Sales Force Selection Process

Selection systems for sales personnel range from simple one-step systems, consisting of nothing more than an informal personal interview, to com­plex multiple-step systems incorporating diverse mechanisms designed to gather information about applicants for sales jobs. A selection system is a set of successive ‘‘screens,’’ at any of which an applicant may be dropped from further consideration. Figure 10.2 is an example that at any one of the seven steps in this system, a decision to drop the applicant may be made. Employment offers are extended to applicants enduring all seven steps. The order of use of the different screening mechanisms is related more to their helpfulness in terms of the information they secure than to the rela­tive expense in using them.

Companies using multiple-step selection systems differ as to the num­ber of steps and their order of inclusion. Each company designs its selec­tion system to fit its own information needs and to meet its own budgetary limitations. A selection system fulfills its main mission if it improves man­agement’s ability to estimate success and failure probabilities. Management, in other words, has the information gathered through the selection system can make more accurate estimates of the chances that a particular applicant will succeed in a company sales position. As applicants ‘‘pass’’ through suc­ceeding steps in the system, the additional increments of information enable increasingly accurate estimates of success and failure probabilities. Recog­nize, however, that no selection system is infallible; all eliminate some who would have succeeded and recommend hiring some who fail.

Source: Richard R. Still, Edward W. Cundliff, Normal A. P Govoni, Sandeep Puri (2017), Sales and Distribution Management: Decisions, Strategies, and Cases, Pearson; Sixth edition.

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