Why You Should Consider Using DISC to Hire Your Next Employee (or Vendor)


May 5, 2020

DISC, 4 letters that can have different meanings depending on their context and/or industry, but the DISC we’ll discuss today is the one that is going to help you to make the right next hire. It is evident in everything that we do that people have different styles or learning, communicating, and different things that motivate them, Driving Forces™ if you will. For all you D’s out there (whether you know you are one or not), this article is going to cover:

  • What is DISC?
  • Why is DISC helpful when it comes to hiring an employee (or vendor)?
  • How to take/give a DISC Assessment?

What is DISC?

DISC stands for Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance and is used to measure the behavioral preferences of an individual. Commonly displayed in a chart similar to the one below, each of the letters helps to identify how a person will likely behave in various situations. Let’s drill-down further:

People with a strong “D” (can be known as “High D”, meaning their “D” is well above the energy line) will value results and accomplishing goals. These individuals will also likely exude confidence and can be viewed as cocky or arrogant.

  • Many times, CEO’s and other top leaders will have a high D within their DISC profile.

People with a strong “I” (can be called “High I”, meaning their “I” is well above the energy line) will value being an influencer of others, telling stories and being the center of attention.

  • High I can be seen as the mark of a salesman or politician

People with a strong “S” (can be called “High S”, meaning their “S” is well above the energy line) will value cooperation, being dependable, and being sincere.

  • Support roles are where this person thrives. Counselor, Human Resources, Nurse, or even a Pediatrician are common roles for someone with a strong S.

People with a strong “C” (can be called “High C”, meaning their “C” is well above the energy line) will value facts, accuracy, and expertise.

  • Accountants and CFO’s are the easiest example of a strong C personality. People who are matter of fact and by the book.

It is important to note that everyone is made up of all 4 of these letters and they play a part in everyday life in one way or another. DISC, as mentioned before, influences behavior.

Why is DISC Helpful for Hiring?

Now armed with the basic understanding of DISC, let’s dive into gaining an understanding of its use. DISC can be used for many things, including identifying careers that might interest you, resolving conflicts in a plethora of settings, or, in the case we will discuss today, hiring your next employee.

Let me start by saying this, DISC is not the silver bullet that will prevent you from making that dreaded “bad hire”. DISC can and should be used as a tool to make the hiring process less of a mystery. As HR Consultants, one of our jobs is to help our clients to put processes in place to define the hiring process. One tool we almost always recommend is DISC.

Let’s review the importance of DISC in an example. Let’s say you have decided you want to hire an employee to handle customer service for your company… GREAT! What do you do next? Many companies will write up a job description filled with some information about the company and why they are a great place to work (in their minds) and some bullets detailing the responsibilities the person will have if chosen for the role. This is the first example of where DISC is useful.

Customer Service is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not for everyone. Customer service representatives typically need a desire to interface with people, like to solve problems, and appreciate and can follow a process. Why is this important? Well, when crafting a job description, you might consider identifying specific responsibilities that will excite someone who loves that kind of work. “This person will build key relationships with existing customers” or “This person will interface with up to 30 customers daily”. Things that would excite someone who loves people and loves building relationships. By just “going to market”, you are skipping a key step in the art of hiring an A player!

Now, Let’s say we have done this and we have identified a few candidates that fit the bill. You now have a few options. You can interview them via phone or in person to get a feel for who they are and if you feel they are a fit for the roll, you can put them through a series of tests before inviting them in to meet with you, or you can have them take a DISC assessment to understand who they are before inviting them in.

Believe it or not, we recommend screening candidates on the phone before moving to an in-person interview. We also recommend that our clients save the DISC assessment until they feel they have just a few candidates they are looking to pick from. At that point, DISC can be used to understand each candidate from another perspective, their predicted behaviors. The DISC assessment will help an employer to identify if they will be able to work with this individual, it will help to identify the person’s preferences, and, when paired with assessments like Driving Forces™ or MBTI™, a person’s motivators and time wasters will become abundantly clear.

Assessments, DISC specifically, are a crucial tool in any hiring process. Why work with limited information and a gut feeling rather than some facts and information that will help you to make an informed decision?

How to Take/Give a DISC Assessment

Have I peaked your interest? Well, taking or giving a DISC assessment is very simple. You can contact a local certified DISC consultant (like Red Clover) to set you up with a link to take the assessment. There are a number of different types and versions and your consultant will walk you through the options and help you to decide what is right for your use case. Once you have completed the assessment, your consultant will perform a “debrief” which is a meeting to walk you through so key information and finding from the assessment.

This is NOT a test! There are no right or wrong answers. A person should take this assessment at a time where they have at least 30-45 minutes (depending on the assessment selected) of uninterrupted time and should have a clear mind. Every answer should be one that is honest and can be completed with a “first thing to come to mind” mentality.

Business owners, organizational leaders, and other key people can leverage these assessments to build a better understanding of their team and the people around them. There are team assessments that take a deeper look at the make-up of an organization and can even help to identify blind-spots within the organization.

Why DISC

At Red Clover, we have invested a lot of time into our culture, and one bad hire, or one bad manager, could really put a damper on things. We believe that helping each team member to better understand themselves and their teammates will help our culture for years to come. We have just merely scratched the surface of all the things assessments like DISC can do for an organization, and we highly recommend each organization explore which tools are right for them.

If you would like to have an assessment implemented within your organization, whether for the hiring process or for management, give us a call. We will be happy to talk to you about your needs and what you would like to use these tools for and we will guide you through your options. At Red Clover, we’ve got your back.

Written by Joe Giovannoli

Joe is the CEO and Founder of 9Sail, a NJ-based SEO and SEM company, specializing in law firms and roofing.  He is a DISC-certified consultant with Red Clover.  Learn more about Joe on LinkedIn.

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