To Thine Own Self Be True

Criteria’s employment test portfolio includes three personality tests: the Criteria Personality Inventory (CPI), the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP), and the Sales Achievement Predictor (SalesAP). The CSAP and SalesAP are actually the same test instrument and measure the same personality traits, but they produce different score reports and recommendations because customer service and sales positions require different personalities. For example, personality traits such as Assertiveness and Competitiveness are traditionally associated with sales roles, while traits like Cooperativeness and Patience are associated with customer service roles.

If you interview enough salespeople, invariably one of them will tell you that he can sell snow to an Eskimo. Personally, I doubt that I would be able to sell a fireplace to that same Eskimo. The point is that people generally have a good grasp of their personal strengths and weaknesses, and tend to apply for jobs in which they can thrive. Our data bears this out.

We examined the differences in average percentile scores for each of the 18 personality traits measured by the CSAP and SalesAP, and found that there was a distinct and measurable difference between the populations of customer service and sales applicants. For example, those that applied for customer service positions and took the CSAP scored in the 40.2 percentile for the “Sales Closing” trait on average, while those that applied for sales positions and took the SalesAP scored in the 56.9 percentile on average – a difference of 16.7 percentage points. For other traits typically associated with sales, there were strong differences favoring those that took the SalesAP as well: Sales Disposition (8.7 percentage points), Cold Calling (6.9), Competitiveness (8.1), Assertiveness (10.5), and Extraversion (5.5). Similarly, for traits typically associated with customer service, there were differences favoring those that took the CSAP: Cooperativeness (14.5 percentage points) and Patience (5.2).

Of the people that took the CSAP, 47.2% were Highly Recommended for customer service. However, we wanted to see what would have happened if those that took the CSAP actually took the SalesAP, and vice versa. If those applying for sales positions had actually applied for customer service positions, only 32.1% would have been Highly Recommended for customer service, a difference of 15.1 percentage points. Similarly, of the people that took the SalesAP, 17.4% were Highly Recommended for sales. If those applying for customer service positions had actually applied for sales positions, only 7.0% would have been Highly Recommended for sales, a difference of 10.4 percentage points.

Does this mean that all of your applicants will be well-suited for the jobs for which they’re applying? Of course not. It does, however, demonstrate that consciously or subconsciously, people understand themselves and tend to apply for jobs at which they can feel comfortable and succeed.