How to use DISC for talent acquisition

How to Use DISC for Talent Acquisition

Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that acquiring top talent could ultimately be the difference between success and mediocre results. In fact, vetting and positioning incoming talent based on strengths and abilities isn’t always enough. With every "ying" there’s a "yang." Therefore, both are necessary to discover the right talent for your organization.

Balance is necessary in everything we do. It's important to know how to position new talent amongst existing talent in order to strengthen your organization. Where one person might lack a particular strength, we should find one that excels in that strength. Examining the behavior of incoming talent using predictive hiring tools enables hiring managers to decide whether a candidate has what it takes to fulfill the open job role, and uncover whether this person would work better alone or in a group setting, and who they may best collaborate with – in turn, increasing productivity and quality for the organization.


Let’s begin with identifying the strengths needed by a candidate for the role you are trying to fulfill. Will you need someone who isn't afraid to take risks, or do you require someone who operates strictly based on numbers? Differentiating your immediate hiring needs from the overall needs of the firm can be vital. Sometimes, you won't realize the weaknesses elsewhere within our organization until you assess your real needs. Handpicking talent based on strengths and limitations will enable you to find that balance between new and existing, leading you to exceed by equipping your workforce with the resources they need to succeed. Here's a brief overview of the DISC model to help you determine which personality style describes your current position:


If you need a leader -- someone who can delegate well, is results-oriented and solutions-driven, someone who is dominant, unafraid of rolling up their sleeves, and one who always takes initiative. This type of person is a workaholic, committed to the team, and often thinks outside of the box to get jobs done. This can be an executive, as long as they are active on the ground floor. Moreover, this type of person can and will wear more than one hat at once – if you let them.

The D type personality is very confident in what they can do. They love solving problems and facing challenges head-on. They are accustomed to taking risks, whereas no obstacles are too big or too small. They excel in start-up firms, product development, and ongoing business initiatives.

With a habit of taking on "more than they can chew," this person can overwork themselves if not provided with adequate resources. They consider time and money, and will tend to cut corners to streamline tasks just to get to the final phases of production and on to the next project in the queue. They fear no boundaries and are often known to overstep them. They work towards achieving a common goal, meeting scope, and producing nothing but quality through resolution.

A D style employee is someone you will want to place in front of large teams in oversight of daily activities, projects, and program roll-outs. Be sure to provide them with balance so they don’t become overwhelmed or feel restricted by the monotony of a stuffy office environment. This person is active, energetic, and never truly satisfied. This is your pick for big-picture results.


A few key reasons to implement DISC into ongoing workforce initiatives may include cultivating more solid relationships, helping contributors continue to grow individually, and resolving conflict more diplomatically. The I type personality is the answer to everything social and personable within your organization.

They are customer-oriented, influential, and can lead from within. They create an environment of comfort and empowerment while motivating the team to embrace self-growth as necessary for transformation in the workplace. They are creative, take action, and avoid conflict along the way. Their strength is communication and acknowledgment is often their drug of choice.

People-oriented I personality types are often ambassadors. They forge strategic partnerships and cater to the customer experience. They bridge departments and find commonalities between multidisciplinary teams. I types are often secondary leaders, directors, managers, and team leads. They are sales executives, marketers, and program directors. They understand people and can make amazing trainers, educators, and entertainers within organizations. They are the peacemakers, the negotiators, and the liaisons between upper management and the finance department. Team them up with S types for stability and C styles for insight, while collaborating with D styles to get the job done.


An active listener, the S type is patient and empathetic. They strive for security and fear the unknown. Without concrete evidence, they seek solutions and work quickly to manage risks, often developing a "Plan B" – just in case.

A fine line between the I type and C type, the S styles are instrumental to our business structure. They keep our executives organized and make sure our stakeholders feel appreciated. They are friendly, reliable, and dependable. They are loyalists and advocates of authority.

Seek out an S type personality if you are looking for an awesome assistant, program coordinator, office manager, or secretary. They are expert schedulers and administrative geniuses. S types are great at coordinating, often leaving us with time to prep and room for error, even in our most action-packed days. Some say that the S type is actually the thread that holds the entire organization together. If you are building a team from scratch or downsizing this year, make sure to keep a few of this personality type on your roster.


If you are seeking to fulfill a position that involves data mining, administration, litigation, or analysis, you should lean towards a C type personality. They are focused on details, standards, and quality of daily activity and often fortify business at every step of the way.

They are perfectionists, "dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s." They will take lead where expertise is key and are amazing advisors and consultants. They ensure compliance throughout the organization and highlight missed opportunities within the business structure. They make sure that the company is meeting all obligations to governing regulations, policies, and procedures, while indirectly bridging gaps across operations. They are systematic and often considered the "anchor of reality," to which everyone depends on to "keep tally" and "tell it like it is."

Pair the C type and D type personalities for perfect results. Redirect emotional decision-making by enhancing logic with intuition. The C type personality is essential for grounding the emotional rush of the D type person. Because both styles value results, together they are a force to be reckoned with.

Download the PeopleKeys Case Study on Predictive Hiring, Talent Management & Workforce Retention

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Written by: Jessica N. Abraham

Jessica is passionate about “people” and helping them to evolve professionally. Her “I-style” personality trait has led her to 15+ years of service to public relations, social branding, and design strategy.