A few years ago, typing ‘DISC or MBTI’ into Google’s search bar would have returned around 70,000 results. Now that figure has increased to almost 2 million. This shows that the question is still out there: DISC or MBTI, which is better for hiring?
I will always advocate the benefits of DISC for hiring and people-management because I’ve trained in DISC, I understand the model and I’ve never had an inaccurate result.
However the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is also a respected and recognised tool used within organisations around the world. Both DISC and the MBTI have been used by millions for gaining insights into personality, temperament and to improve communication since their inception.
Dominance – How a person is likely to solve problems and respond to challenges.
Influence – How a person attempts to persuade and influence
Steadiness – The pace at which a person responds to
Compliance – How a person is likely to respond to the rules and regulations set by others.
THE MBTI MEASURES:
Introversion or Extroversion (I/E) – How a person focuses their attention.
Sensing or iNtuition (S/N) – How a person processes information.
Thinking or Feeling (T/F) – How a person makes decisions.
Judging or Perceiving (J/P) – How a person interacts with the world.
Whilst there is only one official MBTI model, DISC, though still based on the work of William Moulton Marston, has a few modifications which vary amongst organisation providers. For the purposes of this comparison article, I will be comparing the MBTI with my favoured DISC Evaluation model which I use with my clients.
The MBTI was the standard in psychometric evaluations for several years. However, the popularity of DISC has grown, particularly within the business sector for the purposes of hiring, leadership and people-development. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Where the MBTI has a focus on personality (who a person is), DISC focuses on measuring behaviour (what a person does and how). The latter is far more useful when it comes to measuring and improving performance.
2) The majority of people’s DISC styles consist of two letters of its acronym. It is easier for people to remember and apply their primary and secondary styles, than it is to remember their MBTI’s acronymic combination of four.
3) Completing an online DISC evaluation only takes 8-10 minutes yet produces a comprehensive report which is still easy to read and understand. A typical MBTI report is a little more complex to digest, especially if you’re new to profiling models.
4) Understanding your DISC style allows for more wiggle-room when communicating with others because the model understands that behavioural tendencies can adjust, albeit slowly, over time. The styles of others are easier to predict with DISC than with the MBTI. Subsequently, this allows a person to adjust their communication style with the people around them.
It is important to acknowledge here that the MBTI was designed for personal development, NOT recruitment. In fact, on their website, www.myersbriggs.org, they reference their ethics with regard to their Indicator being used for hiring:
It is unethical and in many cases illegal to require job applicants to take the Indicator if the results will be used to screen out applicants.myersbriggs.org
It is not ethical to use the MBTI instrument for hiring or for deciding job assignments. However, knowledge of type theory may help people recognize why they may be satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs, and knowledge of type almost always helps teams and co-workers communicate better.myersbriggs.org
With this in mind, which is better for hiring, DISC or MBTI…?
With regard to people-development. Neither evaluation model is better than the other. It’s entirely dependent on what value you are looking to gain because the two are not mutually exclusive, each has its merits. The questions to ask yourself are:
- What are our goals for using these evaluations?
- What value can they offer me, my organisation and my people?
- What characteristics are we trying to measure amongst our team?
- How much time do our people have to take the evaluations and go through the results?
- Do our people prefer something complex or something easier to understand?
To help a little further, here is a table summary of what DISC and the MBTI offer:
In summary, it’s always down to your own discernment and preference when it comes to using any personality evaluation model for hiring and developing your people.
I help business owners & hiring managers streamline candidate interviews to make right-first-time hires for the long-term.