WATERLOO, Ontario, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Plum today announced the results of a year-long, real world study into the attributes of sales job seekers, and what sales hiring managers desire in applicants. Among the most surprising findings: although most sales professionals demonstrate highly assertive personalities, exactly 0% of sales hiring managers rank assertiveness as a top priority for sales job applicants.
The findings are part of an in-depth study conducted by Plum, a hiring platform that marries Artificial Intelligence with Industrial Organizational Psychology. Spanning the entire year of 2017, Plum's findings are based on 15,421 real-world sales job applicants and over 100 companies across North America. Among the study's major insights:
The most common applicant attributes sought by sales hiring managers include industriousness, orderliness, and stability:
Industriousness: 44% of job experts agreed that industriousness was the most important trait for a sales professional. Industrious sales candidates maintain high standards, aspire to challenging goals and are willing to put forth extra effort. A high score in industriousness indicates that a sales professional has the drive to meet or exceed sales targets, can persevere to overcome objections, and is motivated to continuously improve their sales process. Although industriousness was among the top traits desired by sales hiring managers, only 20% of sales job candidates are highly industrious.
Orderliness: a sales job candidate should act deliberately, be focused on quality, and prefer to be organized and have a plan. A high score in orderliness indicates that a sales professional can be meticulous with funnel management and sales operations processes, is thorough and detail-oriented with customer needs, and is organized when presenting to prospects. Just 14% of sales job applicants demonstrate a high degree of orderliness.
Stability: a sales job candidate should be calm under pressure, even-tempered, and resistant to the effects of unexpected changes. A high score in stability indicates that a sales professional can thrive in fast-paced, high pressure sales environments, is able to maintain composure when handling tough objections, and is even-tempered in difficult prospect interactions. Just 19% of sales job applicants demonstrated a high degree of stability.
The most common attributes demonstrated by sales professional job seekers were experiential disposition, industriousness, and assertiveness.
Experiential Disposition: the most common attribute in sales job seekers, experientially dispositioned sales candidates seek out new experiences, adapt to changes, and are tolerant of differences between new people. A high score in experiential disposition indicates that sales job candidates are likely to thrive in sales environments that offer new challenges.
Industriousness: 31% of sales job candidates scored exceptionally high in industriousness. The second most common attribute in sales job seekers, industrious candidates (as mentioned above) maintain high standards, aspire to challenging goals, and are willing to put forth extra effort. A high score in industriousness indicates that a sales job candidate aspires to high sales targets and does not give up when roadblocks emerge.
Assertiveness: the third most common attribute in sales job seekers, assertive sales candidates voice opinions, are comfortable being the center of attention, and give direction to others. A high score in assertiveness indicates that sales job candidates aren't afraid to provide evidence to back up their point and voice counterpoints to objections.
As indicated by study results, a majority of sales job candidates matched with only one attribute (industriousness) sought by sales hiring managers. Not only was there a gap between job candidate attributes (supply) and hiring manager desires (demand), sales job candidates actually scored lowest in orderliness and stability, two of the top three attributes desired by sales hiring managers.
"Our study findings reflect what we see day-in, day-out with our customers: what hiring managers want is often not reflected in the applicant pool. Other times, what hiring managers may think they want is not what they actually need," said Plum CEO Caitlin MacGregor. "Our study also challenges some fundamental and long-held preconceptions about sales professionals, which is one reason why we wanted to share it."
Plum's report also recognizes that the gap between applicant pool attributes and hiring manager needs is not likely to close overnight. Given the average profile of a sales job candidate, Plum recommends that hiring managers keep the following in mind:
- The sales talent that companies hire will ultimately crave new and varied experiences. Keep them interested by setting challenging goals and offering experiences that set you apart from other companies.
- Applicants to sales roles will often find it challenging to keep details in check and organize their workflows. Companies should think about how they can better leverage their CRM systems to make detail management and organization easier.
Plum marries artificial intelligence with industrial organizational psychology to help employers increase the quality of their hires, develop their talent, and transform their cultures. With 24 trillion data points, Plum's Talent Neural Network is the single largest database for quantifying the potential of human capital and graphing the future of the workforce. Founded in 2012 and based in Waterloo, Ontario, Plum can be found online at www.plum.io