DISC profiling explained

what is DISC?

'DISC' is a behavioural profiling system widely used in recruitment. Based on your answers to a simple questionnaire, it builds a description of your typical behaviours, and uses that to provide an insight into your likely motivations, and your approach to life and work.

the DISC questionnaire

A standard DISC questionnaire consists of twenty-four questions. Each of these questions presents four options, and asks you to select which of these applies most closely, and which least closely, to your approach. For example, the options in a typical DISC question might look something like this:

  • Behaving compassionately towards others
  • Persuading others to your point of view
  • Showing modesty in describing your achievements
  • Producing original ideas

Once we have a questionnaire with all twenty-four questions completed (a process that takes typically around fifteen minutes), myDISCPROFILE will automatically analyse your responses to the questionnaire to produce a DISC profile.

what a DISC profile tells us

This example shows a typical DISC Profile. Each of the four points indicates the level of one of the four DISC 'Factors' present. Those factors - Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance - give DISC its name. This example shows a very high level of 'I' (Influence) and relatively low levels of 'S' (Steadiness) and 'C' (Compliance).

The darker areas at the top and bottom of the profile relate to highly significant factors. Where one or more of the four factors fall into these areas, they are highly significant from a statistical point of view. The central area of the profile is also marked. Factors falling into this central region, like the 'D' (Dominance) in the example) lie very close to the average, and are not considered significant.

the profile series

Most DISC systems are not limited to single DISC profile, and instead will provide at least two analyses of a questionnaire, and usually more. Together, this collection of profiles is referred to as a 'Profile Series', and will consist of one or more of the following:

  • Internal Profile

    The 'Internal' profile relates to underlying behaviour patterns. These are the patterns of behaviour that emerge, for example, in social situations, or where a person is under a great deal of stress.

  • External Profile

    It is natural and normal for a respondent to try to present themselves in the best possible light when completing a questionnaire. DISC takes account of this, and is able to 'filter' this information to provide a profile showing just how the respondent was trying to present themselves when they answered the questionnaire. This 'External' profile shows just that - the type of behaviour that an individual thinks is expected of them in a given situation.

  • Summary Profile

    The most basic and most common of the possible DISC profiles is the 'Summary' variety. This incorporates all available information from a questionnaire to provide as complete a picture of a person's behaviour as possible. This profile is often described as a 'snapshot' - it doesn't provide as much specific information as some of the other types, but it is a useful overview. When a person's behaviour needs to be described by a single profile, the 'Summary' is usually the profile of choice.

  • Shift Profile

    myDISCPROFILE will also provide a fourth type of profile, the Shift Profile, which simply displays the movements of factors between the Internal and External profiles, highlighting the variations between the two.

profile interpretation

You don't need to be a DISC expert to make sense of the profile shapes in a DISC profile series. myDISCprofile will create an individually tailored interpretation in plain language, based on the DISC graph shapes in your own particular profiles.

DISC profiles provide far more scope for interpretation than even the production of textual report, though. myDISCPROFILE can expand the interpretation to provide information such as:

  • Traits

    By looking at the relationships between different factors, we can build up a library of individual traits that a person possesses. Expanding this approach across the profile series, we can also assess traits that a person lacks, and even describe those that they are presenting in their behaviour, but which are not, in reality, present. This provides a useful 'at-a-glance' picture of a person's behavioural style.

  • Profile Tension

    Pronounced variations between the Internal and External Profiles are often indicative of profile tension, and it is possible to measure, in general terms, just how much stress an individual was experiencing at the time they completed the questionnaire. It is also possible to estimate how effectively that individual will cope with stress, and to judge the probable source of that stress.

  • Job Matching

    Job Matching involves comparing the ideal behaviour for a role against an individual set of DISC results, making it possible to calculate which roles suit a person's style the best. myDISCPROFILE offers Job Matching as an optional extra service.