Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hendrickson, William J.||Arnold, Don W. (Don Woodrow), 1914-

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Business


Psychology; Industrial; Sales personnel; Selling


THE PROBLEM The purpose of this investigation is to analyze and evaluate use and influence of psychological tests in the selection process for sales applicants. The major problem is divided into six sub-problems. The first sub-problem dealt with a determination of the extent to which psychological tests are used in the selection of salesman. The second sub-problem attempted to determine the number and types of tests in use for these purposes. The third sub-problem tried to bring out practices and points of view among firms not presently using tests for the selection of salesman. The fourth sub-problem attempted to determine the degree of influence that test results have upon the employment decision among firms using tests. The fifth sub-problem dealt with an effort to determine the benefits that accrue to the firm using tests for these purposes. The sixth and final sub-problem concerned the acceptance of testing programs by sales management personnel. PROCEDURE In this descriptive study, research of a primary nature was necessary to obtain solutions to the questions posed in each of the sub-problems. A sample of twenty-five Chicago area firms was selected. Executives responsible for the selection of salesman in each of these firms were asked a series of questions in a personal interview. The data obtained in the interviews was tabulated and organized for either tabular or rhetorical presentation. CONCLUSIONS Among the Chicago arts firms reporting, the use of psychological tests in the selection of salesmen has become widespread. Most of the firms using tests utilized a battery of three or four devices. Intelligence tests were the most popular type of device. Next in popularity were the personality type devices. The Wonderlic Personnel Test was used by eleven of the twenty-five reporting firms. Five of the twenty-five firms reporting did not use tests for the purpose of selecting salesmen. Reasons given for not using tests included a belief that present day tests were inadequate, and an inability on the part of some firms to draw any conclusions regarding testing. In the firms reporting, interviews are considered more important in selection than tests. In a majority of firms, however, it was implied that an applicant would have the best chances of selection if he also performed well on the company test battery. A majority of Chicago area firms using tests reported a belief that tests do definitely help to reduce turnover among sales personnel, and that a positive relationship exists between the tests scores of a salesman and his future success. Sales managers in the companies using tests were reported to be very much in support of psychological testing programs.


Includes bibliographical references.


ix, 101 pages




Northern Illinois University

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