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The dark core personality test: an employer’s guide


Dark personality traits are those considered to lead to unpleasant situations: Where someone, when triggered, may display undesirable and even ruinous behavior in the workplace.

The presence of such traits in someone doesn’t necessarily mean they will act destructively; after all, most of us have some dark traits within us. But it is important to assess them when hiring a new candidate, as knowing where they score on these traits can save you time and resources in the long run. 

Even though a dark core personality test can be used in recruiting, you might also want to incorporate other personality assessments, like the 16 Types, the Big 5 (OCEAN) tests or our upcoming HEXACO personality test. That will ensure you get a more rounded overview of a candidate’s personality. 

In this article, we’ll look at what the dark core personality test is, some of its variants, and what to look for when using this assessment in your recruitment strategy.

Let’s dive in.

What is the dark core personality test?

The dark core personality test can determine how prone someone is to having dark personality traits and displaying morally and ethically questionable behavior in their everyday life. These traits might, for instance, drive an individual to engage in activities that will further their interests over those of others, while trying to justify their actions to avoid repercussions. 

A 2018 paper suggested that people are more prone to malevolence than we might think. Apart from looking only at IQ to assess an individual’s intelligence, one should also pay attention to the General Dark Factor of Personality, or the D-factor, which corresponds to indifference and maliciousness.  

The D-Factor can be viewed as a unifying factor for most dark traits present in human beings. 

Knowing if someone scores high or low on this factor can be a useful tool for recruitment, helping you understand more about your candidates’ personalities.

How can the dark core personality test be useful in recruiting? 

Using personality tests in general is important for recruiters to understand how a candidate will act in the workplace and whether or not they’ll be a good match for your team. 

The dark core personality test will help you determine if a candidate is prone to dark traits, which can prove counterproductive or even destructive for your business. 

However, recruiters often use other personality tests, which have been tried and tested over time.

The 16 Types test, for example, is based on the work of Carl Jung, showcasing a candidate’s source of energy, their preferred lifestyle, and how they process information. 

The Big 5 (OCEAN) test, on the other hand, assesses candidates’ five overarching dimensions of personality: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability.

Both of these tests are done in the form of a self-evaluation questionnaire, which helps recruiters understand where a candidate stands on certain issues. 

Combining these tests with the dark core personality test will give you a fuller picture of your candidates and what you can expect from them. 

You can choose between two tests to assess someone’s dark core personality traits: the Dark Triad test and the D-factor test. 

The Dark Triad test

The Dark Triad test is simpler than the D-factor because it measures candidates on three general malevolent traits: Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. 

  1. Machiavellianism is associated with manipulation and the absence of moral virtues

  2. Narcissism is associated with pride, egoism, and a lack of empathy

  3. Psychopathy is associated with antisocial behavior and indifference toward others

All three traits are distinct but overlapping, and they can be a good indicator of a candidate’s view and approach to life in general. 

The D-factor test

The D-factor test has a more elaborative structure than the Dark Triad and will give you a fuller picture of the following traits: egoism, Machiavellianism, moral disengagement, narcissism, psychological entitlement, psychopathy, sadism, self-interest, and spitefulness. 

The aim is to evaluate individuals’ general dispositions toward dark traits, represented by the D-factor. A person can score high in one, two, or more criteria, but not display other dark-trait tendencies. 

Either of these tests will enable you to surmise how much a candidate is willing to maximize their own gain at the expense of others, regardless of the means. And with such information, you can judge whether or not that person will be a suitable fit for your team – especially if they have a clear disposition to put their own interests above those of their coworkers. 

What results are desirable for the workplace? 

Naturally, candidates who score low on the dark core personality tests are more desirable for recruiters than those who score high. 

Someone with a high score in one or more dark core personality traits isn’t necessarily a menace to your organization. Nevertheless, you do need to be careful and keep an eye on them in case of unwanted situations. 

For example, someone with a high score on the self-interest trait might prove useful for your organization, as they are more likely to go above and beyond to achieve their goals. This makes them an overachiever, which should be regarded as a positive trait for an employee. 

But if that person disregards the wellbeing of others to achieve their goals, the trait becomes negative or toxic and will have repercussions for your team. 

Regardless of which assessments you use, you can use TestGorilla’s guide to interpreting personality tests to aid you in making the right decision. Generally, we don’t recommend making a hiring decision solely based on personality tests since that will skew your interpretation of what a candidate can offer. 

Rather, you want to integrate both personality and pre-employment skills tests for a more rounded understanding of your candidates that includes both personality and skills. This will give you a more comprehensive picture of how well they match your hiring criteria. 

Once you’ve done that, you can make a truly informed hiring decision. 

Use personality tests to make better hiring decisions

Personality tests are useful tools in recruitment as they give you better insights into the worldview of candidates. 

Graphic showing the different personality tests to help make better hiring decisions

There are various tests, such as the DISC test or the Big 5 (OCEAN) test, you can use to assess your applicants’ personality traits – the good ones and the bad ones. However, you shouldn’t rely on these tests alone to make your hiring decision. 

Instead, use them in combination with role-specific skills assessments to get a better overall idea of how your candidate will fit into your team, improving the accuracy of your hiring decisions.

With TestGorilla, you’ll find the recruitment process to be simpler, faster, and much more effective. Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.


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