Considering role-play in sales recruitment!
Role-play is an activity used by trainers to see if delegates have picked up on structures presented in a training session. Role-play is also used by managers to obtain a general idea of the level of performance of a salesperson and as practice re-enforcing new skills learned in training. Recently role-playing has become a vital part of recruitment as a way of measuring how difficult or easy it is for the applicant to learn new skills and interact with others.
brief the entire group as to the importance of the task
If you are considering using role-play for assessment in groups you need to be very careful in what you are doing! People very involved in roles like selling have what is know as high ego involvement. Which sometimes means a sales person may not role-play well in groups. They may tend to either act like it’s a joke and divert attention away from their role or ham it up and act rather than working on the function. Before you role-play as a group make sure to fully brief the entire group as to the importance of the task. Make sure what you are trying to achieve is congruent with what motivates most of the sales people in the group in other words if you are trying to recruit intrinsically motivated staff make sure the emphasis is place on the performance, if you are trying to recruit extrinsically motivated staff you should include a prize.
Do video role-play
My suggestion is that you do video role-play and that prior to the role-play you train all of your would-be-staff on the assessment system and set out a form as to how you want each and every role-play assessed using a ratings system. The important part takes place in private when you review each of the assessment with each would-be sales person while reviewing the tape. The things that they identify correctly that they did right and wrong, is where you can assess their level. If they know what they did wrong and right then you have a real good chance of being able to work with them. If they think they are great and they are not, you just saved yourself a great deal of time effort and money