Executives and Sales Aptitude Testing

by Henry Eilbirt



This article focuses on the use of psychological testing while selecting salesmen. On one hand, the sales executive confronts the necessity for a significant decision. On the other, he faces that familiar dilemma, the information upon which the decision must rest is far from complete or accurate. In recent years, there has been increasing attention in this area to "scientific" methods. Attempts have been made to introduce measurements and standards into interviewing and the analysis of personal history forms. The commonly used psychological testing instruments do appear to possess utility, even though they are far from being flawless or precise instruments. As in so many analogous cases, something useful is better than nothing at all, even when the something useful is far from perfect. The testing system used for admission of college students has not been held by all observers to be absolutely valid. Yet the colleges show no disposition to drop this testing. Similarly, security analysis has been criticized by observers on the score of its validity. Yet no one would deny it is one of the best tools available and therefore it continues to be used. It is this concept of relative usefulness which will probably explain why, despite the arguments which have existed and will undoubtedly continue to exist among the students in the area of psychological testing, one may expect with considerable confidence that the use of tests will expand in the future.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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