The data revolution has pushed the concept of predictive analytics to the forefront. Put simply, predictive analytics involves collecting data on someone (e.g., a prospect, customer, or job candidate) in order to predict what he or she will do next.

With this type of invaluable intelligence, smart companies are using predictive analytics in their marketing, sales, and hiring to gain a major competitive advantage (translation: to make more money). Are you?

Below, I outline a simple 2-step test to assess whether you’re really using predictive analytics when you’re hiring salespeople.

Step 1: Collecting the right data sales-hiring-tips-ideal-candidate

Are you collecting quantitative data to assess the pre-hire performance (i.e., quality) of your sales candidates?

Specifically, are you using a psychometric assessment and/or a structured interview to score and rank candidates? Are you then using this data to inform your sales hiring decisions? This is where the “predictive” part comes in.

Note: Data does not include things like “I feel…” or “I sense…” I’m also not talking about typical recruitment metrics like time-to-fill, which generally have no relationship with actual on-the-job sales performance.

Your pre-hire performance data should look like your post-hire performance data: cold, hard numbers.

Step 2: Closing the data loop

Are you keeping track of the pre-hire scores of the salespeople you end up hiring? And then statistically analyzing how correlated these scores are with their subsequent sales performance metrics? This is where the “analytics” part comes in.


If you replied “yes” to both steps, then congratulations, you’re truly engaging in strategic sales hiring. If not, then you need to take a good look at your sales hiring practices and figure out where to make the necessary changes.

In nearly every business function, decision making has vastly improved through the intelligent use of data. Predictive analytics get so much hype because they’re taking this decision making to the next level of insight.

Isn’t it time your sales hiring does the same?

How has adding predictive analytics improved your sales hiring? Share your experience in the comments or tweet @ideal.

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min