There are several reasons why a DISC assessment test doesn’t work for the employee screening process. Employers use the DISC assessment because it is user-friendly. Most DISC assessments require only 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and the questions are very easy to understand.
So why are we not recommending the DISC for the employee screening?
While the DISC assessment test itself is valid (it accurately measures what it says it measures), the DISC profile is not a valid tool for job success. If it was valid predictor for job success, every assertive, outgoing individual would be a successful salesperson and every steady, compliant person would turn out to be a very successful accountant. But we know that’s not the case. DISC merely assesses HOW energetically an individual will respond toward problems, people, pace, and procedures. It was not constructed to predict how proficient that same person might be at solving problems, interacting with people, or working at a fast pace.
DISC is an “observable language.” Each style (D-I-S-C) is easily observed by others when the other person(s) know what to look for: “D”s and “I”s tend to be very animated “S”s and “C”s more reserved “I”s and “S”s are more people-oriented “D”s and “C”s are task focused “I”s and “S”s should be “good with people.” But we know that isn’t always the case. People make assumptions about performance based on behavioral style. But as the research about successful hiring and the employee screening process shows, the behavior you see might not be a predictor of the results you get. Factor-based personality assessments and cognitive ability tests are much better predictors of future job fit and skill potential than behavior style assessments like DISC and temperament assessments like the Meyers-Briggs. That’s not only our opinion but also the caveat offered by many DISC and MBTI publishers.
DISC assessments are considered ipsative tests. The preferred type of test for the employee screening process is a normed test. Like hundreds of other assessments based on the four-style behavioral model, DISC reports the relative strengths of the person being tested. If a DISC assessment test reports the individual is 75% “high D”, this merely means this individual is energized by asserting him/herself in dealing with problems. What it does not predict is how two people with similar DISC patterns will perform a job or interact with others. In plain English, two people who both “score” 70% in the D Style might appear to approach the same problem in a similar way but get two entirely different outcomes.
Using normative tests, an individual’s “score” measures a specific characteristic against confirmed patterns of normality, usually represented as a bell curve. In business, normative testing allows individuals to be compared to other employees who have met with success or failure in a job.
Normative tests (like the WrightOne Assessment) are best suited as a recruitment and selection instrument. They can also be useful in developmental, coaching and training. By using normative tests when screening employees, managers can select candidates who will have the best chances of success if hired or promoted and avoid placing the wrong employee in the wrong position.