Instructing Students on the Use of Behavioral Assessment in Sales Hiring

William J. Jones, Akshaya Vijayalakshmi, Meng-Hsien (Jenny) Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: Widespread use of hiring assessments exists within the sales industry. Unfortunately,
there is a relative absence of instructional tools on behavioral assessments in sales hiring within the marketing
education literature and sales management textbooks. This study describes an innovation in sales education
designed to enhance sales management students’ abilities to be better users of behavioral assessments in the
hiring of a sales candidate.

Method/Design and Sample: Twenty-eight students enrolled in a sales management course completed a survey
to evaluate a project on sales hiring through behavioral assessment. Survey items were modified from previous
research on the use of cognitive flexibility theory in marketing education. Items tapped constructs ranging from job
search preparedness to self-confidence in applying the skills developed by the innovation. Students also
assessed ads placed to hire a sales candidate, which were analyzed from the perspective advocated by the

Results: Students found the sales project to significantly improve their perceived confidence in sales hiring and
job search preparation, and helped them to achieve knowledge of sales hiring and management in addition to
traditional learning goals. Moreover, students indicated feeling more involved in class by working on the class
project while having significantly more positive reactions to using the project to learn class material. Finally,
students demonstrated preference for a job placement ad that highlighted principles from the sales education

Value to Marketing Educators: Although behavioral assessments are widely utilized in hiring sales personnel,
the topic often receives minimal attention in sales education. Likely, this results because it is not easy to instruct
on sales assessments without turning the sales management classroom into a graduate-level course on
measurement theory. Our approach to instructing on behavioral assessments incorporates cognitive flexibility
theory and scaffolds into a semester-long project on hiring a sales candidate. This article offers a step-by-step
guide to implement a sales hiring project into a sales management or similar course.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal for Advancement of Marketing Education
StatePublished - 2016


  • Sales Management
  • Behavioral Assessment
  • Cognitive Flexibility Theory
  • Scaffolding


  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

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