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DISC For Hiring - Target Practice

Use DISC For Hiring?


Can you and should you use DISC Assessments to screen job applicants? This question keeps popping up online and offline and it can not be answered with a clear yes or no. I have used DISC Profiles for years to help companies make better hiring decisions. If you pondering this issue, here is what to consider:

DISC Assessments provide insights into a candidates behavioral preferences and emotions, examples are how the applicant likes to communicate and be communicated with, if a person is more introverted or extroverted, does this person prefer structure and attention to detail over an unstructured environment, how in tune is an applicant with other’s feelings and emotions, etc… This is measured by the instrument; however, a lot of things are not and generalizing from here, while tempting, would be a mistake. (I invite you to read DISC 101 for more detailed information about DISC.)

A DISC Profile makes no statement about an applicant’s education or training, beyond just the ability to read and understand the statements used in the assessment, which has been eased by making the assessment available in different languages over time.

A DISC Assessment does not test for skills or experience. Obviously skills and experience are important factors for many hiring managers and business owners and there are many other ways to identify the proper candidate.

DISC Assessments do not measure a person’s values. Values are depended on a persons environment, culture, upbringing and similar factors not measured in the assessment. DISC is neutral in this respect. Fortunately there are great assessments on the market measuring this aspect and if this is important to your hiring decision, contact me and I will guide you in the right direction.

Last, but not least, DISC Assessments do NOT measure an applicant’s intelligence. There are many definitions of intelligence, check out Wikipedia for a detailed run down. My preferred definition is: “Intelligence is defined as what an intelligence test measures,” for all it’s worth.

I hope this clarifies what a DISC Assessment can and can not be used for in the hiring process. Consultants and sales people often get carried away when discussing DISC for hiring and while their intentions are good, keep the above in mind before making a purchase decision.

How Can You Use DISC For Hiring?

DISC Assessments can be a valuable tool in making better hiring, and for applicants better career, decisions. While money makes the world go round, or at the time of this writing push it off a cliff, it isn’t the number one motivating factor for employees. What really motivates employees? Check out this entertaining animation of Dan Pink’s Talk at the RSA.

A good use of DISC profiles in the hiring and/or placement process is for positions that require (or at the very least benefit from) a certain set of behaviors. What do I mean by that? Imagine a position which requires frequent decision making, often with vague or conflicting information, someone how ranks high in D (Dominance/Decision Making) might do very well and have a blast doing it. An applicant ranking high in S (Steadiness) or C (Compliance) might get stressed out in the same situation.
We do our best work in an environment that caters to our needs and preferences, it is easy to see how a DISC Assessment can help identify better suited applicants for this imaginary position. It also highlights a limitation of the assessment, as it doesn’t measure how good the decisions the person ranking high in D might make, will be.

Consider using DISC when you are looking for specific behavioral traits in an otherwise qualified applicant pool.

My experience over many years has been that applicants who (if otherwise qualified to do a job) will do very well, if their behavioral profile is a good match for the job requirements and their future work environment. The Profile will also give you a good idea about a person’s ideal environment, allowing you to make any desired changes to smooth the transition into the new position.

For more information on DISC and Hiring check out DISC Assessment helps you hire the perfect fit the easy way!

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Thanks to those talented photographers who’s images we used in this post. They are listed by their Flickr usernames:

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8factorsInfinitely curious, optimistic, logical thinker out there enjoying life!View all posts by 8factors →