by Chad Harrington
9 June 2015


Five minutes listening to Todd Wilson talk about personality assessments will convince you that hiring managers need to use personality assessments for smart hiring.

I met up with Wilson recently and gleaned a lot from him on the topic. He’s a leadership guru and the director of Exponential, the largest conference in the world of its kind. Our conversations inspired me to write a series on personality profiles and hiring.

This is the first of a few posts in which I address the what of personality assessments. This post is foundational for the others because it’s so practical. The next few posts will describe why business leaders should use personality profiles and then how they can be used in various ways in the workplace. (I’m not the only person talking about personality assessments and hiring these days; check out a recent article Sales Talent Inc‘s Chris Carlson wrote here here.)

I chose these five assessments intentionally; they are the ones that Wilson recommends. I trust him because he’s hired (or supervised the hiring of) hundreds of employees. I added number five, but the rest are Wilson’s recommendations. You’ll see why I added the fifth.

Five Personality Profile Assessments For Hiring Managers

1. StrengthsFinder (SF)Starting at $10. 

SF is Wilson’s top pick for hiring managers. It is a Gallup product, which has been tested around the world in various cultures, that assesses a person’s strengths out of 34 easy-to-remember single-word descriptions. In fact, they are on their second iteration of the assessment (which goes with their book, StrengthsFinder 2.0). Gallup says, “The Clifton StrengthsFinder is the culmination of more than 50 years of Dr. Donald O. Clifton’s lifelong work, which has led to more than 10 million people worldwide discovering their strengths.” You can buy the assessment to find the top five strengths for$10. You can also find all 34 strengths in order from 1-34 for $89I’ll explain later why the full test is important (and why I spent the $89 instead of the $10).

2. DiSCStarting at $26.

DiSC assesses personality in terms of four categories: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It is designed specifically for the workplace and commonly used for team building. One description says, “DiSC is a personal assessment tool used to improve work productivity, teamwork and communication.” You can order variations of their basic product here, starting with the classic DiSC assessment on paper at $25.95 per person and $39.95 for the classic assessment online. Some people trace back these four types to ancient philosophy, but we don’t need to go there. (If you do want to go there, leave a comment below, and I’ll go there.)

3. Myers-BriggsStarting at $50. 

The Myers-Briggs assessment is one of the most wide-spread personality assessments that people enjoy. It’s based off of 16 personality types from a combination of these: introvert vs. extrovert, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, judging vs. perceiving. The assessment reveals a four letter combination which represents someone’s personality type. The Myers-Briggs foundation says, “The purpose [of this assessment] is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives.” They recommend going over your results with a professional. You can take this assessment online for $49.95.

4. Style of Influence. Starting at $50.

This assesses four key behaviors. I had never heard of before I met Wilson, so I’ll let their website speak: “Style of Influence™ is the convergence of personal, relational and organizational life dynamics. It is not a measurement of what you know or what you believe, but how you will act… it is best defined as ‘inherent traits that motivate actions.’” You can take the assessment here for $50.00.

5. EnneagramStarting at $8. (I added this one to the list.)

The Enneagram assesses personality from a framework of nine basic types: “From one point of view, the Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself.” I added this one because David Benner, a psychologist and author I deeply respect, uses a version of the Enneagram as a framework for some of his writing content. This one’s great, because you can take the quick version for free or buy the full assessment starting at $8. Perfect for a whole staff. Learn more about the Enneagram here.

The world of psychology has provided various options for understanding personality. By no means is my list exhaustive. It’s a starting guide.

My challenge to you, business leader, is to step into the world of formal personality assessment with your next hire.

These tools will help you build a great business. Next post, I’ll tell you why. Then I’ll tell you how. Which personality assessment do you prefer? Why? Leave your comment below.

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