Your Guide to DISC Profiles & Personality Assessments
Self-awareness is essential to success. If you don’t understand what drives your actions and behaviors, it’s difficult to cultivate positive growth and real professional development. As you discover what inspires you, you can start to identify what may hold you back from success, as well as the traits, habits, and behaviors that propel you forward. When you take your free DISC personality assessment, you’ll be provided with a complete profile that shows you how to leverage the various aspects of your personality for a life of achievement that aligns with your personal values.
The DISC personality profile is designed for anyone who wants to gain actionable insights about themselves. By enhancing self-knowledge and revealing the limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from achieving your goals, the DISC personality assessment can help you develop strategies to create a breakthrough in any area of your life.
In most cases, a DISC profile assessment is used in a team-based setting. These DISC profiles create a common language that professionals, recruiting teams, C-suite decision-makers, and others can use to describe, evaluate, and understand themselves and others.
Developed by psychologist William Moulton Marston, the DISC assessment examines how an individual ranks in the four primary personality types – dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. Everyone has these four characteristics, but the strength of each varies on an individual level.
None of the DISC personality traits are inherently positive or negative. The profile is nonjudgmental, focused solely on helping those who take the assessment respond to conflict, resolve problems, and discover what lies behind their common habits or working styles.
More than 2 million people have taken the 15-minute DISC profile assessment to better understand their personality type, their strengths, and their behavioral style. The assessment is designed for both individuals who want to identify and maximize their strengths and motivators, as well as organizations that want to integrate high-performance teams.
Cowen Partners uses the DISC assessment for executive recruitment and hiring practices.
We have created this FREE Cowen Partners DISC assessment tool for anyone to use – a $100 value, available at zero cost.
At Cowen Partners, our DISC assessments lead by example, with independent validation meeting APA, EEOC, AERA, and NCME standards. Our goal is to ensure the trust of both our members and end-users alike by providing the most accurate and reliable assessments available. This is why we believe in a policy of total transparency, with every study’s report available for your review, and available to be shared with your clients and colleagues. In an apples-to-apples comparison, we believe our DISC assessment, along with other personality tests and culture fit assessments, will prove to be the top choice among industry professionals who value accuracy, compliance, and objectivity.
Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world-class talent.
Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion-dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets over a billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite and include VP and director strategic-level leadership roles.
With our proven processes and guaranteed results, our top-rated executive recruiters have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, human resources, manufacturing, real estate, financial services, sports and entertainment, non-profit, and private equity.
Discover more about what DISC assessments are, how they work, and how they can be game-changing for both hiring leaders and the candidates they’re interviewing in the FAQs below.
DISC assessments are behavioral and personality evaluations that detail an individual’s predominant traits. Also referred to as “DISC tests” and “DISC personality tests,” DISC assessments categorize people into four main behavioral types:
Each DISC profile “type” represents specific behavioral tendencies and patterns, as well as communication styles, personality traits, work styles, and more.
As such, DISC assessments can be vital recruiting, screening, and hiring tools for evaluating how well a candidate’s behavioral traits and personality align with:
Consequently, DISC assessments can be invaluable for hiring leaders, empowering them to make more informed decisions during the hiring process.
Similarly, DISC personality assessments can help applicants showcase their strengths, craft better interview responses, and be able to better demonstrate how they would fit and work with an organization, as well as a specific team within it.
“DISC” is an acronym for the four main personality types it describes, based on an individual’s dominant behavioral traits. The four DISC personality types are as follows, with some general advantages and potential drawbacks for each type below:
Remember, these DISC personality types are NOT absolutes. They’re merely descriptors that provide general frameworks for understanding people, how they behave, and how those personality types will fit in a given setting.
Also, keep in mind that different pros and cons for specific DISC personality types could be advantageous or not in various settings, roles, and circumstances. In other words, “cons” could actually be advantages for specific needs and objectives, based on a company, the role it’s hiring for, the company culture, and the organization’s goals for the future.
DiSC profiles, styles, and assessments can be applied and leveraged in various ways. Specifically, DiSC knowledge can help you:
While these insights into DiSC personality styles can result in more prudent hiring decisions, they can also enhance planning, productivity, and growth opportunities, allowing leaders and companies to make the most of their talent.
Dominance or Type-D is generally considered to be the rarest DiSC personality while Steadiness or Type-S is widely accepted as the most common DiSC personality. In fact, studies have found that roughly:
Keep in mind that there’s no “good” or “bad” here; this simply reflects character, temperament, and disposition.
Yes. You can have a different DiSC style at home or work — and under extreme stress, in foreign environments, and when interacting with strangers. Despite shifts or differences in distinct circumstances, however, your DiSC personality will likely be relatively the same, with the same predominant attributes holding steady while different nuances dial up or down based on the environment.
Big changes to DiSC profiles are possible but not likely, as most people tend to see fairly consistent results over time. That speaks to how personality styles may stay relatively consistent overtime, maybe shifting slightly with new experiences — but, generally, staying relatively steady.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, with one notable exception being trauma and its potential to shift DiSC profiles.
Still, the average person (and most people generally) tend to have consistent results from DiSC assessments over time.
Potentially, but that’s not the best or primary use of DiSC Assessments. That’s because:
For those and other reasons, DiSC profiles and assessments are typically just one screening used in the process of hiring highly-qualified professionals, including C-suite candidates. Along with DiSC evaluations and interviews, hiring leaders may also leverage resources like (and not limited to):
There is no one “ideal” DiSC profile, just like there’s not one “best” personality type. Different types fit different needs and roles.
So, this question should really be framed around a specific role or objective, like, “What is the Ideal DiSC Profile for a(n)…
Beyond the C-Suite, DiSC profiles can be used to cull top candidates for any other position, department, or level of a company. That’s why there’s not just one DiSC profile that may be ideal for a given organization. Several may work and be needed to put together the best possible team, with well-balanced strengths and weaknesses.
There is no definitive answer here because the “best” DiSC profile really depends on several factors, including:
As a result, the best DiSC profile for a given role looks different from company to company; similarly, the best DiSC personality for a company may not be the same from one role to the next. This is where it helps to work with an experienced professional who’s well-versed in DiSC assessments and how to leverage them for your executive recruitment needs.
Dominance or D-Type DiSC personalities tend to work best in leadership roles. That’s because Dominance-based DiSC personalities tend to be natural-born leaders who are:
Keep in mind that pure “Dominance” isn’t necessarily ideal for all or the best leaders. That’s generally because:
It depends on the team, the tasks at hand, and the overall objectives that are in play. While a blend of DiSC personalities may be more advantageous for certain projects or in specific settings, it’s far more important to use DiSC Assessments to understand the team’s strengths and weaknesses.
With this dialed in, teams can be far more adept at:
If you aren’t sure whether your team would benefit from a blend of DiSC personalities, talk to an experienced executive recruiter at Cowen Partners.
We work closely with C-suite leaders to zero in on the ideal candidates for various roles, company cultures, and more, giving us unmatched insight into the best DiSC personalities for different positions, settings, and organizations.
No, there’s no evidence to show any trends or similarities in DiSC test results based on factors like (and not limited to):
DiSC results are highly individualized. While trends may emerge or be discovered at some point in the future, currently, there are no rules of thumb for how any demographic typically performs on these assessments.
Roughly 2% of people who take a DiSC Assessment will have their dot, meaning their results, land close to the center of the DiSC grid. This would generally indicate a “balance” of all personality styles, with no single style standing out more than another.
Here, it’s critical to note that:
Yes and no. There are no set or standard colors for DiSC charts or graphics, so you’ll see a variety of DiSC charts with different color schemes, usually branded to an organization.
Despite those differences, however, DiSC colors aren’t “meaningless.” On the contrary, DiSC colors, regardless of the specific shades chosen, tend to:
While there are no established DiSC colors, many grids and piecharts will use color schemes like the following as a “key” to explain each DiSC style:
Ultimately, DiSC colors are just another way to communicate, define, and contextualize different personalities.
There is no one “standard” DiSC assessment or test out there — and many organizations are creating their own DiSC tests — because:
Consequently, a DiSC personality assessment you take with one company could look nothing like a DiSC test you take at another organization.
Still, just because the questions asked on a DiSC assessment differ from one test to the next, it does NOT mean that:
Since these are all “assessments,” it’s better to consider them as evaluation tools, rather than “tests” that are passed or failed. They offer a way to measure personality traits, so leaders and decision-makers can make more informed choices about candidates, roles, and more.
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