively in difficult situations, accepting responsibility for actions and details, and striving to meet individual commitments and obligations.
  • Adaptability and innovation—This competency involves modifying behavior and knowing when to depart from traditional methods in favor of alternate courses of action, utilizing resources to accomplish objectives, and generating practical, creative and unique approaches to ambiguous situations.
  • Interpersonal presence and persuasion—This competency involves interacting comfortably with different types of people, attending to and demonstrating an understanding of key elements of conversations, sensing others’ reactions and behaving accordingly, responding to customer needs, and using interpersonal and communication styles to persuade and influence key decision-makers.

The Applicant Profile Professional Sales asks candidates three types of questions. One type of question asks about a candidate’s experiences at work or in school; these are biographical data (biodata) items. The second type of question describes work situations and possible actions the candidate could take, and the candidate indicates the action he/she would be MOST likely to take and/or LEAST likely to take. Lastly, Likert-scale questions are presented to candidates that capture work-related behaviors, opinions, and attitudes. Candidates are asked to indicate the degree to which the statement is true or false on a five-point Likert scale. Although there are three general types of items, each uses a multiple-choice format. Applicants typically have five responses from which to select their answer.

Sample Items

Example 1

Suppose we contacted your most recent supervisors or teachers. What would they tell us about how often you influence your coworkers or peers?

A. Less often than once a month
B. About once a month
C. About once a week
D. About every day
E. They wouldn’t know what to say

A candidate scoring correctly on this area will respond with option D.

Example 2

There is visible conflict between two individuals who are potential customers of yours. Both have input on the purchase decision. They are disagreeing over the details, as well as the decision to purchase your product/service.

1) What would you be MOST likely to do?
2) What would you be LEAST likely to do?

A. Appear not to notice the conflict between the two individuals and continue to give my sales pitch as planned.
B. Leave the two individuals alone for a few minutes so that they can come to a consensus on their decision in private.
C. Facilitate the customers’ discussion to identify the product/service features that best fit their mutual needs.
D. Determine which individual has the key buying decision influence and verbally support his or her judgment.
E. Summarize the issues and possible courses of action.

A candidate scoring correctly on this area would respond “A” for question 1 “D” for question 2.

Example 3

My coworkers would confirm that I am a very cooperative person.

A. Definitely true
B. Somewhat true
C. I don’t know
D. Somewhat false
E. Definitely false

Candidates who respond correctly to the question will select option A.

Scoring Report

Quick and easy-to-read candidate performance reports are delivered via the web. Each performance report summarizes the candidate’s performance on the individual dimensions, as well as on the overall test. A sample scoring report for Applicant Profile Professional Sales™ can be found below.

Applicant Profile Professional Sales scoring report