Reacting to an Invalid Extended DISC Result
You have received an email notification that your candidate’s result has come back invalid. Now, what are you supposed to do?
There are a number of reasons why Extended DISC® Behavioural Analysis Reports are occasionally classified as unreliable and therefore invalid. Fortunately, they have the strictest internal rules for identifying and not processing further, results that do not carry the reliability required. Some DISC tools never produce an invalid result. A person can blindly select answers or try to ‘cheat’ the system, and a report will still be generated. You need valid and accurate results to make critical people-related decisions.
A strength of the Extended DISC® Assessment is that a result will not be produced if a person has not established a clear answering pattern. The system recognises inconsistent answers and classifies them as ‘Invalid’.
Why Generate an Invalid Result?
The Extended DISC® tool is a behavioural assessment designed to identify a respondent's natural and adjusted behavioural style accurately. The tool does so by analysing a candidate's answering pattern, such as, does the person select at least one DISC style consistently in their answering? If the candidate establishes a clear trend in answering, the system will produce a result. If the system is unable to establish a clear pattern, then an invalid result will occur.
The underlying reason for an invalid profile is that a person did not respond consistently to the 24 questions (48 if you include the sub-questions!). As a result, it is not possible to identify a person's style. However, we do not assume the person has done anything wrong, or something has happened to the FinxS System. An Invalid Profile does not necessarily indicate a problem. One or more of the following things likely happened:
- The candidate was rushing through the questionnaire, interrupted, or unable to focus.
- They may have tried to ‘beat the system’ by producing answers that presented a different behavioural style because they thought that the resulting report would impress or suit the job they are applying for.
- They may not have answered the questionnaire in their native language.
- They may be frustrated in their present situation or be uncertain about their goals.
- They have simply taken too long to answer the questions - looking for some deep and meaningful answer.
In these situations, it is essential to take the appropriate steps in guiding the person to retake the questionnaire to generate accurate results.
Extended DISC Internal Reliability Methods
We may quickly assume an invalid result is a weakness of the system, but it is a strength; it is part of the system's internal validity checks. If the candidate is not consistently identifying with any particular DISC style, then we cannot reliably produce an accurate result. Other instruments may not pay attention to the validity of the results but may provide a report regardless, as long as the person has responded. How confident would we be with those results, and can we trust the product to give us accurate information about a person?
If you use Extended DISC® assessments, there's a good chance you will come across an invalid result. The percentage of invalid results varies by country, but the proportions are usually not high. New Zealand has about a 2.96% rate of invalid results (The 2017 Extended DISC® Validation Report), one of the lowest rates of invalid results globally.
These percentages of invalid profiles can correlate with the stability and general trust between people in an organisation or even a country. If you are working with a group or a business that experiences a lot of dysfunction or conflict, then it would not be unusual to see a higher percentage of invalid results. If a team or organisation has an unusually high number of invalid reports, this is a strong indicator that something is going on.
Using the Extended DISC® assessments allows you to feel more confident in trusting the results. The invalid result message can prevent us from using information that may be inaccurate or misinterpreted.
How to Respond to an Invalid Result
It is essential to note that an invalid result does not indicate a problem. You can simply ask your candidate to wait for 24 - 36 hours from taking the initial assessment and complete the questionnaire again. One of the most common reasons for invalid results is people rushed, were distracted or over-analysed the questions. We strongly recommend to reiterate to the candidate they set aside time where they will not be under time pressure and explain they should pick the questions that first come to mind. In most cases, the second time will produce a valid result.
An invalid result does not consume points from your FinxS account. The candidate can use the same link and access code. However, if you use passwords, you will need to allocate a new password to your candidate. We usually explain to the candidate that the system wasn't able to capture their results, so they will need to go online and re-complete the questionnaire.
The point is that if there was no process for identifying invalid results (like most instruments do not have) the overall validity of the assessment would not be as reliable as it is now. Ultimately the Extended DISC® Assessment is designed to help people make conscious decisions about modifying their behaviours. To do so, we must be able to trust the results. So, the next time you receive an invalid result, you will have the information you need to assist your client.