DISC test

The DISC test distinguishes four behavior types in people: dominant, influential, stable and conscientious. It allows us to determine a person's predominant behavior type and measure their adaptability, flexibility, interpersonal communication and leadership. The results are then used to improve communication and collaboration, especially in a work context.

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Stéphane Moriou

Expert in DISC

Stéphane Moriou
Top 100 global thought leader on feedback and assessment

Stéphane Moriou, Ph.D., is a world expert speaker on the art and science of feedback. His conference "The Art of Feedback" is THE world reference on the subject. At the age of less than 30, he was appointed Director of Human Resources for the Le Duff Group. At less than 40, he is one of the presidents of ManpowerGroup. Today, as CEO of MoreHuman Partners, he works as a researcher, speaker and consultant on topics related to cognitive skills, including how to give and receive feedback.

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DISC Test: Assess and Hire the Best Candidates!

For an increasing number of employers, behavioral and personality testing has become an invaluable feature of the recruitment process. 

Neither intentional employers nor hopeful applicants want to waste their time pursuing unproductive pathways. Using every tool at their disposal to weed out the best candidates helps the process go more smoothly for all involved. 

The DISC test is just one of the tools that can enable a company to quickly and accurately find new employees suitable for the job.

Unlike many other popular personality tests, the DISC test differentiates itself by analyzing people's behaviors. This approach has many benefits in the workplace. It is an open-minded test that identifies patterns and behavioral styles within a person without boxing them into a confining personality type.

Furthermore, the four communication styles outlined in the DISC method are accessible and straightforward. 

Since every person exhibits these behaviors in varying degrees, this test determines general tendencies rather than inflexible categories. Moreover, every feature manifests in a person's actions rather than their mindset or identity.

Here are the four traits which equip the DISC test for hiring:

  • Dominance: demonstrated by confident and logical behaviors
  • Influence: shown through personal connection and collaboration
  • Steadiness: exhibits warm and stable behaviors
  • Conscientiousness: prioritizes objectivity and diligence

Individuals can see which of these four styles they act on the most and which ones they may represent the least frequently. Learning this information may help someone become more aware of how they relate to others through their choices and how they would respond to situations in the workplace.

With a complete understanding of the benefits of each of these traits in job-specific scenarios, companies can enhance their recruitment technique by incorporating the DISC test for hiring. See below for advice on the appropriate administration of this test, ways to interpret the results, and tips on recruiting more effectively with this system.

How To Use Disc Tests in the Hiring Process?

Though including a behavioral test like DISC has many benefits to the hiring process, it must be integrated at the right time to ensure that evaluations proceed with fairness and transparency. 

In light of those principles, the timing and goals of this test become some of the most critical factors in a recruitment scenario.

Read on to ensure that the DISC test is administered in a timely and relevant manner.

When To Administer the Disc Test?

Since the DISC test does not impose exhaustive traits onto a person, the timing of this test can be more flexible than other more finely-tuned tests. However, there are still some general guidelines to follow in administering this examination:

  • If used for the screening phase, the DISC test should occur alongside other tests to create a complete picture of the candidate.
  • For a more productive interview, examine the test results before the meeting to allow for tailored discussions about the applicant's strengths and weaknesses.
  • If given later in the selection process, this test may help affirm the skills and behaviors that a candidate claims to possess.

How to Pinpoint Relevant Behaviors?

A single personality test should never be the sole reason for terminating a candidate's eligibility for a job. Though this may seem like common sense, it is necessary to affirm that irrelevant discrimination is not appropriate in the recruitment process. 

Therefore, determining appropriate uses of the DISC test for hiring is a great way to protect both companies and candidates throughout the complex process. This personality test can outline an individual's strongest behaviors in a way that showcases distinct talents and preferences. 

When a person's skills are directly related to their ability to perform a job, it is entirely appropriate for a company to measure these skills to seek out people who have experience in those areas or show great promise in future performance. 

Here are some ways to use the DISC test for hiring with relevant skills and behaviors:

Dominance in the Workplace

  • An emergency responder will thrive on making quick decisions and objective analyses
  • An engineer benefits from the desire to overcome challenges
  • A salesperson will find success through assertiveness and taking action
  • A project manager can produce successful results with an outcome-oriented perspective

Influence in the Workplace

  • A physical therapist will find value in interacting with and protecting others
  • A customer-facing employee will benefit from high sensitivity to others
  • A team supervisor can profit by inspiring and gathering a group
  • A teacher will find value in shaping the lives of students

Steadiness in the Workplace

  • A therapist will excel with high listening skills
  • A law clerk will enjoy seeking ways to support the group
  • An administrative assistant will benefit from organizational skills
  • An architect will thrive in collaborating and sharing ideas

Conscientiousness in the Workplace

  • An accountant can utilize meticulous attention in daily tasks
  • A lab technician will possess the desire to work consistently and accurately
  • A personal assistant will be eager to meet the needs of others
  • An editor can easily identify errors and implement rules

How To Assess and Use the Disc Test for Hiring?

When examining the potential performance of an applicant, there is no way to perfectly predict how they will fare in a job they have not yet been given. 

When companies apply examinations that analyze behavior and performance over a wide range of qualities, the chances multiply that someone with the closest credentials will appear.

Companies should not treat the hiring process as a random endeavor, hoping the right person will come along. Instead, engaging in active hiring strategies using a test like DISC can follow concrete steps towards finding a great future employee rather than trusting blind hope and uninformed intuition.

See below for tips on creating a wish list for applicants' qualifications and advice on successfully interpreting the DISC test results.

Seek out Equipped Individuals

To expedite the recruitment process and get straight to the people who may be the best match, it is always a good idea for businesses to create a list of ideal qualities and skills in a candidate before ever reviewing applications or conducting interviews.

Taking a deeper look at the skills present in the DISC test can be a helpful way to create realistic and productive expectations for a potential employee. 

By objectively delineating which qualities will be beneficial in a job, recruiters can protect themselves from future biases against personality-related features of an applicant that may not be relevant to their job-related abilities.

When the skills wish list focuses on what matters, companies can quickly and efficiently identify those candidates that fit the bill.

Interpret Results Appropriately

Personality results flourish in context with various other examination methods such as interviews, references, portfolios, and skills tests to achieve the broadest picture of the individual. 

Of course, a DISC test will bring valuable insight into a person's preferences, but this test does not purport to encompass the entirety of an individual.

Unlike other tests which encourage comparison and competition among the resulting types, the DISC test maintains an accepting and open position towards each of the four categories. 

It is helpful to affirm the behavior styles of each individual, and the DISC test is one way to identify and celebrate differences between people.

Recruiters should consider an applicant's potential for growth in some areas in conjunction with their mastery in others.

For example, while it may benefit one corporation to hire a person who possesses high confidence in one trait, it could be helpful for another to find a person that presents balanced behaviors.

Rather than being used to reject or exclude candidates, this test is a great way to boost an employee's credibility even further.

Recruiting for DISC

There are plenty of jobs that require the exact analytical and interpersonal skills that the DISC test can measure. While individuals will not be placed on a spectrum or a single category, this test aids in recruitment by identifying key behaviors exhibited by a person and connecting them to the four traits.

Find the Needle in the Haystack

Instead of delaying the process by gathering information about an applicant's skills through analysis and conversations, the DISC test eliminates that effort by compiling the data in mere minutes.

With this additional tool, you can find the individuals who align most closely with the skills and abilities you have already enumerated in your preferred credentials instead of wading through repetitive cover letters and applications that lack individuality. 

If you are looking for a person with exceptional initiative and drive, pursue those who exhibit the Dominance (D) trait. If you believe your open position would benefit from a person with much experience in teamwork and collaboration, find people who connect with the Steadiness (S) trait. 

Since every DISC quality measures patterns in behavior and action, you can have added confidence that these people bring experience and practice to their new job in the areas that will benefit the position.

Examine Workplace Compatibility

Recruiters who prefer to administer the DISC test later in the hiring process will find value in applying the results to interpersonal compatibility. 

Though recruiters should avoid making judgments or generalizations about the effects of a certain personality type, they can seek to promote diversity in the company culture by celebrating different behavioral styles.

Team-building success does not happen accidentally, and one way to promote greater unity is to intentionally place complementary personalities together. Group synergy fails when everyone fights for attention or when no one takes charge. 

So, a successful group will come from a mixture of leaders, listeners, and everyone in between.

For determining compatible teams, the DISC test offers an insightful starting point for new hires. Recruiters can see what styles this person has preferred in the past as a way to match them most closely with people who will help them flourish even more.

DISC Test: Considerations for Recruiters

To preserve the integrity of an accessible and equitable hiring process for all applicants, some general reminders are in order with the inclusion of personality testing. 

Though the DISC test is inherently built to avoid some of the exclusions existing in other personality tests, the potential for misuse may still be present with these types of tests. 

Always Protect Fairness

Interpreting results fairly can be enacted by maintaining appropriate context for these behavioral results. Employers should always seek to engage multiple measures of skills and talents to avoid concluding too much from one source alone. 

For example, an individual who demonstrates higher levels of Conscientiousness (C) on the DISC test should also be expected to show those behaviors in interviews, other job experience, and other professional examinations. 

This is just one way to confirm the stability and reliability of a DISC test result by investigating a person's history of actions.

Furthermore, an individual who shows lower or average levels of Conscientious behavior should not be immediately disqualified for a position that values this skill. 

Employers can maintain fairness by investigating other qualifications for the position, including interviews, experience, and evaluations, to draw a complete conclusion about a person's readiness for the job.

As only one factor among many, this test should confirm talents rather than exclude them. 

How to Avoid Discrimination

The primary caution regarding discrimination is that no irrelevant information should be used to disqualify a candidate. Like racial, social, or gender discrimination, no employee should be treated differently because of their personality or labels.

Employers can always interpret tests in context with other measures to ensure that no evaluation leads to discrimination. This way, the person as a whole is protected from being stereotyped due to one feature.

When the DISC test for hiring serves to celebrate people's skills and showcase their abilities, a company can unlock greater potential in their recruiting and their future employees. 

With just the power of four words, the DISC test fosters greater awareness of behaviors and greater acceptance of others in their myriad differences.

The future of hiring. Simple. Efficient. Fair.