What Are the Hogan Assessments? How to Interpret the Results

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A company’s performance is built on effective individuals and highly integrated teams.

Working and performing well together and employee satisfaction and wellbeing are crucial to a successful business (Chamorro-Premuzic & Winsborough, 2015).

“The dynamics of interpersonal relationships depend on individuals’ personalities, not on hard skills or expertise” (Chamorro-Premuzic & Winsborough, 2015, para. 5). As a result, many organizations are turning to personality profiling to build well-balanced and high-performing teams.

While several personality assessments are available, we look at one of the most popular and well validated – the Hogan Assessments – and how their output can provide deep insights into employee personalities.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Strengths Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help your clients realize their unique potential and create a life that feels energizing and authentic.

What Are the Hogan Assessments?

“The only way to create a team that’s worth more than the sum of its individual contributors is to select members on the basis of personality, soft skills, and values” (Chamorro-Premuzic & Winsborough, 2015, para. 5). This requires careful and planned assessment. While many personality assessments are available, not all of them have strong foundations in personality psychology or supporting evidence.

On the other hand, the Hogan Assessments appear consistent, well validated, and reliable (Furnham et al., 2013).

Since 1987, when Drs. Joyce Hogan and Robert Hogan challenged existing personality assessments, Hogan Assessment Systems has grown into a substantial business with offices in 54 countries (Hogan, 2020). They now address unique business challenges, “providing cutting-edge assessment and consulting solutions to some of the world’s largest companies, including over half the Fortune 500” (Hogan EU, n.d.a, para. 1).

According to their website, Hogan Assessments can help companies by:

Reducing turnover – identifying performance risk before candidates are hired
Hiring the best – uncovering who fits a need and eliminating those who are unqualified
Maximizing value – freeing up time previously spent on administration to focus on employee development
Playing the long game – using individual development to sustain ongoing growth
Reaching beyond resumes – looking deeper into candidates to explore their strengths, values, and performance risks
Connecting the dots – identifying and understanding how candidates approach problems and think tactically
Increasing efficiency – providing focused, clear, and easy-to-use, self-guided reports
Unifying objectives – aligning corporate and employee development plans

While these sound too good to be true, they are trusted by many market leaders (Hogan, n.d.).

Their success comes from showing the impact of employees’ personalities on workplace performance and, ultimately, organizational success. Assessment results are particularly helpful in leadership development through (Hogan EU, n.d.a):

Predicting job performance
Identifying and mitigating performance risks
Developing next-generation talent
Executive development and coaching
Pairing with 360-degree assessment and development initiatives

One of the strengths of the Hogan Assessments (along with the tendency of personality to remain stable over time) is that it adds value throughout an employee’s lifecycle. Once assessed, the online report architecture can use a single set of employee data to create various developmental reports using consistent language and behavioral descriptors that can become everyday language, informing corporate culture (Hogan EU, n.d.a).

5 Types of Hogan Assessment Tests

The Hogan Assessments include five personality assessments available in over 40 languages, each of which has dedicated guidelines and support produced by industry experts (Hogan EU, n.d.e).

Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

This inventory takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and provides instant results.

The HPI is based on the five-factor model (Big 5) of personality and assesses what the website describes as “bright or normal” personalities; it is an invaluable tool for hiring the right candidates and developing stronger leaders.

The HPI comprises seven primary scales (and 42 subscales) and six occupational scales, and includes typical tendencies for low and high scorers (modified from Hogan EU, n.d.f).

Name of scale
Typically, low scorers are …
Typically, high scorers are …

Adjustment
Open to feedback, candid, honest, moody, and self-critical
Steady under pressure yet resistant to feedback

Ambition
Great team players, happy for others to take the lead, and complacent
Energetic, restless, forceful, and competitive

Sociability
Able to work alone, quiet, and socially reactive
Outgoing, talkative, and attention seeking

Interpersonal Sensitivity
Direct, willing to confront, cold, and tough
Friendly, warm, and averse to conflict

Prudence
Open-minded, flexible, and impulsive
Organized, dependable, and inflexible

Inquisitive
Practical, not easily bored, uninventive
Imaginative, quick witted, yet poor at implementation

Learning Approach
Hands-on learners, self-interested, averse to technology
Interested in learning, insightful, intolerant of the less informed

Hogan Development Survey (HDS)

This survey takes 15 to 20 minutes and has been validated by more than 400 research studies.

Unlike the HPI, the HDS focuses on the “dark side” of personality, not covered by the five-factor model of personality, mitigating performance issues before they occur. It does this by detecting those qualities that can be disruptive, increase strain, and reduce the likelihood of success.

The HDS consists of 11 primary scales (and 33 subscales) that help leaders build successful teams by recognizing shortcomings and maximizing strengths (modified from Hogan EU, n.d.g).

Name of scale
Typically, low scorers …
Typically, high scorers …

Excitable
Are calm and may appear to lack passion
Exhibit emotional highs and lows

Skeptical
Can appear trusting yet naïve
Are negative and cynical, expecting to be betrayed

Cautious
Are risk takers, often without appropriate assessment
Are unwilling to take risks even after assessing them

Reserved
Are too concerned about others’ feelings
Are indifferent to others’ feelings

Leisurely
May seem to lack agenda or direction
Are passive-aggressive and agenda driven

Bold
Appear to lack resolve and self-confidence
Appear assertive, over-confident, and self-promoting

Mischievous
Are conservative, compliant, and unadventurous
Are impulsive and sometimes devious

Colorful
Are modest, unassuming, quiet, and self-restrained
Are socially prominent, dramatic, and attention seeking

Imaginative
Prefer routine, are practical, but may lack new ideas
Can seem impractical and unpredictable but may offer unusual ideas

Diligent
Have poor attention to detail and often over-delegate
Are picky, overly conscientious, and typically micromanage

Dutiful
Are highly independent and may resent authority
Are excessively keen to please superiors

Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI)

This inventory takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and has been validated by more than 400 research studies.

The MVPI “describes personality from the inside,” predicting job satisfaction by measuring values, core goals, and the desire and strive to attain (Hogan EU, n.d.b).

The MVPI consists of 10 primary scales (and five subscales or themes) that help recruiters and managers understand what motivates candidates to succeed (modified from Hogan EU, n.d.b).

Name of scale
Typically, low scorers …
Typically, high scorers …

Recognition
Prefer to share credit and avoid too much attention
Value public acknowledgment and high-visibility projects

Power
Prefer to let others lead and avoid confrontation and competition
Value leadership positions and are keen to get ahead

Hedonism
Value business-like professional settings and formal working environments
Value entertaining, fun, and open-minded environments

Altruistic
Place value on their own work over morale
Value helping other people and customer-focused environments

Affiliation
Prefer working alone and independence
Prefer working with others and social interaction

Tradition
Prefer flexibility and autonomy and challenging established procedures
Prefer the status quo and avoid people who do not share beliefs

Security
Value risk taking and experimentation
Prefer consistency and predictability over risks

Commerce
Value relationships over profitability
Prefer environments that focus on the bottom line

Aesthetics
Value practicality over appearance
Value innovation and creativity, individual style, and appearance

Science
Prefer people over technology and value intuition and experience
Value analysis, problem-solving, and working with data and objective facts

Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory (HBRI)

This inventory takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete and is designed to predict occupational success and tactical versus strategic abilities.

The HBRI describes candidates’ reasoning style to understand their problem-solving approaches, along with their ability to avoid repeating mistakes and areas for development.

The inventory is a valuable tool for use throughout the employee lifecycle, evaluating two types of problem-solving (modified from Hogan EU, n.d.d):

Tactical reasoning – the ability of the employee to solve problems and draw logical conclusions from the available facts. High scorers are typically precise, disciplined, and steady workers.

Strategic reasoning – the ability of the individual to identify gaps, errors, and logical flaws in complex artifacts, such as graphs, diagrams, charts, and numerical data. High scorers are typically curious and keen to receive feedback.

Judgment (JUD)

This survey involves two brief measures related to verbal and numerical reasoning and intuitive decision-making. It also suggests the ability to acknowledge poor decisions and mistakes and use learnings to improve future decision-making and judgments.

The JUD model “includes a critical component most models miss: how a leader reacts to feedback about his or her failed decisions” (Hogan EU, n.d.c, para. 3). The assumption is that learning from experience and receiving negative (but constructive) performance feedback can improve one’s judgment.

The three independent scales assess non-cognitive abilities that identify how someone approaches decision-making, post-decision reactions, and response to negative feedback. The aim is not to categorize individuals as poor decision-makers but to equip them with a greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses (Hogan EU, n.d.c).

Are the Tests Scientifically Valid?

The widespread use of Hogan Assessments in high-performing companies provides anecdotal evidence of their benefits to business. New clients are provided with documentation detailing how the assessments came to be developed and the accompanying validation processes (Hogan EU, n.d.a).

According to the Hogan website, hundreds of research studies have validated the tests (Hogan EU, n.d.a).

According to one such study that tested 1,458 individuals’ personalities against their work motivation, the assessments as modern, psychometrically valid measures that have “been validated in over 100 organizations with working adults and completed by 200,000 people in the last 10 years” (Furnham et al., 2013, p. 485).

Additionally, the Hogan Assessments are based on both Holland’s theory of vocational choice (which has received considerable attention within personality and vocational psychology) and the widely accepted five-factor model of personality (Furnham et al., 2013).

How to Use the Hogan Assessment Tools

One of the merits of the Hogan Assessments is that they can be used with employees at all levels of an organization throughout their time with the company. They can be involved and integrated into the following (Hogan EU, n.d.a):

Employee selection processes
Employee development initiatives
Talent identification programs

There are reports and guides specific to multiple processes and career stages.

It typically takes less than 20 minutes for an employee to complete an assessment. And yet, a single set of data produced from an assessment can be used over a prolonged period (due to the stable nature of personality traits) and offers language that can be used in multiple settings, from coaching to interviewing (Hogan EU, n.d.a).

The Hogan suite of tools helps companies improve organizational functioning by understanding their personnel’s data and supporting enhanced development and leadership building (Stott, n.d.).

7 Examples of Interview Questions

The style and content of questions vary across the Hogan Assessment suite, but the following examples provide an idea of what a candidate or an employee might expect (modified from iPrep, n.d.; Jobtestprep, n.d.):

Hogan Personality Inventory – exploring the bright side of personality

I enjoy the company of others.
I find myself curious about how things operate.
I like working in a team.

The candidate answers strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree.

Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory – personality from the inside

It is more important to be satisfied with your job than to have job security.
My team’s performance reflects on my performance.
I do not like it when work interferes with my time at home.

The candidate answers agree, disagree, or undecided.

Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory – assessing reasoning ability

Your company recently hired new employees. All the new employees are tech-savvy. All the IT personnel in your company are tech-savvy. Are all the new employees IT personnel?

The candidate answers yes, no, or unable to tell based on the information provided.

How to Interpret the Results: 5 Tips

The Hogan Assessments create a wealth of data and the potential for deep insight into whether a candidate is a good fit for an organization and the readiness for existing employees to take on more responsibility (Hogan, n.d.; Hogan EU, n.d.a).

The following tips can help with the interpretation of data:

Subscale scores can contribute to a deeper understanding of main scale scores and should be explored.
When assessing a score, pay particular attention to its definition and what a high or low score typically means. For example, in the HPI assessment, the subscale “Empathy” signifies a lack of irritability. A low score means the tendency to be “irritated by others’ faults,” while a high score means “empathic.”
Consider getting Hogan Certification or Advanced Certification to gain deeper interpretive insights and a greater awareness of maximizing assessment output.
Remember that there is no such thing as a “good score.” Assessments reveal strengths, potential risks, and areas for development opportunities.
Be clear upfront about what you are planning to use the information for, as this may change your decision regarding which assessment you choose and how you choose to interpret and use the results.

There are many resources, guides, and FAQs on the Hogan website that are incredibly helpful, along with training and certifications.

3 Common Criticisms of the Tools

Criticisms are more typically related to the appropriateness of using personality assessments in making workplace employee decisions, rather than specifics regarding well-validated tools such as the Hogan Assessments.

Criticism surrounding the use of personality tests includes the following (Hogan, 2021):

They are not appropriate for hiring and advancement.
They do not predict employee or company performance.
They are unproven and unreliable.

However, unlike some other popular tests, the Hogan Assessment process has been well proven as a valid, consistent, and reliable measure. Crucially, research has shown that such assessments are predictive of performance in the workplace (Hogan, 2021; Furnham et al., 2013).

Relevant Resources From PositivePsychology.com

We have many resources available for therapists and counselors providing support to employees.

Our free resources include:

Employee Counseling Assessment Form
This form can be helpful for understanding and discussing an issue or event that has arisen at work that has led to a referral for counseling.
Effectiveness at Work
Use this spreadsheet to check on how you manage your professional life and identify any learnings or changes to put in place.
Job Crafting
It is possible to craft your current role, making marginal changes to what and how it is performed, into one that benefits others and enables you to experience joy in what you do.

More extensive versions of the following tools are available with a subscription to the Positive Psychology Toolkit©, but they are described briefly below:

Strengthening the Work–Private Life Barrier
This exercise will help clients identify the behaviors, beliefs, and conditions that damage the barrier between their work and private life. In doing so, clients strengthen the separation between the two roles, restoring a healthy balance.

Step one – Identify the holes in your work-life barrier.
Step two – Fill the holes to strengthen the barrier between your work and private life.
Step three – Think of the small things you can do to take action.
Step four – Reflect on how you feel after the exercise.

Best Possible Team
The Best Possible Team exercise invites team members to envision an ideal version of the team individually before sharing their visions to find common aspirations and differences in views. Finally, the team works together to create the best possible team scenario based on the information gathered.

17 Strength-Finding Exercises
If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others develop their strengths, check out this collection of 17 strength-finding tools for practitioners. Use them to help others better understand and harness their strengths in life-enhancing ways.

A Take-Home Message

The Hogan Assessments are widely recognized as accurate and reliable candidate and employee measurement tools that support onboarding and development in the workplace (Stott, n.d.).

Their strengths, particularly compared to other popular (free) tools, are their strong foundation in theory and repeated validation through hundreds of work studies. The associated cost of using the tools and receiving the suggested training and certification may be offset by reduced staff turnover and hiring the best fit for the job, improving individual, team, and company performance.

It is possible to test once and then use the data output at multiple points across individuals’ careers. Therefore, assessments performed during onboarding can guide early decisions regarding whether to invite staff to join leadership development programs.

When used to identify strengths and manage potential weaknesses, Hogan Assessments have the potential to reduce waste and focus resources on stimulating development and growth at all levels of the business, ultimately improving the company’s performance and success.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Strengths Exercises for free.

References

Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Winsborough, D. (2015, March 19). Personality tests can help balance a team. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2015/03/personality-tests-can-help-balance-a-team
Furnham, A., Hyde, G., & Trickey, G. (2013). The values of work success. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 485–489.
Hogan. (n.d.). Hogan Assessments. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://www.hoganassessments.com
Hogan. (2021, December 13). Why do hiring personality tests fail? Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.hoganassessments.com/blog/why-do-personality-tests-fail-at-selection/
Hogan EU. (n.d.a). Hogan Assessments: Setting the standard. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://hoganassessments.eu/
Hogan EU. (n.d.b). Motivates, Values, Preferences Inventory: The inside of personality. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://hoganassessments.eu/assessment/motives-values-preferences-inventory/
Hogan EU. (n.d.c). Judgement: Making good decisions. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
https://hoganassessments.eu/assessment/judgement-assessment/
Hogan EU. (n.d.d). Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory: How you think. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
https://hoganassessments.eu/assessment/hogan-business-reasoning-inventory/
Hogan EU. (n.d.e). Products: Understand your people. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
https://hoganassessments.eu/products/
Hogan EU. (n.d.f). Hogan Personality Inventory: The bright side of personality. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from https://hoganassessments.eu/assessment/hogan-personality-inventory/
Hogan EU. (n.d.g). Hogan Development Survey: The dark side of personality. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
https://hoganassessments.eu/assessment/hogan-development-survey/
Hogan, R. (2020). How to build Hogan Assessment systems. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 72(1), 50–57.
iPrep. (n.d.) Hogan Assessment Test. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.iprep.online/courses/hogan-assessment-test/
Jobtestprep. (n.d.). Hogan Assessment tests: Sample questions & test prep. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.jobtestprep.co.uk/hogan##sample-questions
Stott, R. (n.d.). Why use Hogan tools for leadership assessment, development and selection? Winsborough. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from https://www.winsborough.co.nz/blog/why-use-hogan-tools-for-leadership-assessment-development-and-selection

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