Chapter 3: How Do They Work?

Pre-employment assessments vary in what they measure. Some are skills-based, such as those which require the test taker to complete job-related tasks. Others measure general problem-solving faculties, a perfect example being the good old-fashioned IQ test. And then there are aptitude tests which seek to predict suitability for certain jobs based on the personality or attitudes of the test taker.

The latter is the preferred category for testing salespeople, as success in sales depends greatly on innate attitude and personality, rather than simply rote memorization of what to say or do. Many salespeople have been trained in product knowledge and closing techniques, and failed because they didn’t possess the inherent aptitude to succeed. This is a very common problem in many companies.

Aptitude tests such as the APQ are practical far beyond testing salespeople. As more companies discover the value of pre-employment assessments, the number of non-sales use is increasing. For example, the internal dynamics of any department, such as finance or warehouse, can be enhanced by discovering the personality traits of its members and reassigning roles. And new managers can get a quick “Cliff Notes” overview of their employees by administering assessments periodically.

How the Advanced Personality Questionnaire works

The APQ is an easy-to-administer, low cost, and simple-to-take test comprised of 81 multiple choice questions delivered via any internet-connected device, including mobile phones and tablets. It takes an average of 25 to 30 minutes to complete, and results are delivered instantly to administrators for review and coaching the test takers.
These results plot the test taker’s scores along a color-coded matrix and compares them to those score ranges scientifically proven as ideal for specific roles. The graphical representation of low to high ranges allows for easy interpretation of which characteristics are strong and which are weak in each candidate, allowing for prediction of success on the job.

In total, the APQ produces 5 reports:

• Compatibility chart for hiring evaluation of roughly 30 job roles
• Snapshot of the candidate’s personality traits for self-learning
• Coaching suggestions for the sales manager
• Sales Builder report with tailored suggestions to sell more effectively
• Team Builder data to work together more effectively
• Team Culture Report

Testing should be conducted early in the hiring process to gather objective data on candidates before deciding which should move on to the next steps. This helps streamline recruitment and saves a significant amount of time that would have been spent dealing with unqualified applicants.

Compatibility Scores Correlate to Performance

In order to gauge the value of the APQ for enhancing profits to a company, numerous studies have been undertaken to determine the performance metrics that correlate to certain Compatibility Scores. High-Compatibility test takers (those in Moderate-High or High), when compared with those rated as Low-Compatibility (Low or Moderate-Low):

• Sell more (demonstrated a 129% increase in sales in one company)
• Perform better (had 73% higher average manager ratings in one company)
• Earn more (in one case showed 80% higher commissions)

With well over a quarter-million assessments and three decades of research, the APQ clearly proves that pre-employment testing facilitates better hiring decisions and a more profitable bottom line.

Prevents “gaming”

An important feature of quality pre-employment assessments is anti-gaming. Inferior tests are subject to test takers answering in a way to make a good impression, rather than answering honestly. In fact, nowadays test takers can Google how to “pass” certain assessments, rendering them useless.

The APQ uses a proprietary anti-gaming algorithm which is updated regularly and makes it very hard to cheat. By using a “real-ideal” format, where the respondents rate each statement as it applies to themselves (“real” response) and to the “ideal” candidate (“ideal” response) and duplicate questions, inconsistencies which reflect gaming can be exposed.

Unbiased and scientific

The EEOC dictates that pre-employment assessments must not cause adverse impact against individuals of certain races, sex, ethnicity, age, etc. Tests must therefore show consistent results regardless of the minority status of the test takers. Specifically, the hiring rate of a protected minority group cannot be less than 80% of the majority group as a result of a selection methodology.

Two independent adverse impact analyses were performed for the APQ using sample applicants from twenty companies to test for adverse impacts among gender, race, age, etc. The test passed EEOC requirements and is therefore suitable as a personnel selection tool under federal guidelines.

Pre-employment assessments help make decisions based on data rather than opinions or gut feelings.


The available research validates the importance of personality as a predictor of success on the job — sales or otherwise. Pre-employment assessments can uncover the personality traits of an individual in an unbiased, legally compliant way and leads to better recruitment outcomes. Regardless, test results should of course not be the sole criteria used in hiring personnel, but form part of a holistic recruitment methodology tailored to each company’s needs.


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