The DiSC Assessment Test can provide value for employment screening, when used carefully and in conjunction with other assessments.
Major corporations and small businesses have used the DiSC Assessment Test as a training and development staple for a long time. The acronym DiSC was adopted in the twentieth century. The four-style behavioral model was described by Hippocrates around 400 B.C. So the DiSC Assessment Test has time on its side and years of professional endorsement.
The reason is because the DiSC Assessment Test is the most user-friendly assessment available. The test only requires 10 to 20 minutes to complete, the questions are intuitive and easy to comprehend, and the face validity (meaning that the participant accepts and agrees with the results) is very high. More importantly the cost is often below $50.
So it’s easy to see why DiSC Assessment Tests are so widely used and accepted – they’re user-friendly, they pass the credibility test, and are fairly low-cost. So why are we saying that DiSC Assessment Tests need to be used carefully for screening employees? Let’s look at the three main reasons.
Validation – This is of primary concern Human Resources and employment attorneys.
The DiSC Assessment Test by itself is extremely valid (validity is whether it measures exactly what it is said to measure, and reliability indicates whether it measures it consistently.) But that does not necessarily make DiSC Profiles a valid tool for job performance. If it did, that would imply that all active and outgoing people would likely experience success in the sales field, or that all reserved, steady and conscientious people would excel as accountants. We know this isn’t true. DiSC is not a predictive instrument – it does not predict an individual’s potential success for a given job classification. A DiSC Assessment will indicate what an individual’s pace and priorities are; that is, are they fast or slow, and are they people oriented or ask oriented. It will also indicate how they respond to stress and how they tend to solve problems; and their willingness to comply with rules and procedures.
DiSC Assessment Tests and Observable Behaviors
DiSC Behaviors are observable by other people if the other they know what they are looking for. People Reading is a skill that can be learned to discern another individual’s DiSC Style: Dominant (D) and Influence (i) styles tend to be fast paced, active and outgoing; while the Steadiness (S) and Conscientiousness (C) Styles tend to be slower paced and more reserved, with the S being more accepting, and the C is more analytical. D and C styles share a task orientation, while the i and S styles share a people orientation. It is possible to make some assumptions about performance by considering a DiSC Behavioral Style, but research about employment success shows that observable behavior is not a good predictor of performance success.
Norming – DiSC Assessment Tests are Ipsative tests.
Ipsaive tests, such as DiSC are based on forced choice questions and responses. While each choice is scored, these scores can only represent the relative strengths of the person being tested and cannot be compared to any other individuals. DiSC and other ipsative tests would not normally be used for recruitment and selection.
Normative tests measure quantifiable characteristics on individual scales. These scales can vary independently. Also the scores can measure the characteristics of an individual against confirmed and accepted patterns of normality. Normative testing allows people to be compared to particular groups, populations, or jobs, making normed tests more suited as a recruitment and selection instrument.
While the DiSC Assessment Test is not the best predictor of job skills, it is a very powerful assessment for developmental training and coaching, and for identifying how a candidate might interact with people; and how they might approach a specific job or assignment. When using DiSC in conjunction with normed assessments managers can more accurately predict a job fit and a team compatibility fit.