“Grow where you’re planted.”

It’s a lovely proverb; very uplifting—if you’re a weed. Humans, however, have a free will, and growing where we’re planted isn’t always practical, depending on our natural style. Oh, sure, if we’re the crabgrass type, we can pretty much grow anywhere. But those of us who are more like azaleas are certainly not going to bloom in the desert!


That’s why the natural vs. adaptive style analysis available in the AHS sales hiring pre employment test is a valuable tool for determining whether an applicant will or will not be a good salesman who will fit well with your sales team. As we’ve discussed before, administering a DISC assessment is a good way to identify the best candidates by singling out the high D and I (Drive and Influence) qualities in the potential salesmen.


To one degree or other, all of us have each of the components measured on the DISC assessment, and we’re all generally higher on two of the characteristics than the other two. The thing is, different sets of questions on the DISC assessment reveal that most people actually demonstrate two distinct styles. Their Natural style is their essential self; it’s what they say and do spontaneously when they’re in their natural element. Their Adaptive style is what they say and do when they stop and think about what they should say and do.


In an ideal world, everyone would have the same chart for both their natural and adaptive styles. Unfortunately, this is the real world, and many of us find ourselves in work situations where our natural style just doesn’t cut it. That’s when we modify our behavior so that we are actually more conscious of the way we approach other people and situations. We’re out of our comfort zone, so we have to think about how we respond, rather than just react. In sales, the more distance between the high D and high I on the adaptive and natural charts, the more likely a salesman is to be stressed out on the job.


For example, when high S people find themselves in a high D environment like sales, they may need to shift some of their natural behaviors to accommodate the expectations of the workplace. If their D factor is too low, they feel completely out of their comfort zone, and their efforts to adapt their style to respond appropriately to the expectations and demands of their environment will cause them a great deal of stress. Those are the azaleas in the desert. Not hiring them would actually be a kindness.


The objective of administering the DISC assessment to screen all applicants is to identify candidates’ natural inclinations so that there will be less need for them to make uncomfortable, stressful adaptations. Although there are some talented individuals who can assume different persona for different occasions, most of us would prefer not to go there.


When you have candidates who show high D and I levels on both the natural style and adaptive style levels of the DISC assessment, you can be sure that these people will be good interview candidates. One exception might be applicants who are just out of college. Since they have never been required to adapt to any workplace situations, their adaptive style score will probably be unreliable, so pay more attention to their natural style score.