4 Personality Assessments for the Executive Assistant

I’ll admit it.

I’m a personality assessment junkie.

I think it’s because I find it difficult to relate to people. But if I know what box they fit in, then I have an idea of what they are about and how to change my own behavior to better accommodate the people in my life.

I’m also really detailed oriented. So if I can “read up on you” because I know what personality type you are, then I feel like I know you better and you become more approachable to me.

Plus I love analyzing myself as well. As the saying goes, “know thyself.”

The DISC Assessment

This is one of the most basic assessments and the most widely applicable to business and life. In fact, even my husband (who is not in real estate) can identify someone’s DISC profile after interacting with them.

You can purchase The Abelson Group DISC Assessment, which is the one I recommend. The depth and accuracy of the report you receive is well worth the cost. Check with your Keller Williams Market Center. Some offices have a subscription paid for by the office which allows you to take the test for free.

What I like about this assessment is that I can size someone up pretty quickly since there’s four very distinct categories.

Here’s how I remember what each one stands for:

  • D – Driver: to-the-point, aggressive (although you should be careful to note that this term should not be interpreted negatively), bold, unafraid
  • I – Influencer: loves to talk and tell stories, doesn’t like silence, energetic, dramatic
  • S – Steady/Stable: doesn’t like change or conflict, prefers to listen, won’t speak up unless asked for an opinion, patient, friendly
  • C – Compliant: perfectionist, concerned with doing things the right way, methodical, analytical, mature

Knowing that I have teammates who are predominately “I” in their behavior, I try not to overwhelm them with details, and I try to make my explanation of things simple.

According to the assessment, I am a combination of CS. (This explains my love of analyzing personality assessments!)

AVA – Activity Vector Analysis

To administer an AVA, you need to have attended the Keller Williams Recruit Select class. If your lead agent has attended, then he can request that his team members take the assessment by contacting the Market Center staff.

Honestly, this is most simple assessment to take. It consists simply of writing a paragraph about yourself and then choosing words that you would use to describe yourself.

What you get back though, is page after page describing who you are and what you are about.

A necessary part of the process is validating that the assessment is correct. A KW team leader can do this for you, or you can do it with someone who has attended the Recruit Select class.

This assessment pops back a five-digit number. Each number represents a different area and where you fall on the scale of 1-10 in that area.

The five areas are assertiveness, sociability, calmness, conformity, and conscious restraint.

What I learned most about myself by taking this assessment is that I want things done right now, and I want them to be perfect. I knew that I struggled with feeling overwhelmed when I had a lot of things on my plate. And now I know that the only person creating those negative feeling inside myself is me. There is no harsher critic of me than myself. I can be my own worst enemy. And now that I know this about myself, I can take a step back and prevent myself from getting too worked up. I can take steps to organize my work and my mind that help guide me through my day in a more calm manner.

In case you want to know the number, my AVA is 731*9*-7. Once you learn how to read an AVA, the numbers and asterisks will make sense to you.

If you haven’t already, you MUST take the Recruit Select class. As an executive assistant, one of your duties should be to help grow the team and keep an eye out for talented people to join your team. When you take this class, you will know what talent looks like AND you will have a better understanding of yourself and your existing team.

**Update** At Family Reunion 2016, Keller Williams announced a new assessment that they are calling KPA (Keller Personality Assessment). It looks like this new assessment will take the place of both the DISC and the AVA as a hiring and management tool for teams.

Strengths Finder 2.0

Buy this book by Tom Rath and you’ll be given a code to go online and take the assessment. There are 34 strengths and the assessment tells you what your top five are.

I like this assessment because it also tells you how to work with people whose strengths are different than yours.

For example, my top strength is Responsibility. The author’s suggestion for others who work with me is this:

“This person defines himself by his ability to live up to his commitments. It will be intensely frustrating for him to work with people who don’t.”

And for me, that is 100% true.

This book is full of nuggets that you will learn about yourself and about those you work with.

I highly recommend you buy these books for your entire team and have everyone take the assessment and compare notes on the results. Just like the other assessments, you’ll learn what makes everyone tick and how you can best work with each other.

In case you were wondering, my top five strengths are

  • Responsibility
  • Learner
  • Intellection
  • Input
  • Adaptability

MBTI – Myers Briggs Type Indicator

You can take this assessment for free at 16personalities.com. As the website name indicates, the MBTI breaks out 16 personality types based on four dichotomies according to Carl Jung: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking.

This one is more for fun than anything else. There are questions about its validity since it seems the test can be retaken, and the results could come out differently depending on whose version of the test you take.

However, I thought that when I took the test using the website above, the results seemed true for myself. There are pages and pages of reports about how you see the world according to your type. I thought the results were insightful.

My results came out INTJ: “Architect – Imaginative and strategic thinkers, with a plan for everything.” Yeah, that describes me pretty well!

3 Reasons to Use Personality Assessments

For Yourself

Understanding why you do the things you do can be so freeing. You can let go of the question, “Why do I act that way?” because you will already know the answer. In knowing why, you can recognize how to improve your situation.

For example, if you know you are the type of person who gets overwhelmed by being around too many people all at once, you can avoid those situations, or you can at least prepare mentally. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll spend an hour or two with these people, and then you’ll recharge by going home and spending the evening with your books. (Or, you can do what I do and pre-game by having an alcoholic drink or two, smiling my way through a family event, and then crashing into bed for the night. I know it’s probably not the healthiest choice, but I know it works!)

For Your Team

It’s also liberating to understand why your teammates do the things they do. When the sales agents on my team forget to fill out a form correctly, I don’t get mad at them anymore. I recognize that they are not detail-oriented like myself, and instead I thank them for making sales and giving me job security. If they didn’t make messes, they wouldn’t need to hire someone like myself to clean them up!

As a Hiring Tool

For the DISC and AVA, Keller Williams has indicated which results are the ideal depending on what position you are hiring. I’ll go into those in a future post, but for now I want to say that these assessments are invaluable for hiring. You get to know quite a bit about a person before they actually work on your team. And while it’s suggested that the personality assessment should only account for 50% of the hiring decision, I find that starting the hiring process with these assessments makes the rest of the job of finding the right person that much easier.

Speaking the Language

Once you get to know these assessments, you’ll find yourself wondering what other people are. When I run into a top performer, I ask them if they’ve taken any of these assessments. It’s fascinating to me when someone is successful outside of what would be considered the “ideal profile” of someone in their position.

Using the DISC assessment as an example, a high C behavior would not normally be the ideal real estate salesperson due to their introverted or task-oriented behavior. And yet there are agents with this behavior profile who are succeeding at high levels. They’ve discovered a system that works for them. As a high C behavior myself, I love work-arounds and life hacks. In my mind, they’ve hacked the system and succeeded despite what might be considered a limitation.

So if you go to an event and someone asks you what your AVA or DISC profile is, and then proceeds to talk to you about how their low vector three has them stressed out over waiting in line at the airport, you’ll know what they mean.

Assess Yourself!

Go ahead…take the assessments. You’ll be glad you did. And stay tuned for future posts about how I specifically use the DISC and AVA in my job as an Executive Assistant.


Many times I’ve been asked by agents and assistants to review a DISC or AVA for a candidate they are considering hiring. I’m happy to offer my opinion based on my experience. If you’d like my help, send me an email: egilbert@kw.com



  1. Melanie

    How does someone ‘Validate’ the AVA with a recruit? Do you just go over the results with them or are you asking questions to validate the results?

  2. Liz Polk

    Did you take the KPA yet??

    1. Elizabeth (Post author)

      I have! And I plan to do a post about it soon. The Career Visioning class is coming to my area in July so I’ll do an update on this after I attend the class.

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