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How to interpret the results of a DISC assessment


If you are searching for ways to find out how candidates’ behavior will drive workplace productivity, there is one way to achieve this reliably. The DISC test will inform you about your candidates’ behavior, and they are accurate in terms of the information and results they provide.

A quick word of warning before we dive into the details of the DISC test: Though you might want to use a DISC test to analyze how your candidates will behave in a given role and stop the analysis there, more should be considered in your hiring decision than just the results of this test. Because, although DISC tests are accurate, limiting the information you collect on your candidates’ aptitudes and personalities to just one test isn’t recommended.

But you will benefit from using a DISC test in different ways. So, in this post, which focuses on the DISC personality explained, we have also provided information on:

  • What a DISC test is and how it was created

  • Why DISC tests are important in the hiring process

  • When and how DISC tests should be used

  • How to use a DISC test in an unbiased way

  • How to interpret your candidates’ DISC test results

  • The benefits of using a DISC test

What is a DISC test and how was it created?

If you’re not familiar with the DISC test, we’ve begun this post by explaining what the DISC test is. HR personnel use the DISC test to understand more about their candidates’ behavior within the working environment. Each letter in the ‘DISC’ acronym stands for one of the four classifications of particular behavior types. 

The DISC test was created in line with the behavioral model created by William Marston – a psychologist and behavioral expert who also developed the lie detector prototype. The DISC theory was further explained in Marston’s book – Emotions of Normal People, and the behavioral assessment was then developed by Walter Vernon Clarke, an industrial psychologist, who wanted to vet candidates for particular roles.

The test itself gives deeper insights into how your candidates will collaborate and communicate with your existing team members. It will also help you understand how your candidates’ behaviors are likely to drive their actions and productivity within the workplace.

Why DISC tests are important during the hiring process

In addition to providing information on your candidates’ behavior, DISC tests are important for two other reasons during your hiring process.

Discover how your candidates’ behavior types align with your company values

How much do your candidates’ behavior types align with your company values? The results of the DISC test will help you find this out. The test will accurately indicate which behavior type best applies to your candidates, which you can then compare with your company values.

Other factors are also important when making your final hiring decision, but to dig deeper into how your candidates are likely to fit into your company’s culture, use the DISC test. To see how to read the results, we have gone into more detail about the DISC personality profiles.

Learn the best ways to manage your successful candidate

Planning ahead in terms of how to manage your new hire will be simpler with the results of a DISC test. Once you understand more about your candidates’ behavioral type, among other factors such as their skills, you can then begin to think about your management style going forward. 

Whether your candidate needs more guidance or structure in the approach to their work or works better independently, you will find out how their behavior should be managed by using the DISC behavioral test.

When and how DISC behavioral tests should be utilized

We recommend that you use a DISC behavioral test at the start of the hiring process. At this stage, because you are just getting to know your candidates, you will cut the time it takes to learn more about them using a DISC test at the beginning of the process.

Not only do DISC tests save you time, but they will also help you plan ahead in different ways. If you’re creating interview questions, for instance, you can use the results of the DISC tests to formulate follow-up questions and glean more information about your candidates’ behavioral traits.

How to use a DISC test in an unbiased way

When you use a DISC test, it’s essential to avoid unconscious hiring biases that can sometimes influence your decision. To avoid biases that can impede your hiring process, ensure you use the DISC test alongside other tests and conduct interviews with your candidates.

The DISC test can be used to enhance the interview process, and using the DISC test to inform your interview process is recommended. This is because finding out as much as possible about your candidates’ aptitudes is key to hiring the right candidate. Say you’re hiring a social media manager, for instance.  You might want to use the DISC test to understand more about their management style and behavior, but stopping there is not ideal. 

You will want to understand how much they know about technical SEO, how skilled they are with writing website copy, and whether they understand how SEO copywriting can boost the ranking of web pages. Each of these skills should be thoroughly researched before making any final decisions about your candidates, and you should then invite your candidates to an interview to enhance what you know about them.

How to interpret your candidates’ DISC test results

Interpreting the results of your candidates’ DISC tests is important in the context of your hiring decision. If you want to understand the results accurately, bear in mind that your candidates can be classified into four main behavior types for this particular test – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.

But, as your candidates will have to evaluate themselves by responding to 48 statements – ranking them from ‘very inaccurate’ to ‘very accurate’ there is the possibility that your candidates will fall into a combination of these different behavioral types. This will depend on the answers your candidates provide in response to the questions on the DISC test. 

Below are the 12 possible outcomes for the DISC test.

High Dominant style

If your candidate falls into the dominant behavioral type, they are driven to succeed and are focused on accomplishing goals to advance and progress. They work well independently and respond well to authority. Candidates with the dominant behavioral type also enjoy taking on challenging projects that give them an opportunity to reach their targets and goals once they have achieved them.

Dominant/Influential style

A candidate with a dominant/influential behavioral style is not only driven by results. They are also highly enthusiastic about their goals and influencing co-workers. They seek new chances to perform well and are even slightly entrepreneurial in their outlook in the workplace. Communicating in a direct style, they will sometimes overpower team members and might struggle when paying attention to others’ viewpoints.

Dominant/Conscientious style

If your results indicate that a candidate has a dominant/conscientious behavioral style, they are likely both determined to succeed and maintain a high standard of work. They could also be described as perfectionists, aiming to use their creativity to complete tasks exceptionally well. The standards they set for themselves have to be met and they seek to accomplish tasks through diligence and thoroughness. Because of their dominance, candidates with this behavioral style need to watch the way they communicate with others.

High Influential style

A candidate with a high influence behavioral style is focused on coordinating with co-workers and working within teams. Their main goal is to unite with others within their organization and enjoy communicating with their team members. Despite being great communicators, and although they value the importance of expressing ideas and opinions, candidates with high influence styles find it challenging to be objective. 

Influential/Dominant style

If your candidate has an influential/dominant behavioral style, they influence others around them within their working environment. They are bold and pursue opportunities to make significant strides forward in their work and careers. Though they can be very charismatic, candidates with an influence/dominance behavior style are slightly impatient and struggle to listen to their team members’ opinions.

Influential/Steady style

If a candidate has an influential/steady behavioral style, they are highly sociable in the work environment. Not only do they collaborate with their team members, but they are approachable and empathize with team members who might be struggling. Influence/steadiness behavior styles also avoid conflicts, but they find it a challenge to point out the errors or mistakes made by others because of this.

High Steady style

The words ‘collaborator’ and ‘supporter’ sum up candidates who have a high steadiness behavior style. They are focused on supporting others and have a stable and consistent work style. They can influence others by performing consistently at a high level, but as they support others and rely on others for their opinion on particular tasks, they can struggle to believe in themselves and develop confidence in their abilities. 

Steady/influential style

A candidate with a steady/influential behavioral style is generally an empathetic individual who works very well in a team and forms strong working relationships with their team members. They are patient, kind, and support their co-workers, often encouraging their team and avoiding conflicts. Because they typically dislike conflicts, a candidate with a steadiness/influence style lacks directness.

Steady/Conscientious style

If your candidate has a steady/conscientious behavioral style, they are diplomatic and consistent in their approach to team coordination and their work. They prefer working in environments that are predictable and calm, preferring to follow the lead of others and avoid uncertain situations. For these reasons, a steady/conscientious candidate is less likely to feel comfortable leading a team or thinking in an entrepreneurial style.

High Conscientious style

‘Precise,’ ‘logical,’ and ‘analytically-minded’ are all phrases that accurately describe candidates with a highly conscientious behavioral style. They work methodically, applying logic to their decisions, and they value the importance of being accurate when completing projects. Highly conscientious candidates might lack creativity and find it difficult to understand the feelings of their co-workers.

Conscientious/Steady style

Candidates with a conscientious/steady behavior style understand the importance of attention to detail. They work best in environments that are clear and precise and prefer a calm, methodical approach to their work – similar to high conscientious behavioral styles. They maintain order but struggle to be flexible when it comes to changes within the working environment due to their rigidity and reliance on the existing circumstances.

Conscientious/Dominant style

If your candidates have a conscientious/dominant behavior style, they are results-driven and seek to make changes to existing circumstances to drive productivity or accomplish their goals. Not only are they determined, but they also set very high standards for themselves. Because they can be strict leaders, conscientious/dominant behavior styles might find it challenging to empathize with co-workers. 

The benefits of using a DISC test

Using a DISC test is beneficial for many reasons. Some of the benefits you will get when you use a DISC test in your hiring process include:

  • Tips that will help you communicate effectively with the candidate’s personality type

  • Potential questions you might want to use during the interview stage, and

  • Insights into the behavioral traits of your candidates and their main challenges

The DISC test is ideal for finding out how your candidates’ behaviors are likely to align with both your team and your organization. It’s even ideal for helping you to look ahead and think about potential training courses that might be required for your candidates as well.

Discover more about the DISC test and your candidates’ behavior with TestGorilla

Although it can be a challenge to find out more about your candidates’ behavior, the DISC test is one way to achieve this in the limited amount of time you have, especially if you want to keep your time to hire low. Keep in mind this essential point: remember to utilize other hard and soft skills tests to get a complete understanding of your candidates. 

Ensure you make the best hiring decisions by backing up what you know about your candidates with results from the skills tests and the interview. And try out TestGorilla today to discover an extensive selection of skills tests to make your hiring decision simpler.


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