The Importance of the Extended DISC® Assessment in Effective Job Fit


Almost daily we are reminded of the importance of behavioural styles in the selection of candidates for specific roles.

This doesn’t just apply in recruitment situations where it is of the most obvious importance, but also in internal promotion and appointment to new roles.

As far back as 1936, in his preface to his now classic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie asserted that about 15% of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill he called “human engineering” – personality and the ability to lead people.

Studies carried out by Stanford University and Harvard University have since confirmed Mr Carnegie’s assertions with Stanford suggesting that the figures are nearer 12.5% to 87.5%! The main point is that behaviour is critical to the success of an individual in any role and to choose someone for a position that doesn’t suit his/her behavioural style is gambling with that individual’s future.

We had this pointed out to us very clearly in a project that involved a business that was struggling early in the recent recession. After completing Extended DISC® Personal Analysis Reports for a challenged executive team, three of the team resigned after receiving their reports and went in search of jobs that suited their behavioural style.

Each one of those individuals contacted us and told us that obtaining the report was the best thing that ever happened to them in their careers as each one found roles that better suited their style – they were much more motivated and content in their new employment.

A perfect example of ill considered choices in placing individuals in roles can be seen from the examples of the Flexibility Zones in this article. The organisation hadn’t been using Extended DISC® methodology in the selection of staff in external and internal recruiting.

Two of the four people were promoted from roles that suited their style into roles that seriously challenged them. They were promoted because they had successfully performed their duties in a specific role without any consideration of the pressure that would be placed on them in their new positions.

Example 1 shows a person with a “D” behavioural style (Profile II) moving to an “I” behavioural style (Profile I). In this case, it wasn’t so much a matter of the individual feeling pressure but he felt he wasn’t being provided with the opportunity to utilise his natural “D” style traits. He “rebelled” in a typically “D” fashion causing considerable disruption in the team!

Example 2 tells us that the individual has a natural CD style, but demonstrates his/her perceived need adjust to an “I” style. This person was clearly uncomfortable in having to engage in what was essentially, cold calling, and there was evidence of stress related symptoms in his report.

Examples 3 and 4 show the flexibility zones of two placements that were recommended by an external recruiting firm that was not using Extended DISC®, but had utilised another assessment system that didn’t consider the difference between natural unconscious behaviour and the “perceived need to adjust” (conscious behaviour) in their assessment of the candidates.

Example 3 shows an individual with a natural “SC” style feeling the need to adjust to an “I” style. This person had demonstrated good customer service skills and so was promoted to a role that required face to face selling that made him very uncomfortable. The two job requirements were subtly different, the new role requiring a more outgoing behavioural style whereas the job that the individual had succeeded in was largely through client contact via telephone and emails, obviously suiting his natural unconscious behavioural style.

Example 4 is from a report of a “DC” style to an “IS” style. This individual had worked in a technical field showing excellent knowledge of the product but was then promoted to a direct sales role, again involving face to face meetings. This caused her a good deal of discomfort and she was losing motivation. She did not have the patience for face to face meetings nor did she enjoy “cold calling”. The two roles obviously required quite different behavioural styles.

The point is that in each of these four reports, the individuals perceived need to adjust was significant.

The consultant involved in this case was engaged because of the discontent surfacing in the sales department after the employment of the two new candidates (Examples 3 and 4) but it was soon discovered that the problems went beyond the appointment of the two new recruits as the team members who had been promoted (Examples 1 and 2) showed a similar pattern after they had been promoted into sales roles.

The recommendation of the consultant was to revisit the job descriptions of each one of the four people involved with a view to re-defining roles that better suited their unconscious behavioural style. It also meant that new recruits had to be found but this time the appointments were made based on the individual’s natural behavioural style.

We were told by the consultant some months later that the outcome resulted in a more effective and successful sales department. A happy consultant and an even happier client!