We are all unique and wired differently. It’s one of the frustrating, funny, fascinating parts of life. This design gives the world a wonderful balance and variety. Yet this diversity also leads to tension, conflict, and other challenges when it comes time to understand and communicate with people different than you..
A greater self-awareness helps at work, at home, and during job interviews. The DISC assessment is a fantastic way to gain this practical insight.
While we can learn and adapt, a certain amount of our personality is hard-wired. Your unique personality functions like a lens in which we view people, stress and the world around us. When you learn to perceive the way you naturally interpret your circumstances, it’s like getting a job search secret decoder ring. You’ll be able to make sense of past work relationship struggles and identify the ideal job fit. You will also gain an interpersonal advantage for interviews. Sound interesting?
That powerful decoder ring is called the DISC Behavioral Personality Profile.
What is the DISC?
Over 50 million people have taken the DISC since the definitive version was established in 1972. Dr. William Moulton Marston is known for creating lie detectors, Wonder Woman, and the DISC. Quite the legacy. This multi-talented psychologist built on the work of Carl Jung and Greek philosophy in his 1928 book, Emotions of Normal People, which describes the DISC personality framework.
In 1950, another psychologist created an assessment based on Dr. Marston’s theories. The definitive version of the test was established in 1972 by Dr. John Geier, and since then over 50 million people around the world have taken the DISC.
Basically, the DISC assessment includes a series of brief multiple-choice questions answered in quick succession. The results include a robust personality description, summarized by four different personality types that make up the DISC acronym:
The DISC is not the only credible personality assessment out there (Myers-Briggs and StrengthsFinder are also common), but it is the most widely used. The DISC provides quick, practical value for your job search.
Love at first DISC
When I first heard about the DISC assessment 15 years ago during a leadership training course. Honestly, I was very skeptical. How could a quick online personality test figure me out? Me….a unique snowflake?
But when I received the 20+ pages of results, I couldn’t believe it. I had to laugh. The assessment described me better than my wife and mom would have. For the first time, I learned why some relationships and situations in my life went well and others did not.
That first DISC was nothing short of life-changing. I felt empowered by new awareness about how I communicate, what drives me, why I get frustrated, and how I can communicate better with people different than me.
Since then I have retaken the test a dozen times, with similar results validating its consistency. I have also worked with hundreds of people taking the DISC in the context of business, volunteer work, and marriage mentoring, with positive feedback all around. I highly recommended it – especially when embarking on a job search.
Why the DISC matters for your job search
Before you figure out where you want to go next, it’s important to reflect on your past experiences and understand how you are uniquely wired.
The DISC will help you accomplish this along with a number of other practical benefits:
- Decipher past relational conflict by recognizing underlying blind spots you may not have noticed at the time.
- Recognize the lens through which you see the world, people, situations, and certain things you value that others may not.
- Learn about what sort of job will suit you and feel like a natural fit.
- Stand out from the pack, equipped with new self-awareness useful in interview and professional conversations. Companies look for high IQ, but also high EQ (“emotional quotient”). They want people who work well as a team.
- Gain a practical, quick reference to help you understand how to communicate effectively with different personalities.
- Improve communication with friends and family.
- Set yourself up for early success in a new job as you meet and interact with new teammates
Take the DISC test for FREE
Have I convinced you yet? If you needed any more incentive to take the DISC for yourself, here’s the best part. It’s FREE!
You can find a variety of DISC assessments online, ranging from “free” to $250. I always paid around $200 per test over the years, but in recent years I’ve been seeing some cheap ($30) versions that produce a limited insight, not the full 20-page report you really want. Other versions do not include the Values/Motivators test, which I recommend as an important complement.
You are welcome to search for the option that looks best, but I have spent many hours reviewing and taking numerous online versions of the DISC. The best option I’ve found yet recommend is on Tony Robbin’s website. He offers the full DISC profile report and Values/Motivators test for free—a $250 value!
That’s a $250 value, with an intuitive web design that makes it easy and quick to take. Upon completion, you can download the PDF results right away. The catch is, you will be added to Tony’s email list. You can remove yourself of course, but I’m a fan of his work, and the encouraging perspective he provides is great to have during a job search.
10 quick tips to make the most of your DISC
1) Make time. The test takes 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time. Once you start, you need to push through to completion. The assessment requires quick responses in succession, and you can’t save your spot.
2) Don’t overthink it. Go with the first answer that comes to mind. Don’t linger on questions, even though you’ll find some answers can go either way. Just keep moving.
3) Be honest with yourself. The DISC won’t help you much if you don’t answer according to what you actually feel and who you actually are. You are doing this for yourself, not someone else.
4) There is no “good” or “bad” score. For you competitive types who try to win at everything, this isn’t a contest. Each person is unique and complex, and the point of the test is to simply tell it like it is.
5) Respond as your “natural” self. Answer like you would on evenings and weekends, outside of work hours. Think about how you want to operate, not how you needed to operate under the constraints of your “adapted self” of a prior job.
6) Think in scales, not absolutes. When presented with some options, think about which answer you typically prefer or lean toward. Don’t get caught up thinking about what you always or never do. Instead, respond based on what you tend to do. You’re describing generalities, not writing a definitive explanation of all of your behavior all of the time.
7) Don’t fear the box. Your personality profile does not limit your career options. You have the freedom to choose any path, of course. The DISC just provides a helpful baseline insight about your inclinations and an awareness of areas to work on and watch out for. An introvert can be a successful salesperson, and an extrovert can make a great accountant, but stepping into a role that requires adaptation will take extra energy each day.
8) Exercise empathy, not arrogance. We tend to think everyone should be just like us. Increased self-awareness does not give us a license to say, “Well, that’s just who I am, and you need to deal with it.” Such a perspective reveals arrogance, persistent blind spots, and communication failure. New insight should lead to more humble communication and increased empathy as we understand that people are different, our way is not the only way.
9) Play to your strengths. The DISC reveals areas of strength and weakness. The takeaway is not, “Go fix your shortcomings.” If that is your goal, you will end up stuck in mediocrity. Instead, double down on your strengths to maximize your career potential. Use your awareness to manage your blind spots, but don’t fixate on them.
10) Put it into action. Knowledge without action is bound to be forgotten, probably in a matter of days. Put your new knowledge into practice by discussing and applying the insight with a couple of people this next week. See how it works. Share your personality profile with a few close friends for additional feedback and insight.
For more helpful job search tips: Ultimate Job Search Guide: Recruiter Insider Tips