5 myths about pre-employment testing you shouldn’t believe

Pre-employment testing such as the APQ sales aptitude assessment, DISC, PI, CI, etc. are used by many companies as a screening and development tool. Despite widespread availability, there are still plenty of firms yet to adopt them as part of their hiring process. For the most part, the reasons for this are lack of awareness of the value of pre-employment testing and/or erroneous ideas about them.

In this post I hope to dispel some of the biggest myths about pre-employment testing so that anyone sitting on the fence can take the leap with confidence.

Myth #1: Aptitude testing is expensive

You might imagine setting up a pre-employment testing program is expensive, but in truth it is quite affordable when compared with the cost of making a bad hire. It is estimated that just one bad B2B salesperson hired for a typical corporation could cost that company $150,000 the first year, including lost opportunity costs.

To avoid a $150,000 mistake yet still be fiscally responsible, only put your most promising candidates through the APQ sales aptitude assessment, once you have already filtered them out based on other criteria – such as a personal interview. Or, work with a company like ASHER who can provide you with bulk volume discounts for your testing program.

Myth #2: Any well-known test is suitable

The most well-known name in pre-employment testing is likely the DISC Assessment. It is a great tool for hiring across a broad spectrum of job roles, but it falls down when it comes to hiring salespeople, sales managers, CSRs, etc.

The reason DISC is inadequate is that success in sales requires specific characteristics inherent in a personality – and these specific traits are not adequately measured nor identified in the DISC test. Furthermore, an outside sales hunter has different trait requirements than an inside sales farmer, and only a test designed just for sales roles illuminates these differences to allow you to put a new hire in the best customer-facing role for their success and your success. The APQ is such a test.

Myth #3: It is easy to fake results and game the test

Some older or less sophisticated pre-employment testing might be easy to game, but for the most part modern tests are very hard to cheat.

For example, the APQ is carefully designed to catch inconsistencies in answers which reveal a test taker is simply trying to look good rather than answer honestly. It will actually flag the test to alert the administrator! As that is someone you probably do not want to admit to your ranks, you can move on to your next promising candidate.

Myth #4: Testing and deciphering results are complicated

Another myth is that it these tests are complicated affairs taking hours to take and grade, and it takes a degree in psychology or astrophysics to decipher results.

In truth, with the APQ your prospect can take an aptitude test from anywhere with an Internet connection, and it takes 20 to 30 minutes tops.

The results are plotted on color-coded graphs and the accompanying narrative and coaching reports are all in plain English.

Here are the primary traits addresses in the test. As you can see, they are easy to understand concepts:

  • Intensity/Drive/li>
  • Need for Independence/li>
  • Assertiveness/li>
  • Recognition/li>
  • Need to Analyze/li>
  • Self-Protection/li>
  • Need to serve/li>
  • Trust/li>
  • Optimism

The APQ goes beyond just these traits with additional secondary traits plus recommendations for addressing specific areas of strengths and blind spots to improve performance in certain areas. The clarity and usefulness makes testing buy-in a cinch from managers and executives.

Myth #5: Test results cannot legally be used in hiring decisions

Actually, pre-employment testing like the APQ is color-blind and makes the hiring process very fair indeed. And you’ll be happy to know that it is legally defensible as a selection tool under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (1978) (29 CFR Part 1607 for EEOC, as amended by 46 FR 63268), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1978.

This means you can feel safe in using test results to screen applicants as they have been deemed not discriminatory as defined in these laws.

Why test?

The results speak for themselves. In addition to preventing the aforementioned $150,000 mistake:

• In one case, employees with high scores were almost twice as likely to reach the top quartile of nearly every performance category.
• They also earned approximately 2.5 times the average commission of lower scoring employees.
• In another company, using the test produced up to double the average level of weekly production within the first year.

To sum up, don’t let the myths above dissuade you from obtaining the benefits of a good pre-employment testing program. Its part of making a successful sales team no matter the company size.


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