Leading jewelry retailer uses Kenexa assessments

Making smarter recruitment decisions with deep insight into the keys for sales success

This jewelry retailer operates hundreds of stores across the United States.

“The insights revealed by the IBM Kenexa solution help our recruiters to pick the best sales associates.”   
Spokesperson  Jewelry retailer

Business challenge

To drive sales and business growth, this retailer must attract and retain skilled and motivated people. How could it identify the best candidates for customer-facing sales roles?


The company developed a sales associate assessment that delivers unprecedented insight into the factors that predict sales success, helping it make more informed hiring decisions.

Business benefits:

Delivers deep insight into the factors that predict sales success

Drives smarter recruitment decisions, helping shape effective sales teams

Boosts sales and keeps the company on track for profitable growth

Finding the right candidates

For retailers, developing a strong sales team is vital to engaging customers and driving profitable growth. But finding the right people from amongst a flood of applicants can be a daunting task. How can organizations ensure that an applicant has the right skills for the job, and that they fit in with a company’s culture and ways of working?

This jewelry retailer sought to refine its approach to sales associate recruitment. It wanted a more accurate way to assess new applicants and determine whether they had the qualities needed to develop successfully in their roles and contribute to the company’s continued growth.

Creating a customized assessment

The retailer turned to IBM to help it develop a customized sales associate assessment, using IBM® Kenexa® Behavioral Assessment on Cloud. As a first step, the company held focus groups with senior executives, subject matter experts and high-performing associates to identify and rank the traits that these individuals considered as key to successful performance. Using the results, the company created a shortlist of the top traits associated with sales associate success.

The retailer then conducted a series of trial tests among a wide array of existing sales associates, with a range of performance rankings, to identify correlations between certain traits and sales performance. It then refined the assessment, creating a final version that is as short as possible while still covering all key requirements. The assessment sorts participants into three groups based on how they score against the criteria: not recommended, proceed with caution, and recommended.

Uncovering new insights

The retailer conducted a follow up study to explore the correlation between the assessment rankings and participants’ actual sales performance after their first full year of employment. This revealed that associates with top assessment scores reported 36 percent higher sales compared to their colleagues and averaged USD26 more in sales per hour—the equivalent of USD52,000 more sales annually.

In total, top-ranked assistants achieved some US$ 6.6 million more in sales than their counterparts. The results also showed that top performers were seven times more likely to hit their sales targets and 75 percent more likely to reach their up-sell opportunity targets.

What’s more, the retailer has discovered that assistants who score highly on their assessments are more likely to go on to win promotions. In fact, associates who were promoted to managerial positions achieved approximately 10 percent higher assessment scores on average.

With unprecedented insight into the indicators that predict higher sales performance, the retailer can make more informed decisions when it comes to hiring new assistants—helping it build a strong sales team and drive continued commercial success.

Take the next step

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