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How PDP Behavioral Assessments Overcome Workplace Skepticism

Your people are your most important asset. But attracting, engaging, and retaining talent is an immense challenge—it’s possibly the most difficult challenge in businesses.

One solution? Behavioral assessments.

“Oh no,” you may be thinking. "I need a real solution."

We hear you. Many companies hesitate to give behavioral assessments a shot. Maybe you’ve tried one that didn’t seem accurate or valuable. Perhaps it didn’t have a clear impact on your company or offer a return on investment. Maybe you’ve never tried behavioral assessments because they seem like pseudo-scientific junk.

But what if we told you that there’s a behavioral assessment that is 98% accurate? And that you can use its results to make measurable improvements to hiring, retention, team dynamics, and leadership performance?

There is—it’s ProScan.

Behavioral scientists, statisticians, and industry leaders developed ProScan using a rigorous testing procedure on working adults (not students like many others) and statistical analyses to produce accurate and useful behavior results.

  • It’s accurate. 98% of people when researched agree that their ProScan results correctly describe them.
  • It’s reliable and valid. ProScan has consistently tested reliably for over 40 years, with the most recent tests conducted in 2021 on over 39,000 people.
  • It’s quick. Respondents can on average complete PDP ProScans in under 10 minutes.
  • It’s unbiased. Research has found that PDP ProScans don’t result in disparate results for different demographic groupsall your applicants have an equal opportunity to perform well, regardless of their background.
  • It works. ProScan genuinely impacts how businesses hire and manage their people and creates a quantifiable return on investment.

In other words, ProScan isn’t just another behavioral assessment. It’s proven to help organizations hire the best people, retain and promote top talent, and enable effective team communication. Behavioral assessments—done right—can save you time and money on hiring. They can help you find the candidates that will ensure you build a functional team and productive, positive team culture.

Before you give up hope on behavioral assessments, here’s how PDP Global’s behavioral assessments work and why they’re so effective.

Why Behavioral Assessments Have a Bad Reputation

Long-term success requires that business strategy syncs up with people strategy. It’s about alignment: developing productive teams that rally around your business goals can generate successful business outcomes. Behavioral assessments can help you understand your people, providing insights that can help you create that alignment. But, many behavioral assessments are compared to personality tests that fail to provide accurate or useful results, leaving a bad reputation across the board. To make matters worse, assessments may even be misused and create additional legal risks.

Comparison to Personality Tests

Personality tests are becoming increasingly popular in hiring scenarios with the roughly $7.4 billion market in 2021 expected to grow to $16.4 billion by 2028. The emphasis of knowing whether candidates are a right fit for an organization is more important than ever thanks to Covid and the rise of remote work. However, “personality test” and “behavioral assessment” are often used interchangeably, which in fact they can be quite different.

Personality tests measure character traits that are formed from genetic makeup and environmental factors. These traits are often described as unchanging and the tests are a good way to get overarching insights into the personality type of an individual. The drawback to using a personality test in a work environment is that different scenarios are not taken into consideration. People may also respond based on their surroundings, so someone who is typically easy-going may respond differently if placed into a stressful situation. That is where a behavioral assessment comes into play.

Behavior is how someone acts out their personality and adapts to their surroundings. While personality traits are hard-wired, behavioral response can be coached and developed over time. So, a behavioral assessment takes a personality test one step further and shows how to practically apply that information in the real world.

person doing yoga on desk

In determining the fit for a particular role, it is also helpful to not only identify personality, but also to understand the stress of an individual, and the likely responses to that stress in various work situations. Most simple personality tests were never researched or designed to help with hiring the right people for the right job. This is why many popular personality tests like DiSC state on the partner-authorized website not to use the test for pre-employment screening since they don’t capture the entire picture.

Secondarily, many personality tests are not well-supported by science. For example, one of the most famous personality tests, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, was developed by a mother-daughter team with no formal training in psychology or test development. It has been found to be lacking evidence of reliability and validity and that as many as three-quarters of individuals that take the test twice get different results. The problem is that many personality tests used in business aren’t constructed using sound scientific methods.

Because of that, they may not be reliable or tell you what you really want to know—whether a potential candidate's results correlate to job success or team effectiveness.

Misuse of Workplace Application

When used appropriately, behavioral assessments can help individuals and teams better understand their strengths and communication styles. But when misused, behavioral assessments can introduce bias into hiring decisions and even reduce workplace diversity.

It is possible to identify the existence of certain disabilities that the test taker may have depending on the behavioral assessment. For example, answers to questions like “You are always cheerful” or “You have confidence in yourself” can be linked to depression. When used in a hiring context, this type of survey contributes to the discrimination of people with disabilities and can even lead to lawsuits.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers cannot ask potential job candidates to take a medical exam. But some personality tests, like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), can provide information indicative of a mental illness diagnosis. In one case, the court of appeals determined that administering the MMPI to qualify someone for a promotion violated the ADA.

person in a meeting

Even an unbiased behavioral assessment can be turned into an inappropriate hiring tool if administered incorrectly. Let’s say an HR Director distributes a behavioral test based only on one type of the protected classes like race, religion, or age. Then, bias is introduced outside of the function of the behavioral assessment and can land the organization in hot water.

What Makes PDP Behavioral Assessments Actually Work

The behavioral assessments we offer are different because the assessments are: founded on decades of research, accurate and valid, completed quickly in under 10 minutes, and designed to eliminate bias within the hiring process.


Originally designed by an interdisciplinary team of academics and business professionals, the first versions of PDP behavioral assessments were based on large samples of thousands of working adults (as opposed to undergraduate students) in the 1970s to measure five traits: Dominance, Extroversion, Pace, Conformity, and Logic.

pdp proscan survey

A key differentiating factor of PDP behavioral assessments is that we achieved Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) after performing nationwide studies of more than 39,000 people. CFA is the gold standard of statistical evaluation that is an even more rigorous test than Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), and few competitors in the market endure the process to complete it—collect data and conduct research to ensure their tests are performing well.

However, PDP conducted this study a total of three times to demonstrate the consistency of its results.

Our most recent CFA test of the validity of our assessments began in 2021. This is a long-term study to determine whether updated language of the test to reflect societal changes provided higher accuracy than the prior model. The study supported the original researchers’ 4-factor trait model plus Logic as an individual factor and found the updated test to be reliable, valid, and most importantly—reproducible.

The careful, rigorous way that PDP Global researchers developed our assessments has been recognized by professional psychologists, who have vouched for our standards.

Learn more about our thorough research studies.


We offer some of the most accurate behavioral assessments on the market with 98% of working adults when researched agreeing that their tests accurately reflect their behavior patterns.

To be accurate, a test must be reliable. Reliability refers to how consistently or dependably a test measures a characteristic. For example, a person’s results should be consistent when they take it a second or third time. PDP assessments have demonstrated strong test-retest reliability estimates with each trait in the 0.70s and 0.80s (Research 2.1). These scores compare very favorably to other achievement tests and are slightly higher than other nationally normed measures, confirming that the ProScan assessment produces consistent results.

Another important measure of reliability is Chronbach's alpha coefficient, which measures how well test questions fit together to measure each trait. While a score of 0.70 or above is considered acceptable, in the initial development research, ProScan produced an excellent reliability score of 0.94 (Research 1.10).


It has also been demonstrated that PDP behavioral assessments are valid, meaning that they actually measure what they say they’ll measure. Statisticians have evaluated the internal validity of PDP Global’s behavioral assessments using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and have found consistent evidence of internal validity. Most recently, a 2021 study successfully replicated previous validity results.

There's also strong evidence of concurrent validityin other words, results of the ProScan test correlate with results from other well-established tests. Correlation coefficients of concurrent validity for the ProScan test range from .39 to .87, which are moderate to very strong correlations.

Lastly, the ProScan assessment has demonstrated predictive validity, meaning that a person’s results consistently predict their future job performance. So, you can be confident that PDP will help you find the best people for your specific roles.

people in office shaking hands

Zero Bias

PDP’s behavioral assessments are carefully constructed so they do not contribute to discriminatory or biased hiring practices, which is especially relevant in today’s trying times.

We have conducted a comprehensive research study to confirm that the assessments do not cause disparate outcomes for different racial, gender, ability, or age groups. Using PDP behavioral assessments will not exclude candidates with certain identities or put them at a hiring disadvantage unintentionally.

Moreover, we provide four types of PDP certifications that solidify an individual’s understanding of properly administering, interpreting, and applying assessment results. These certifications are EEOC compliant, following the Employment Test and Selection Procedures policy that:

Employers should ensure that tests and selection procedures are not adopted casually by managers who know little about these processes. A test or selection procedure can be an effective management tool, but no test or selection procedure should be implemented without an understanding of its effectiveness and limitations for the organization, its appropriateness for a specific job, and whether it can be appropriately administered and scored.”

eeoc and ada compliant

Because of the care we have taken, some lawyers have expressed their confidence that our assessments do not violate any U.S. state or federal regulations regarding non-discriminatory and non-biased employment applications. You can rely on PDP to be an objective guide when making hiring decisions while staying EEOC compliant.

The Ideal Workplace Behavioral Assessment Checklist

PDP Behavioral Assessment Employment Use Cases

PDP’s behavioral assessments can be used to solve a range of challenges facing your organization such as hiring and retention, team communication, and leadership/management development.

hiring and retention team dynamic and conflict and leadership training

Hiring and Retention

Selecting and keeping talent is a massive challenge. Bad hires are costly, and bringing the wrong person to the team can hurt morale.

PDP helps you find the right person for the right role. A robust JobScan report looks at your top performers and helps you identify the traits that lead to success, along with the behaviors you feel are most important at this time for the position. It then provides you with a list of keywords you can use to create job descriptions and advertisements that attract the right applicants, supplying you with a steady pipeline of strong candidates.

JobScan Model - facilitator page - congratulations

Next, the candidates complete the Applicant ProScan behavioral assessment quickly in under 10 minutes to obtain an inventory of their individual behavioral traits. You can easily see who has the traits that are most consistent with success in your teams. To ensure hiring the best, JobScan’s Interview Guide prompts behavioral interviewing questions that are objectively derived based on applicant’s traits compared to the required position traits.

Companies around the world use our assessments to improve hiring and retention outcomes. For example, a US call center that used PDP assessments saw the following benefits:

  • 10% increase in screening capacity
  • 10% increase in length of employee tenure
  • Recruiting staff needed reduced by 3.5 full-time positions

“The results of the PDP solution implemented have surpassed our initial expectations. We have been able to tap into new labor markets and realize greater recruiting success in a period of very aggressive growth. We look forward to expanding the role PDP plays in our organization beyond recruiting. If you hire with any sort of regularity, you need this tool.” —Call Center Human Resource Manager

Read the Case Study


Team Communication

Strong performance requires your people to pull together. PDP helps align your people with your team culture and build communication skills that enable them to solve your toughest business problems.

Our TeamScan tool shows you the unique dynamics of your team—their traits, energy levels, and motivators. It also allows you to find effective leaders and put your team members in positions where they’ll thrive.

Our system has helped numerous organizations build high performing teams, improve their culture, and become more effective. For example, Cure 4 the Kids Foundation turned their culture around from one that was conflict-avoidant to one that is transparent and open by using TeamScan. Their employees became more engaged, built trust, and experienced a boost in morale across the board. The benefits they saw include:
  • Ranked 32 on the 50 Best Nonprofits to Work for in the U.S.
  • Ranked 2,603 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Small Businesses
  • Earned Gold Standard award from the Joint Commission for four consecutive inspections over 13 years
“Investing in our leadership team has created incredibly engaged and inspired teams in each department, working collaboratively.” —Annette Logan, Cure 4 the Kids Foundation Founder/CEO
Read the Case Study

Leadership and Management Development

Leadership is the art of building an effective team culture. It requires both strategic vision and the ability to rally teams around that vision. Without effective leaders, your people become disengaged, make poor decisions, and leave to find work elsewhere.

PDP gives you the insight you need to lead effectively and build a high-performance work culture. It helps you understand the traits that make effective employees in your company so you can hire more of them, what motivates your employees so you can optimize productivity, and also helps you shift the company culture so your employees are more engaged.

Our system has helped businesses of every size identify opportunities for improvement in their leadership styles and understand how to remediate those. For example, PDP provided the support Rose Chauffeured Transportation needed to establish effective and authentic communications with the company and ultimately build morale. The measurable benefits include:

  • 44% reduction in employee turnover
  • 75% growth in sales
  • Employee morale is at an all-time high
"I worked 34 years in the corporate world before embarking on an entrepreneurial career. I knew managing a small business would be a challenge. I’ve used consultants successfully. Don Crosby of PDP Global is absolutely the best at handling and dissecting the faulty communication dynamics of any business and improving hiring procedures. He never offends, and his positive approach removes the barriers and obstacles we all encounter. The results have been no less than amazing.” —H.A. Thompson, Rose Chauffeured Transportation President and Founder
Read the Case Study

How PDP Compares to Popular Solutions on the Market

PDP Global’s assessments aren’t just effective—they’re also unique. There is nothing else on the market that works like them. In fact, 54% of PDP clients previously used a competing tool before switching to PDP. Here’s how the PDP system stacks up against other popular solutions.

Enneagram Personality Tests

Enneagram personality tests are based on a typology of nine interconnected personality types. Each personality type is represented as a point on a geometric figure called an enneagram. Contemporary enneagram personality types derive from the work of Oscar Ichazo, a Bolivian philosopher. It’s commonly applied in business contexts to help provide insight into coworkers’ personalities.

While the Enneagram Personality Test is popular, there is little scientific evidence that the results are meaningful. The categories have not been derived empirically from observed data and lack evidence for validity and internal consistency, which is one of the many contrasts between Enneagram and PDP's ProScan. In addition, the test has low test-retest reliability, meaning that individuals are likely to get different results between testing instances.

Although the Enneagram Personality Test may be valuable as a fun, team-building exercise, it may not be truly useful in helping employees understand their true strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and ideal communication styles. Because the test results are not related to job performance, applying them to hiring or retention strategies may not be valuable. In other words, the test's weaknesses limit its utility for application to modern company workplace contexts.

DiSC Personality Profiles

The DiSC Personality Profile tool is another common personality assessment used to help employees understand their teammates. It was based on the DiSC emotional and behavioral theory proposed in 1928 by William Moulton Marston. The assessment became popular worldwide in business, both as a tool to promote self-awareness and a tool for evaluating potential job candidates.


Unfortunately, the DiSC Personality Profile assessments lack scientific rigor. While some studies have found that DiSC appears to have good internal consistency—one indicator of reliability—there is little evidence to show that it is valid. In other words, it’s not clear that the personality categories it alleges to measure are meaningful to predicting job performance. These limitations of the test may reduce its utility for companies among other considerations.

PI Behavioral Assessments

The Predictive Index (PI) Behavioral assessment is a proprietary measure used by businesses to help understand how potential employees would fit in a position. The assessment is similar to PDP's ProScan in that it asks test takers to select from a list of adjectives that describe themselves, but participants can choose as many or as few words as they like.

The ability of the participant to skip over a word in the PI assessment may skew the results as opposed to PDP’s case where all adjectives must be rated. The method of rating an adjective differs as well—PI only requires a checkmark versus PDP’s 5-point Likert scale. The Likert scale is the most common way to measure attitudes, perceptions, and opinions with greater insight than a simple “yes” or “no.” Rather than a black or white answer, respondents have five options available to distinguish the intensity with which they agree with a statement. As a result, PDP surveys can take into account complexities that comprise the “gray area” (for example: most people are not purely extroverted or introverted, there’s a mix).

See what other differences between Predictive Index and PDP behavioral assessments exist that might impact their place in your organization.

Big Five Personality Tests

The Big Five personality test is a proposed taxonomy of personality traits. It’s one of the most widely used taxonomies for understanding personality in current psychological science and is well-validated by numerous studies. The Big Five model also has been useful for helping understand how personality can be related to health and mental health.

Big-5editedWhile personality tests that use the Big Five model are useful for understanding personality from a psychological point of view, it’s not clear that they can be usefully applied to work contexts. It wasn’t designed specifically to predict job performance or help recruiters find ideal candidates. In one study of over 250 salespeople, it was found that self-efficacy was a better predictor of job performance than the Big 5 test. The personality traits measured are too general to be applied to specific roles.

In contrast, PDP Global’s assessments were designed specifically for application in a work context. Especially in the case of hiring, the JobScan module benchmarks the desired traits for a particular position, which the hiring professional can then compare individual applicant ProScan results to.

Behavioral Assessments Help You Understand Your People

The reason why many people are skeptical of the ability of a behavioral assessment to aid in finding and retaining qualified people is because several popular tests on the market are not structured or scientifically supported for that application. But, the right behavioral assessment can offer you something powerful—the ability to build cooperative, productive teams.

PDP’s surveys are objective and can be used for the hiring/screening and selection process; not all other tools can say this. The same traits and metrics used for hiring are the same used for managing, the same used for team building, and the same used for analyzing the organization’s culture. Other competitors deploy a multitude of tests to address the suite of applications that PDP addresses with its behavioral assessment. With PDP, you have a common, consistent language for quantifying and identifying your people.

Each of PDP Global’s suite of behavior assessments has been rigorously constructed and statistically validated using working adults, not students, as the test group. PDP ProScans have also been battle-tested: over 5,000,000 surveys have been taken to date with a 98% accuracy rating and they create measurable returns on investment for a wide variety of organizations across 23 countries.

PDP Global is your proven management system for selection, motivation, and retention. 

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