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Personality Assessments: DISC

Posted March 10, 2020

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

(DISC)overing the Best Candidate For Your Practice

Continuing our series on hiring assessments, we’re doing a deep dive into a recruiting tool that is one of my personal favorites–the DISC personality assessment. Personality assessments are invaluable in finding candidates that will be a good team fit. One personality profile isn’t better than another, nor does it indicate a person’s intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, skills, or capabilities. So, it simply reveals a person’s comfort zones, weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities for growth.

Personality assessments provide insight into how we tick, communicate, and handle stress. Then, understanding one’s personality in greater detail means that you don’t have to actually know a person to understand how they prefer to work and communicate – you just have to know their personality profile and how to navigate it for a more successful outcome.

What is DISC?

The 4 DISC Behavioural Styles - the DISC Quadrant Behavioural Model

One of the assessments DentalPost provides to job seekers and premium employer subscribers is a personality assessment called DISC.  According to DISC, we communicate, relate and emote based on four main behaviors: 

(D) Dominance 

(I) Influence 

(S) Steadiness 

(C) Conscientiousness 

Three Ways DISC Can Improve Hiring

DISC, when combined with other best hiring practices, can make the difference between a good hire or a bad one. It can also be a difference-maker in managing existing teams, which we will discuss in a future blog.

  1. It will help you recruit better. You will find people best-suited to your existing team and practice culture as well as those best-suited to do the work. 
  2. It will improve your onboarding process. By knowing who you are bringing on board before hiring them, you can avoid future workplace drama by ensuring they are suited to their role. It’s an adjustment for everyone when someone joins the team, but someone with wrong temperament will have a difficult time meshing with the group.  
  3. Then, it will help you better communicate with your new hire and help them communicate with your team. 

DISC is a behavior model that helps hiring managers better understand… 

  • the natural tendencies and behaviors of different types of candidates, so managers understand certain behaviors
  • candidate’s work styles, so they jive with the team
  • candidate’s motivations, so that they are supported and successful 
  • how to improve team engagement, for optimal performance

What To Know About Working With Certain DISC Types Before You Hire Them

While there is no such thing as “good or “bad” behavioral types, each DISC type has characteristics that could present as strengths, as well as weaknesses at any given time. Our DISC profiles explain how we are different from others and reveal areas that could potentially hold us back. Again, there is no right or wrong result of an assessment. So, there is only a right or wrong fit based on the traits that will best bring balance and harmony to your existing team. 

Speaking of teams, I’m always amazed at the number of hiring managers I hear about that study a candidate’s DISC assessment without any context or baseline for the hire. Before beginning your search, know who you need and where your gaps are. First, take stock of your team’s profiles by having them all do the assessment. Then, it’s quick and easy. If you don’t know who you currently have on your team how will you know who you need or who will fit in? So, finding the right person and not just a qualified candidate is the most critical aspect of hiring and one that pays off in many different ways. Besides, doing this will help you write a job description that attracts the right person.

Understanding Your Own DISC Type Will Make You a Better Manager

Understanding my own DISC type has personally made me a better manager, mother and friend, because when we know better, we do better. Therefore, set the example by doing your own assessment to identify your leadership style. If you find that you’re lacking in the (D) Dominance or (I) Influence departments, make sure you have someone in operations who can help you bridge that gap while still allowing you to maintain your authority. DISC can inform you about your natural leadership style as well as how to adjust your leadership style to get better management results. 

As humans, we’re wired at a fundamental level to like people who are similar to us. Studies show that the less information we have about someone, the more our similarities boost our fondness for them. Train yourself to question the knee-jerk reaction to hire people just like you or people you would gravitate to at a cocktail party and instead hire the right person for the team. 

A Breakdown of The Different DISC Types & How To Leverage Them

Below is an overview of each type and strategies for preventing behaviors that can be detrimental to business if they are not managed. For a more accurate analysis, make an effort to analyze the dominant combinations and the level of intensity of the scores (Ex: D+I, High C). 

(D) Dominance 

Typical  CharacteristicsStrengthsWeakness
Data-DrivenFocus on the bottom line, effective, logical, reasonable
Confident/AuthoritativeLead others well Can be too proud or egocentric, Overreach their authority
Direct, decisiveDeal with problems head-on and get them solved. Can be too curt
Self-starter, Risk-takerInspiring and Innovative Take on too much, not focused
CompetitiveMake everyone around them work harderCan be too competitive and harm culture 


These types are sensitive to feeling like they are being taken advantage of. They don’t like to feel out of control of their environment or path. 

How To Keep Them Motivated:

  • Avoid giving them mundane work. 
  • Keep them challenged and growing. 
  • Give them some autonomy or authority to make decisions.
  • Give them recognition. 

(I) Influence

Typical CharacteristicsStrengthsWeakness
Persuasive, SocialVery creative and love a problemCan disrupt productivity
OptimisticEncourage and motivate those around them May not foresee issues or be realistic 
Trusting & LoyalGood peacemakers, strive for harmony in their environment.
Enthusiastic & EnergeticCreate fun and cultureCan get deflated if the thing they are excited about is squashed. 
Impulsive Can adapt quicklyLose focus, get distracted and can’t complete tasks


Concerned with a fear of rejection, they compensate by being fun, attractive to others. 

How To Keep Them Motivated:

  • Give them latitude to be free in how they do their work. 
  • Make them feel accepted and part of the team. 
  • Let them use their gift to see the big picture.
  • Support their effort in making the office a more peaceful, fun place to be.

(S) Steadiness

Typical  CharacteristicsStrengthsWeakness
Laser-focused, patientFocus and finish tasks no matter the distractionNot good multi-taskers
Thoughtful Work is well-planned, thorough, and well-executedNeed time to process and don’t like being rushed
PersistentDon’t give up easily, even with difficult tasks
Gentle/KindGood listeners, sympathetic Don’t respond well to  confrontational communication
Steady and PredictableReliable, consistentDon’t like change 


Feeling unsafe or insecure. Because of this, they are resistant to change and enjoy creating routines that keep things predictable.

How To Keep Them Motivated:

  • Find out what makes them feel secure in their position and in the group.  
  • Show them that you appreciate their reliability and loyalty. 
  • Give them input or time to adapt to sudden changes in procedure
  • Avoid disrupting their routines if possible. 
  • Support your workplace being in peace and harmony, free of drama and conflicts.

(C) Compliance Type

Typical  CharacteristicsStrengthsWeakness
Conscientious, measuredEven keeled, meticulousGets bogs down in the details
Accurate and Precise
Perfectionism, won’t start projects or complete them until they are perfect. 
Analytical, logical Rooted in reality, the voice of reasonCan be critical of those who are not
Works systematically
Rigid in methods and ways
Pride in workHigh- quality output


These types are perfectionists because they fear criticism.

How To Keep Them Motivated:

  • Offer supporting evidence of the benefits of your proposed changes.
  • Prepare organized, details and concise supporting facts before speaking with this employee about new ideas or changes.
  • Respect their space and give them some autonomy to complete their tasks. 

What To Do When You Love The Candidate But The Assessment Is Not A Fit

Our personalities are very complex. While DISC is a personality assessment, it really measures our behavior. Personalities are made up of a combination of our behaviors, values emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence and depth of insight. Thus, Personality assessments should never be used in isolation of all the other screening tools, including your own personal read on a candidate. Sometimes our gut instincts are correct. It’s best to take a holistic view of the candidate and take into consideration their experience level, professionalism, etc. as these factors can influence a candidate’s ability to overcome any of the negative behaviors they tend to lean towards.

Moreover, we are all a combination of the behaviors and no one is “perfect”. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “There are no perfect people, just perfect fits.” Well, it couldn’t be truer in hiring. 

We’d never hire anyone if perfect was the criteria. Personality assessments simply give us another tool in the hiring belt to give us the confidence we need to extend an offer. Why wouldn’t we want all the assurances we can get in knowing that we’ve wisely invested time in recruiting, hiring, and training the person who we’re entrusting our patients to and will spend a good portion of our lives with?

Next Steps:

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