What are Hogan Assessments? Details on HPI, HDS and MVPI

Hogan Assessments …(for a German version of  this text in video format, please scroll to the end of this post or simply click here). OK, first things first…

what are Hogan Assessments?

Hogan Assessments are a proven, in science based personality assessment to assess behaviour.

Why is this important?

Well, to put it with the words of Dr. Robert Hogan himself

People are the most dangerous and consequential forces on earth. Shouldn’t we know something about them?

or to put it a bit less abstract:

When we recruit people within an organisational context we want to find the right candidates that match our companies values and who are going to succeed and help us to bring our companies to the next level of success.

Why Personality Assessments anyways?

Hogan Assessments provide tools to understand people's strengths, weaknesses and values. Simply put, Hogan Assessments predict performance!

OK, I guess this is a tough statement and might need a bit more explanation of how and why. In the following I will go into a bit more context of how Hogan Assessments work and what the benefits are.

When we say Hogan Assessments predict performance we mean we look at three main categories:

  • Values: all the things that are relevant and important to a person
  • Strengths: characteristics that make a person successful
  • Risks:derailers that could risk a person's career success or have negative impact on a company's success when risky decision making takes place

When we look at the values we look at a person’s identity. This means we look at WHO is this person. A person’s inner world. We look at the core drivers for this person. What does this person motivate? Where does this person thrive? Which (organisational) environment is best suitable for this person? This way we can figure out in which organisational culture a person will be most happy and therefore will be most likely be performing at higher levels and are less likely to leave the company.

However, in contrast, when measuring behaviour (Strengths and Risks) we take a look at a person’s reputation.

Reputation  – what is it and why is it relevant?

There are various reasons why we do this.

  1. It’s really hard to determine who a person really is in terms of behaviour.
  2. When identity means how you see yourself and reputation means how others see you it will be way more interesting and relevant for you to get a clue about how others precept you.
  3. Probably most importantly though – no one really cares who you think you are. You can believe that you are the greatest human being on earth but if everyone else doesn’t agree with that you won’t succeed. To put it short: What other people think of you, your reputation, predicts how successful you are most likely to be. And not who you think you are. (And let’s be frank – we are not always totally honest to ourselves when we think about ourselves, are we?)

Dr. Robert Hogan has framed it like this:

“People hire us, fire us, marry us, loan us money, and otherwise support us based on our reputations.” 

Robert Hogan, PhD, from Personality and the Fate of Organisations

So, how does the Hogan Assessment manage to show someone’s reputation when it’s a self-assessment?

Good question! So, when answering a Hogan Assessment you are going to answer questions about yourself – done by yourself. This means you are going to answer identity based questions (yes, I know we said before it’s not that relevant for behaviour, only for values). But – and this is the clue – these identity based answers do predict reputation pretty reliable. (Everyone already confused?) 

For everyone who is still thinking about it I’ll get into a bit more detail here on how to build valid and reliable measures of reputation based on self-assessments:

So, the Drs. Hogan have collected sample items to match the statements asked in the Hogan questionnaires. These adjectives were used for empirical studies where they asked close peers like family members, friends etc. on how they would describe the person who has just answered the questionnaire. It has been found that there is a correlation between the answers the person gave in the self-assessment and the answers people who know this person very well gave to describe this person’s behaviour. This technique of empirical proving and matching answers has been improved over the years continuously. This is how Hogan could create an amazing, valid and reliable tool to predict a person’s success, based on a person’s behaviour and reputation.

OK, let’s go ahead and look into the behavioural parts into a bit more detail.

As already mentioned above reputation is measured within two areas:

  • Strengths: characteristics that make a person successful
  • Risks: derailers that could risk a person's career success or have negative impact on a company's success when risky decision making takes place

We can put short “Bright Side” for the Strengths and “Dark Side” for the Risks.

Bright Side or Strengths 

These bright side personality traits are characteristics a person is most likely to show in normal situations and that make this person successful. Normal situations shall be defined as every day life. Nothing that makes us feel uncomfortable but rather everything totally within our comfort zone. It’s our autopilot behaviour where we just function – without further thinking about what we are doing. Short, our normal behaviour.

It simply describes how we are at our best. This best behaviour or strengths  are measured with the Hogan Personality Inventoryor short HPI.

We assume that people differ in their knowledge, skills, abilities and other things (KSAO). Everyone is unique. Personality as a phrase is pretty catchy thing. However, there is no existing overall agreed definition for it. I guess this shows how complex the whole thing is. Therefore I assume we go with Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, former CEO of Hogan Assessments, definition of personality as

“a person’s probability to do something”

(you can watch the whole video “The Science of Personality” here).

Assessing normal personality gives you “valuable insight into how people work, how they lead and how successful they are going to be”. This can help you to hire the right candidates, to develop strong leaders and build efficient teams.

The HPI does measure 7 sales that contain various sub scales. These scales are based on the Big 5 or Five-Factor-Model (FFM). The Big 5 or FFM contains the five most common used traits to describe a person’s personality. It’s the widely most used and accepted model. The Big 5 traits can be easily remembered with the acronym OCEAN for Openness for new experiences, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

The seven HPI scales are:

  • Adjustment measuring stress-tolerance, resilience, optimism and composure
  • Ambition measuring competitive drive, perceived energy and goal-orientation
  • Sociability measuring social energy, communication frequency and relationship-building
  • Interpersonal Sensitivity measuring tact, communication style and relationship-maintenance skill
  • Prudence measuring detail-orientation, organisational skills and dependability
  • Inquisitive measuring idea-orientation, level of curiosity and openness to new ideas
  • Learning Approach measurinh learning style, propensity to seek new information and stay up- to-date


Dark Side or Risky Behaviour

Another major reason why I use Hogan Assessments and why you should, too, is the assessment of the dark side. Hogan’s Development Survey or HDS  is the only personality assessment that identifies derailers, the Dark Side.

So, what exactly are dark side personality and derailers in this context?

A derailer is a behaviour that gets in our way, that hinders our progress and makes us less successful or even unsuccessful. Therefore it’s important to be aware of potential derailers and do something about them. It’s not that various strengths could simply make up for a derailer. This is not how it works. It’s more likely to be the other way round – one derailer can destroy what various strengths make up for.

In the worst case derailers can costs careers or even company success. The financial crises is a pretty decent example of what can happen when the dark side or derailers take over. Ruthless, risky and selfish decision making can have massive impacts on whole organisations. It can even have implications for the wider economy. Just look at what happened in the financial crises after a couple of banks collapsed and we went into a recession? Not to mention the trust and reputation whole companies, industries and governments have lost.

Why you might argue that the financial crises has been an outlier and stuff like this usually doesn’t happen on a regular basis I will give you a couple of other examples why the dark side matters.

I guess by now we all know that leadership is important and that

people leave managers, not companies.

There is a nice article about this phenomena on Forbes, which I’ve linked here for you (that you can read after finishing my blog post ;-)). When we have a look on further research around this topic we will find that the share of Psychopaths is above average in management positions. KPMG for example has found that 1 in 10 managers has psychopathic tendencies. Jens Hoffmann stated in an interview with Zeit that people with narcissistic or psychopathic personality are three to four times more often to be found in positions that include power than in the normal average population. It’s assumed that roughly four percent of the population are Narcissists and roughly one to two percent are Psychopaths. The share of those in leadership positions sums up to roughly six percent! Don’t think this is a massive number? Well, just break it into absolute numbers and you’ll be shocked!

Do you still think it’s only a phenomena of the financial industry?

So, does this means it’s all bad? No, it’s important to be aware and to assess dark side behaviour but it’s not all bad!

The bright side of dark side behaviour

So, how does it happen that the share of dark side behaviour and tendencies even to the extremes of Psychopathy and Narcissism do add up in leadership positions? Well, the answer is pretty straight forward. Dark side behaviours are pretty often overused strengths!

Yes, you heard right. It’s strengths and behaviour that actually predicts performance – but when we talk about dark side things got kind of out of control.

People who are for example extremely confident, who are not afraid to take risks or capable to push through unpopular decisions make pretty often great managers and great performers. Pretty often in business we are looking for exactly that type of person who exceeds our performance standards, who hits targets etc. We even pretty often demand for competitive and ruthless behaviour. For example when we  rather go for a quick fix in sales without assessing the clients needs etc. by rewarding hardcore closers with incentives.

In times of low margins, discount battles and extreme competition we need people who are extremely stress resistant and to fight ruthlessly for the deal, the market share etc.

In regards to Hogan there are two things to be mentioned:

  1. We are talking about a workplace or occupational setting. Therefore we do not assess maladaptive behaviour as we would do in a clinical context.
  2. Another thing to mention is that we are generally not talking about right or wrong when talking about personality but more talking about a suitability for a role, position, responsibility.

OK, but you now might still ask why would we even select out risky behaviour or need to pay attention to derailers if there are actually so many performance benefits attached to.

Well, as it’s with everything too much is barely a great choice. Cake for example is great, right? Too much of it will put your health at risk. In context of personality this means that overly used strengths can turn into weaknesses.

Please be aware though that in reality it’s not always a black and white kinda thing. It’s not like this. There are a couple of shades of grey in between. The most important bit why we should assess dark side personality

“is to recognise and mitigate performance risks before they become a problem”(Hogan).

OK, after we have talked about the why it’s now time to have a closer look at Hogan’s Development Survey.

Hogan Development Survey (HDS) – assessing Dark Side behaviour 

As we said before that the HPI is assessing a person’s normal behaviour the HDS is assessing a person’s behaviour under pressure. When the stress levels are up and we are no longer acting on autopilot but are out of our comfort zones.  Our strengths can then be overused and can potentially damage a person’s and / or company’s reputation, derail career success or disrupt relationships.

The HDS measures 11 scales with various sub scales. The 11 scales will be explained in a bit more detail in the following.

  • Excitable measures working with passion and enthusiasm, but also being easily frustrated, moody, irritable, and inclined to give up on projects and people.
  • Skeptical measures being alert for signs of deceptive behavior in others and taking action when it is detected.
  • Cautious measures risk aversion, fear of failure, and avoiding criticism.
  • Reserved measures seeming tough, aloof, remote, and unconcerned with the feelings of others.
  • Leisurely measures appearing to be friendly and cooperative, but actually following one’s own agenda and quietly, but stubbornly resisting those of others.
  • Bold measures seeming fearless, confident, and self-assured; always expecting to succeed and unable to admit mistakes or learn from experience.
  • Mischievous measures seeming bright, impulsive, adventurous, risk seeking, and limit-testing.
  • Colourful measures seeming gregarious, fun, entertaining, and enjoying being in the spotlight.
  • Imaginative measures seeming innovative, creative, possibly eccentric, and sometimes self-absorbed.
  • Diligent measures being hardworking, detail-oriented, and having high standards of performance for self and others.
  • Dutiful measures being compliant, conforming, and eager to please others.

So, to sum the behavioural part up with the bright and dark side of personality Hogan allows us to assess a person’s reputation i.e. what other people think about this person. We can predict performance by looking at the assessment and predict how a person is most likely to be receipt by others – compared to a norm group.

To round up the assessment a look at a person’s identity and core drivers does provide another great tool for personnel selection as well as within a developmental context.

Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI)

Hogan’s Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI)

“describes personality from the inside – the core goals, values, drivers, and interests that determine what we desire and strive to attain. By assessing values, you can understand what motivates candidates to succeed, and in what type of position, job, and environment they will be the most productive.”

In short with the MVPI we can assess all the things that can determine career satisfaction.

The MVPI consist of 10 scales.

  • Recognition measures responsiveness to attention, approval, and praise
  • Power measures desire for success, accomplishment, status, and control
  • Hedonism measures orientation for fun, pleasure, and enjoyment
  • Altruistic measures desire to help others and contribute to society
  • Affiliation measures enjoyment and preference for social interaction
  • Tradition measures dedication to strong personal beliefs
  • Security measures need for predictability, structure, and order
  • Commerce measures interest in money, profits, investment, and business opportunities
  • Aesthetics measure need for self-expression, concern over look, feel, and design of work products
  • Science measures interest in knowledge, research, technology, and data

Gallup states in their study “Why People Change Jobs”that 20% of all employees change jobs because of a lacking fit to their role.

Mismatches of person and organisation can be caused by not sharing the same values, goals, motives and preferences. These mismatches can lead to decreased productivity levels, unsatisfied employees, negative workplace climate, unhappiness and many other things. In the long run it can even lead to employee turnover.

The Harvard Business Review states that even as much as 80% of employee turnover is caused by poor hiring decisions. HRzone shows that these poor hiring decisions can be immensely costly:

“Hiring guru Bradford Smart estimates the cost of a ‘mis-hire’ to be anywhere from four times annual salary for supervisors all the way up to 15 times annual salary for vice presidents and executives.”

What do I use Hogan Assessments for? 

OK, so we already mentioned that turnover and poor hiring decisions is a big thing. And this leads us to the first area where Hogan can add a lot of value: making informed hiring decisions!

With it’s assessments of three different parts of personality

  1. bright side behaviour
  2. dark side behaviour as well as
  3. motives, values, preferences

Hogan Assessments are not only great to make informed hiring decisions but to also use it as a great development and leadership tool.

Use of Hogan Assessments in a Personnel Selection and Talent Acquisition context 

The main reason to use Hogan Assessments in this context is to make informed hiring decisions.This could be selecting out high risky behaviour and therefore reduce derailment and negative impact in and on the organisation. As well as pre-selection in a context of volume recruitment to reduce the cost of CV screening and interviewing

Based on the assessments described before (HPI, HDS, MVPI) there are different product or report options one can use – depending on the recruitment need. Those options are categorised under the product category HoganSELECT and contain the following:

  • High Potential Report identifies candidates most likely to help meet the future leadership needs of your company.
  • EQ Report assesses emotional intelligence, the ability to identify and manage your own and others’ emotions.
  • Fit Report for high-volume recruitment.
  • Basis Report for candidate and job and organisation fit.
  • Express Report is an off-the-shelf solution that identifies each candidate as high, moderate or low fit for the job.
  • Advantage Reportis another, quick-to-be-taken off-the-shelf hiring solution that measures general employability.
  • Safety Reportevaluates whether the candidate is suited for employment in a safety-critical work environment.

Use of Hogan Assessments in a developmental context 

The assessments used within developmental context are bundled in the HoganDEVELOP products. The main focus for this product category is to grow you key talent.

Products or reports contain for example:

  • Hogan Insight Seriesprovides organizations with scientifically validated information about an individual’s strengths, performance risks, and core values.
  • Hogan Management Focus Report helps first-time managers and supervisors understand how their personality characteristics may influence their managerial approach.
  • Career Report describes how an individual will act in various business circumstances, identifies strengths and shortcomings, and includes detailed developmental tips on how to manage his/her career.
  • EQ Report assesses emotional intelligence, the ability to identify and manage your own and others’ emotions.
  • Compass Report outlines the occupational significance of a person’s core values and provides effective career planning information.

Use of Hogan Assessments in a leadership development context 

HoganLEAD has contains different products to help you to take your leadership  to the next level.

  • Potential Report outlines an individual’s day-to-day leadership style, including behavioural descriptions, leadership competencies, and comprehensive development recommendations.
  • Challenge Report describes a leader’s characteristic way of interpreting the world and treating subordinates while under stress and pressure.
  • Values Report explores a person’s core values and goals that ultimately drive a leader’s behaviour, aspirations and expectations about life.
  • Coaching Report is a self-guided, comprehensive development planning tool for individual leadership development. The Coaching Report integrates the information from the Potential, Challenge, and Values reports into a five-step planning process.
  • High Potential is intended to help the emergent leader become more effective and the effective leader be more emergent, resulting in maximized leadership potential.

The reports listed are a non complete list of all available reports and products. There are plenty more available  to ensure a great fit for your needs.

If you are still not sure whether Hogan Assessments  is the right tool to help you
  • make informed hiring decisions
  • develop key talent
  • take your leadership to the next level

than I have a couple of more reasons for you why I use Hogan Assessments and why you should too 🙂

  • Dr. Hogan and Dr. Hogan are very well known contributors to scientific research in the areas of occupational psychology and personality
Hogan Assessments
  • are the leading tool for many global top player
  • are great talent management tools that are usable through the whole employee lifecycle that gives you great flexibility
  • are internationally usable and continuously improved

Ready for your very own Hogan Assessment experience? Then get in touch with for a free consultation with Stephanie. If your are not quite sure yet, you can check out the offered services here.

As mentioned above here are the German video versions – filmed while travelling so please excuse the suitcase 🙂

Hier also die deutschen Versionen über Hogan Assessments:

Was sind Hogan Assessments? Teil 1/3 Intro & Vorstellung Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)

Was sind Hogan Assessments? Teil 2/3 Vorstellung Hogan Development Survey (HDS)

Was sind Hogan Assessments? Teil 3/3 Vorstellung Hogan’s Moviteves Values Preferences Inventory (MVPI)

1 Comment

  1. […] the last post ‘What are Hogan Assessments ?‘ we spoke about Hogan Assessments and the details of the three […]

Leave a Comment