Does the DISC Assessment Determine Your Best Career Match?

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on September 22, 2022

DISC personality assessment tests are often administered by employers who want to make sure they’re hiring the right people or assigning their employees to perform the tasks for which they’re most suited. And you can take the DISC assessment test all on your own, since the information it discloses about personality styles and personal preferences can be highly useful for those seeking the perfect career.

Perhaps you’re skeptical of this assertion. Or maybe you don’t know enough about the DISC career match system or its parameters to draw a conclusion about its accuracy or effectiveness.

Before you try to make a DISC career match—or reject the possibility completely—you should know more about what the DISC system describes, and what it can and can’t do. Then you’ll be able to decide if this is an assessment tool you’d like to try, as you continue to explore all possible career options.

First up, here are some of its strengths.

#1: DISC assessments produce data that is highly relevant for job seekers

DISC is designed to precisely identify the roles people are most qualified to fill, the duties and responsibilities they are most prepared to assume, and the types of workplace environments that will allow them to thrive.

Under the DISC system you may be classified by your high levels of Drive (D), Influence (I), Support (S), or Clarity (C), and which category you belong to really matters from a career-search perspective.

If you’re a D type, for example, it means you crave positions of leadership and authority and relish the challenges that accompany jobs with these responsibilities. If you are an I type you will function most effectively as part of a team, since you are skilled at eliciting cooperation and want to help others shine for the good of all. If you’re an S type you’ll feel most comfortable in roles that let you act as a caretaker or facilitator, preferably working under an established structure where duties are well-defined. Should your DISC test reveal you to be a C type, it means you’re a dependable and consistent performer who pays close attention to detail and takes pride in your organizational skills and professionalism.

The applicability of DISC typing for your career search is obvious and undeniable. DISC assessments are uniquely helpful in this context.

#2: DISC assessments will cause you to reflect more deeply on what you think and feel

If someone were to ask you to identify your most distinctive traits, you could likely list three or four of them without much trouble. But when you take a DISC test, you’ll be asked to peel back the top layers of your psyche to peer a little more closely at the contents.

On a DISC personality test you’ll be asked a number of questions that may cause you to pause and consider for a while before answering, and when you’re in this type of self-reflective state some surprising discoveries and revelations may emerge. Once you get the results of your assessment, that introspective approach can continue, with the focus shifted to the implications of the DISC test’s diagnosis. Whatever newfound knowledge you acquire during your deep contemplations could assist your efforts to map out your most ideal career path.

#3: The DISC system is fully time-tested

Did you know the original version of the DISC personality evaluation framework was developed nearly a century ago? It was way back in 1928 that psychologist William Moulton Marston first developed the concept behind DISC testing, based on his behavioral and emotional theories. An industrial psychologist named Walter Clarke created the first comprehensive DISC self-assessment exam in 1956, using Marston’s work as a template. By the early 1970s companies all across the United States were using the DISC tool to evaluate current and future employees and to help address workplace issues of an interpersonal nature.

As you can see, DISC testing and its accompanying theoretical framework have been around and in use for an extraordinary amount of time. Budgets for personality testing programs are tight in most industries, and DISC wouldn’t have persisted for so long if it wasn’t a cost-effective method of analysis with legitimate predictive value.

#4: DISC results can open your eyes to new possibilities

When you complete a DISC assessment, you’ll receive a wealth of valuable information about your personal characteristics and qualifications. You’ll also be provided with lists of careers that could be ideal for someone with your set of traits and preferences.

Inevitably, this list will include options that you hadn’t seriously considered. It may include jobs and careers you either hadn’t heard of or didn’t know enough about to have them pique your curiosity. If you take the time to investigate these intriguing options, you may discover a career field that appeals to you tremendously. The results of your DISC test could steer you in an entirely different life direction, one that would have remained outside the realm of possibility if you’d never taken a DISC assessment.

Things to Watch Out For When Using DISC for Your Career Match

Like any personality testing tool, the DISC career match system does have its limitations. There are two weaknesses of the DISC test in particular that you should be aware of:

DISC testing can’t measure every aspect of your personality

The development and expression of your personality will always be affected by your life experiences, whether they be traumatic, uplifting, or somewhere in between. These are the personalized influences that help create fully individualized souls and, like the proverbial snowflakes, no two of these will ever be exactly alike.

You may have a core set of personality traits that peg you as a D, I, S, or C type. But your personality quirks will be many and myriad, and these are the types of variances that are impossible for any personality system to completely identify and measure. DISC testing is an inexact science, and consequently it may not recognize the decisive traits that put you slightly out of sync (or even more than slightly out of sync) with your measured DISC personality type.

The traits that fall through the cracks could very well conflict with some of the career choices your DISC results suggest you should consider. If some of the recommended careers for your type trigger a sense of discomfort or unease, you should probably follow your instincts and look elsewhere.

DISC assessments can’t measure passion

DISC assessments can accurately identify some of your dominant traits. But they won’t be able to measure your passion, which may motivate you to pursue a career that seems contrary to what your personality profile suggests you should be doing.

Suppose the results of your DISC career match test identify you as a D type, suggesting you’re motivated by a desire to take charge and that you hope to gain status as your reputation for boldness and initiative taking grows. But let’s also suppose your dream career is something normally recommended for an I or an S type. Let’s say you want to become a social worker, teacher, forest ranger, or scientist. What should you do?

If a situation like this arises, you shouldn’t dismiss the DISC results as wrong just because they’re inconvenient. But at the same time you shouldn't abandon your lifelong goals simply because of the results of a personality test.

Regardless of what your DISC assessment says, you should go ahead and follow your dreams if your passion is unquenchable. But you should do so accompanied by a sober and mature understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. You shouldn’t let your DISC results limit your imagination, but you shouldn’t let your imagination run wild while ignoring your DISC results, either.  

DISC is Here to Help

Personality tests aren’t designed to detect every interest or inclination you might possess. Individual human beings are simply too complex and too diverse to be measured and evaluated to that degree.

What personality tests like the DISC assessment do is help you achieve greater personal transparency. They will unlock a few of your hidden doors so you can more easily solve the riddle of you, providing answers to the persistent questions you’ve had about your thoughts, emotions, motivations, and preferences—questions about why you are the way you are, in other words.

If you take the DISC assessment test and carefully scrutinize the results, it can enhance your current level of self-understanding. You can gain insights that will help you narrow or broaden the scope of your career search, depending on where you are in the process.

A DISC assessment may or may not help you determine your best career match. But it can at least point you in the right direction the majority of the time, and that is enough to make it highly beneficial.

Nathan Falde

Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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