Unlock personality insights with the Hogan Development Survey

Avoid potential points of friction before they happen with the Hogan Development Survey.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to identify risk behaviors before you hire or promote people? That’s where the Hogan Development Survey comes in.

Let’s look at the Hogan Development Survey, its uses, and what personality traits it can reveal.

The Hogan Development Survey (HDS) was developed by Hogan Assessments (Drs. Robert and Joyce Hogan) in 1997. It consists of 168 questions and takes about 15–20 minutes to complete—though it is not a timed test. It’s frequently used to assess candidates during a hiring process.

Unlike other personality assessments, the HDS solely focuses on traits that may cause future workplace issues, friction within an organization, and performance risks. Under normal circumstances, elevated scores on the HDS can be strengths, but in times of stress, they can cause problematic behaviors. Results are presented from the perspective of colleagues.

The survey does not include questions concerning sexual preferences, religious beliefs, illegal behavior, racial attitudes, or attitudes about individuals with disabilities.

Respondents are evaluated on 11 personality scales, and scores are measured as a percentile against others. A high HDS score indicates an increased risk. Hogan Development survey answers are presented on a four-point Likert scale

For example, this is what HDS questions look like:

I like taking risks.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Agree
  4. Strongly agree

Sometimes people take advantage of me.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Agree
  4. Strongly agree

I go straight for the goal.

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Agree
  4. Strongly agree

I like to keep things in control

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Agree
  4. Strongly agree

The Hogan Development Survey is one of five assessment tools that together provide a detailed picture of any job candidate. The other surveys include:

  • The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), which looks at the bright side of personality and evaluates leadership potential
  • The Hogan Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI), which looks at interests, motivations, and core values
  • The Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory (HBRI), which examines problem-solving capabilities
  • The Hogan Judgement Assessment (J), which examines how decisions are made and how the candidate overcomes bad decisions

The Hogan Development Survey is the only personality survey assessment that measures potential negative traits and possible barriers to career success. The survey results reveal what Drs. Hogan calls “the dark side of personality.” These detrimental personality traits show up during times of high stress, boredom, or fatigue and may impede work relationships, hinder productivity, limit career potential, and affect leadership style and actions.

The HDS measures dark-side personality characteristics along 11 personality scales. The higher the score, the more likely a person is to behave a certain way when stressed. These primary scales identify what behaviors are most likely to derail someone in their career. The scales are divided into three clusters. 

Cluster A (Moving Away—managing insecurities by avoiding others)

High scores across Cluster A indicate people who prefer to distance themselves from problems. They avoid risk and tend to have a negative attitude and outlook. 

The Excitable scale measures the ability to work under pressure, teamwork skills, and interpersonal skills. Under pressure, people who rank highly on this scale tend to be moody, difficult to please, easily frustrated, and emotionally volatile. 

Example scale item: My mood can change quickly.

The Skeptical scale measures the degree to which an individual is argumentative. A high rating indicates they are distrustful, cynical, suspicious, focused on the negatives, and sensitive to criticism.

Example scale item: There are few people I can really trust.

The Cautious scale assesses a person’s ability to make decisions, adapt as necessary, and take control of situations. Add stress to this, and the resulting behaviors are unassertiveness, resistance to change, fear of embarrassment,  and pessimism.

Example scale item: It is difficult for me to be assertive.

The Reserved scale measures interpersonal, teamwork, and communication skills. The reserved individual may be aloof, ignorant of social cues, and a poor listener. They generally prefer to work alone and are perceived by others as uncaring and unrewarding to work with.

Example scale item: I prefer spending time by myself.

The Leisurely scale looks at assertiveness, ability to adapt, and overall work ethic. These individuals appear to be cooperative on the surface, but they want things done on their own terms. They can be irritable, stubborn, and bad-tempered. They’re hard to work with because of their procrastination, tardiness, and reluctance to work in a team environment.

Example scale item: I ignore people who don’t show respect.

Cluster B (Moving Against—managing self-doubts by intimidating others)

Those with high Cluster B scores are risk takers, often charismatic but self-absorbed. They will do what’s best for themselves over what’s best for the organization.

The Bold scale assesses self-confidence and the willingness to take responsibility. They are arrogant and opinionated, make risky decisions, and may blame others for their shortcomings. These individuals are demanding and unable to learn from their mistakes.

Example scale item: I do most things well.

The Mischievous scale measures the bias towards risk-taking and testing rules, intuitiveness, and impulsivity. They may be seen as charming, excitement-seeking, nonconformists who lack commitment. They make bad decisions motivated by pleasure without evaluating the consequences.

Example scale item: I have few regrets.

The Colorful scale looks at listening skills, productivity, and attention seeking. High scores on this scale indicate that the individual tends toward the dramatic. They want to be the center of attention. They tend to be easily distracted and disorganized. While engaging, they are also impulsive, distractible, and disorganized.

Example scale item: Other people pay attention to me.

The Imaginative scale measures creativity, foresight, and the ability to influence others. High scores on the Imaginative scale indicate creative, eccentric individuals who may have great ideas, but their quirkiness can be very distracting. 

Example scale item: I am creative about my appearance.

Cluster C (Moving Toward—managing insecurities by building alliances)

Individuals with high scores in the two dimensions that make up Cluster C tend to work hard to fix problems or resolve stressors. They don’t cause conflict but aren’t able to effectively express their opinions.

The Diligent scale measures attention to detail, productivity, and the ability to delegate tasks. High scores in this dimension indicate that the individual is a meticulous planner with great attention to detail, but they are hard to please and tend to micromanage because others don’t meet their expectations. They are seen as picky and critical perfectionists.

Example scale item: I take pride in organizing my work.

The Dutiful scale measures the ability to conform, the tendency toward compliance, and decision-making skills. A high score indicates an individual who is eager to please but reluctant to act independently or contradict others. They are polite and easy to work with but cannot be relied upon to think critically. They are excessively careful to please superiors.

Example scale item: I leave the big decisions up to others.

The Hogan Development Survey is generally used for predicting success in the workplace and is exceptionally useful in evaluating a candidate for a leadership position where personality compatibility is crucial. It’s often used when hiring managers.

HDS can be used in management development programs or leadership coaching to pinpoint areas that need to be addressed. 

It can also be utilized when building effective teams by addressing dysfunctional behaviors that hinder working relationships. “Dark side” traits will upset team dynamics and prove detrimental to the team’s performance. 

HDS helps predict barriers to career success, identify problems not detected during an interview, identify areas for coaching, and can help predict how an individual will act in a variety of situations.

HDS reports provide in-depth insights such as:

  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Suggestions for career management
  • Characteristics that may derail a career
  • Factors relevant to help the individual become more strategically self-aware

The HDS identifies behaviors that can negatively impact an individual’s ability to work cooperatively and the dysfunctional patterns of behavior that may emerge in work settings. The assessment can be used to identify areas where the candidate may require coaching, development, and training to become more self-aware and effective.

The Hogan Development Survey is one of five personality assessments that can be used to identify potential areas of friction for employees, especially those in line for leadership positions. By discovering these traits through the HDS, an employee or candidate can become more self-aware and respond positively to coaching and training opportunities.

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