Personality Assessments – Which One is Right For Your Hiring?

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Personality assessments are a great way to measure a candidate's potential - but which is most effective?

There are so many factors we might look into when we are looking at candidates to hire. Resumes, cover letters, and work experience are all typical things hiring managers might look for, but they all lead to bias and provide suboptimal results. It’s why personality assessments have become such a popular tool with hiring managers.

Personality assessments provide an objective, unbiased approach to role-fit that research shows is particularly effective in predicting future job performance (especially when paired with other systems). There are many types of these assessments available to hiring managers, but which one is truly the best?

In this blog we will discuss three popular personality assessments: MBTI, DiSC, and the Holland Code (RIASEC) Test. We will try to weigh the pros and cons of each, and will help you decide which assessment is right for your hiring process.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is probably the most popular personality test on the market. The indicator is a self-assessment used to help people who take it learn more about different aspects of their personality. There are 16 different types that a respondent could be categorized into based on the following categories: Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs iNtuition, Thinking vs Feeling, Judging vs Perceiving. Together, they make a four-letter acronym that labels an individual’s personality. This allows the assessment-taker to be able to readily find information about their specific preference type so they can learn more about their strengths, their weaknesses, and their place within a team. Companies often use this approach for team building exercises, as well as hiring employees or promoting them into leadership positions.

Despite its popularity, there have been a handful of criticisms regarding MBTI. The most significant criticism given to MBTI is that it remains hypothetical and is based on theory rather than actual studies. Because there have not been controlled scientific studies surrounding MBTI, many psychologists have disregarded the platform as being unscientific. Additionally, there have been reports of job candidates not being hired and employees missing out on promotions because of their personality types. If your managers are using MBTI, then they need to be properly trained in reading and understanding the results. These results in the wrong hands could be extremely dangerous to your organization’s culture.

The MBTI personality assessment is also meant to be used for self-development, it was never designed to be used within the workplace. Over the years it has become an assessment used in the business world for team development and leadership. It is not used to predict behavior or performance, and should never be used as such. It is much better suited for mentorship and life coaching.

DiSC Personality Assessment

While the MBTI has sixteen different “types” a person can be classified as, DiSC only has four personality styles an individual can place into. These are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Whereas MBTI assessors are told not to type assessment-takers, DiSC assessors are happy to. This makes DiSC results easy to interpret and understand quickly, allowing teams to easily have conversations about them. Another difference between the two is that MBTI measures personality traits while DiSC measures the behavioral patterns of an individual. 

Many companies use DiSC to help them hire team members, but it was not designed for hiring. It was simply made to be a self-assessment tool for people to learn more about their typical behavior. DiSC can help guide an employee towards where they sit within their own team, but only if that team is using DiSC assessments correctly. While DiSC can help in the hiring process to round out teams, the results you get from an assessment are far too broad to impact your hiring decisions. This makes it hard for these results to be actionable. 

Thanks to Holland's theory, Holland codes are able to help both job seekers and employers match people to their perfect roles.

Holland Codes

Holland Codes are based on the Holland theory developed by psychologist Dr. John Holland. He believed that occupations could be categorized in a similar way to personality traits in people This theory is based on six proposed personality types – Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Together, these personality types create the acronym RIASEC. This theory has been extensively researched and has proven to help people find perfect job fits based on their personality. The Holland Code (RIASEC) Test has been used by millions of people and is even used by the U.S. Department of Labor through O*NET OnLine.

While assessment-takers can learn new things about themselves with Holland Codes, it’s not what the codes were designed to do. They are much more career-focused than MBTI and DiSC are. Both MBTI and Holland Codes can predict jobs that people would enjoy doing based on their personality, but only the Holland Code Test can predict whether or not a personality type will be successful in a role.

For example, an MBTI type ENFP would typically not choose to be an accountant based on their personality. This does not mean that ENFPs can’t be an accountant – and it certainly doesn’t mean that an ENFP cannot be a successful accountant. MBTI simply draws people to roles that they might enjoy doing, it doesn’t predict success. Holland Codes predict success based on personality traits and key skills that allow them to do their jobs well. There has also been a great amount of scientific research around Holland’s Theory and job success.

The Holland Code Test only has six personality types, which seems limiting compared to MBTI – but Holland’s Theory works by combining three of the personality types together. These combinations create a whopping 720 combinations of different “types” somebody can be. This leads people to very specific jobs they would both enjoy doing and do well in based on their personality.

Additionally, nobody is just “one thing”. For example, somebody might have a preference for being  “Realistic” (or a “Doer”), but they will also have aspects of all of the other personality types as well. So somebody that is a “Creative Thinker” will look for a different role than a “Creative Doer”. This allows individuals more opportunity for success in their roles.

So Which Assessment is Best?

You must be wondering at this point which of these personality assessments is the best one to use. They all seem to offer some great benefits to both assessment-takers and assessment providers. The answer? None of them are generally the “best” or the “worst”. What matters most is that you use the right assessment for the right purpose in the right industry.

Of the three assessments discussed in this blog, the Holland Code Test was the only assessment specifically designed to be used in the workplace. It also meets all of the criteria that research in recruitment has identified, while MBTI and DiSC do not. Assessments like MBTI and DiSC are really great for life coaching and executive coaching, but aren’t meant to be used in a workplace setting. The opposite can be said about Holland Codes – they were designed to help with career development and career coaching, not life coaching. So the best personality assessment for you depends on what exactly it is you want to get out of it.

How Bryq Uses Holland Code

At Bryq, we rely on the science behind Holland Codes in order to match you with your best candidates. We are using Holland Codes in the environment they were meant to be used in. We have done the alignment, and we know each key personality trait for each Holland Code. When somebody takes the Bryq assessment, we say which type they belong to depending on their result. Our assessment is based on the 16 Personality Factors (16PF) framework, and in combination with Holland’s theory, we’ve developed an assessment backed by science that is proven to work. We give detailed insights into each candidate and make it easy for you to understand. You don’t need to be an expert – you can leave that to us.


Interested in the science behind Holland codes? Try out the science we trust today by signing up for a free 7-day trial of the Bryq talent management system. See for yourself how Bryq is able to find the most promising candidates within your hiring pool. Are you having a hard time wrapping your head around Holland’s theory? If so, let the Bryq Customer Success Team explain it better in a free product demo. We love helping clients navigate through the Bryq platform!

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