Hiring is for the Birds

Every year, millions of people take DISC personality assessments. Sometimes they are taken to satisfy mere curiosity. Other times, they are integrated into an organization’s hiring practices and development efforts.

When used properly, a candidate’s DISC profile can help determine job or cultural fit. When used improperly, companies may be screening out potential superstars.

There several key considerations when using the DISC styles for hiring:

  1. Style is not a predictor of success. Style does, however, predict how someone will go about being successful. The four styles do not assess motivation or skill level. Rather they describe how people communicate with others and tackle the work before them.
  2. Two people can have completely opposite personality styles and both can be superstars in the same exact role. Consider an Owl salesperson whose secret sauce is their ability to carefully and accurately describe their products’ features and benefits to prospects. Their product knowledge drives their success. Now consider a Parrot whose excitement about their product is contagious. The energy and passion they bring to the sales process continually elevates this salesperson to the top of the sales team. Both the Owl and Parrot can be highly successful, but each will employ their skills differently. If the recruiter had profiled this role and assumed that either the Owl or Parrot is the “best fit” for this role, one of those sales stars would have been screened out of the process and is now likely working for a competitor.
  3. Style can be a powerful tool if you are looking for a specific style to fill a void in your team or culture. For example, imagine a team without any Eagles. This group is complacent and lacks a risk-taker who seeks to radically innovate the process. You may specifically be seeking an Eagle to drive change.
  4. If you spend time, money and energy having a candidate take the DISC assessment in the weeks before they are hired, utilize the assessment results in the weeks after they hired as well. Far too many organizations use the DISC profile for hiring, but do not infuse the styles into their culture. This is a lost opportunity. Beyond the hiring decision, the styles can be used to build better relationships and can be considered when forming project teams, delegating work or providing information to each other.
  5. If you are going to use the DISC profile for hiring, make sure that the tool that you use is validated for hiring. Not all DISC assessments are created equally.

The styles may be equally important to background and experience, but style alone should not be used to screen someone out of a role. There are many aspects that go into a hiring decision and DISC should be one of them. A DISC report does not replace an interview, but rather complements it.

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