A national fitness chain depends on its Membership Sales Counselors to generate the new memberships necessary for growth and profitability. The job is difficult. Membership Sales Counselors have to constantly approach walk-ins to interest them in purchasing membership packages. The job requires the ability to maintain a positive, goal-focused attitude in the face of frequent rejection. It also requires Counselors to quickly identify the aspects of the Center that would appeal to the customer and to frame the description of benefits in terms accordingly. Recognizing the job’s difficulty, the fitness chain decided to enhance its selection process with an assessment tool that could identify the candidates whose capabilities and personalities fit with the job.
Polaris worked with job experts to identify the profile of traits associated with longer-tenured, successful Membership Counselors. A national job analysis survey was then used to verify that the job’s success factors were consistent across the company (versus differing by region, size of fitness center, etc.). Tests were constructed that contained personality, attitude and value components. See Figure 1 for the range of characteristics addressed by the testing system.
The draft tests were administered to 154 incumbent Membership Counselors. Statistical analyses verified the strong correlation between test scores and performance on the job. A cloud-administered version of the test was constructed that would take most candidates 15-20 to complete. Computerized procedures scored candidates against the requirements of the jobs and also produced lists of suggested interview questions that were derived from problematic responses to groups of items.
Following introduction, a follow-up analysis was conducted of the sales achieved by both high- and low-scoring individuals who were hired in different centers. As shown in Figure 2, the study found that sales for high-scoring Membership Counselors started out 36% higher than for their lower-scoring counterparts. After 19-24 months, that difference increased to 146%. While the test is clearly effective, the fitness chain is not “resting on its laurels.” It has partnered with Polaris in continuous improvement activities in which Polaris “seeds” the test with unscored items focused on potentially-important characteristics. As data accumulates, Polaris examines whether the predictive power of the tool could be improved by beginning to use the items. The result is a very effective tool that, year after year, becomes even better.