Q: The last time I was a candidate in a retained executive search process, I was asked to complete a “DiSC” assessment. What does the search firm (and/or client) do with these test results?

A: Tyler & Company utilizes the DiSC profile assessment as a tool to evaluate potential candidates. We’ve conducted more than 5,200 of these assessments over the years; individual results are grouped under 18 different patterns. You may be familiar with other instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). While the MBTI is a personality assessment, the DiSC creates profiles based on behaviors. Both are commonly used, but completing the DiSC can be done online in just 15 minutes.

Tyler & Company uses the results of the DiSC assessment as follows:

  1. To structure potential interview questions. Based on our years of retained executive search experience, we have seen DiSC assessment patterns of candidates in specific job categories — CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, etc. If an interesting candidate for a position presents a nontraditional pattern, we structure interview questions to determine if this anomaly might be cause for concern.
  2. To showcase candidates that we present to clients in another light. We include candidates’ DiSC results, when requested, in our client materials. (Clients sometimes have their own assessments that they review alongside the DiSC. Thus, it’s a good idea to become familiar with as many of these instruments as possible.)

DiSC assessments can help takers understand their own behavior and learn when and how to adapt it; improve communication; appreciate others’ differences; enhance individual and team performance; and reduce conflict.

Recently, we’ve seen an increase in clients who evaluate the DiSC critically. They read the information carefully and use it to help form questions. Some clients use these tools as a “knockout” factor. That is, candidates must meet a  certain level or match a particular profile to continue. Whether or not a client is looking for something specific, it’s in the candidate’s best interest to answer questions on any assessment honestly since many of them are designed to identify inconsistent answers. 

As a candidate, keep in mind that trying to “game” the DiSC (or any) assessment won’t work, and being yourself is the best course of action throughout the hiring process. In the end, you and the hiring organization want the same thing — a good match. Let the DiSC do its magic!

As published in

Tyler's Tidbits, Spring 2011 issue, updated August 2014.