A Guide to the McQuaig Word Survey: Examples & Tips
Updated July 21, 2023
The McQuaig Word Survey is a type of personality assessment.
Survey responses are used to measure a candidate’s key personality traits and compare these with how they are currently behaving in the workplace.
The results from the survey indicate whether a candidate is behaving naturally in their current role, or whether they are making changes to their behaviour.
This article will help you pass the McQuaig Word Survey assessment test by giving you all the tools and practice questions you will need.
The McQuaig Word Survey, sometimes referred to as the McQuaig Institute Word Survey, is a personality assessment tool used by hiring managers and recruiters as part of the hiring process.
The survey is based on the work of Jack McQuaig, a pioneer in the field of personality profiling and talent assessments.
This UK-established DISC-style survey has been used by recruiting employers all over the world for more than 40 years.
DISC-style surveys are designed to measure four key personality characteristics: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance.
With this in mind, the McQuaig Word Survey is used to learn more about a prospective employee’s personality.
The survey is registered with the British Psychological Society and reviewed by the Psychological Testing Center.
It is trusted by major employers, including Caffè Nero, Chanel, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Interstate Hotels.
When taking the survey, the responses that you give will help the recruiter learn more about:
- How you behave in your current job role
- How you are likely to behave at work in the future
- How they can enhance and improve the interview process to ensure a high-quality hiring decision
- The best ways for them to recruit, develop and retain high-quality staff for their organisation
Many different employers use this survey, so you might be asked to complete it on more than one occasion during the course of your career.
Each employer has its own policy on contacting prospective employees, but if you are unable to demonstrate the skills an employer is looking for, you may not receive any further correspondence from them.
The McQuaig Word Survey is not a pass/fail assessment, so not hearing back does not mean you have failed the survey.
In most cases, it simply means that you do not have the skill set the employer is looking for.
Try not to be discouraged, and remember to ask for feedback on your survey report.
Although the McQuaig Word Survey can be administered in person, you will usually be asked to complete it online.
Most people take up to a maximum of 20 minutes to complete the survey, although it is not a timed test and there is no maximum timeframe within which you must complete it.
The format of this survey is different to many other types of tests or assessments.
Rather than answering questions, you will be required to consider several different groups of words and decide which words most closely match your behaviour at work.
The survey is made up of two collections of words. Each collection is split into 21 groups and each group is made up of four words. There are a total of 42 groups to work through.
For each group, you will be asked to decide how relevant the words are to you.
For the first collection, you will need to identify how you believe other people perceive you.
For the second collection, you will need to indicate how you perceive yourself.
When working through the second collection, you will not be able to refer back to your answers from the first collection, so it is important to respond honestly throughout all parts of the survey.
These McQuaig Word Survey test questions are abridged versions of the McQuaig Word Survey.
It is designed to give you an idea of how the survey is presented, and help you think about how you might respond.
Mark each of the following groups of words as A, B, C or D, according to how you believe other people would describe your behaviour in the workplace.
A = Most like you
D = Least like you
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Head-strong ___||Dependable ___||Relaxed ___|
|Enthusiastic ___||Calm under pressure ___||Safety conscious ___|
|Trustworthy ___||Cautious ___||Determined ___|
|Easily swayed ___||Persistent ___||People-person ___|
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Head-strong _D_||Dependable _A_||Relaxed _D_|
|Enthusiastic _B_||Calm under pressure _C_||Safety conscious _A_|
|Trustworthy _A_||Cautious _B_||Determined _B_|
|Easily swayed _C_||Persistent _D_||People-person _C_|
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3|
|Generous ___||Gets things done ___||Motivator of others ___|
|Driven ___||Builds friendships quickly ___||Steady ___|
|Socially gifted ___||Reliable ___||Appreciative ___|
|Restful ___||Compliant ___||Fearless ___|
This survey is not scored in the same way as a traditional test. There is no set score to pass or fail.
Instead, your McQuaig Word Survey answers are analyzed and divided into 10 broad sections, which can be split into three main categories.
Within your results from the survey, your profile is presented as a graphical summary.
McQuaig Word Survey profiles offers an illustration of temperament and behavioural patterns, including natural behaviour styles and any changes made to behaviour as a result of a current role or work environment.
The three main categories are expanded upon below.
This category covers your aptitude for leadership, selling style/strategy and overall strengths and weaknesses.
It also considers whether the behaviours needed for your work environment come naturally to your personality type. Data from this category is used to consider any areas where you might need extra support or training.
This section shows how your personality attributes transfer into positive and negative factors, including behavioural patterns and your general temperament.
In addition, it helps the recruiter to come up with interview questions that will help them to learn more about your past work experience and high-scoring personality traits.
This category covers your general performance and personality attributes.
It helps the recruiter to learn more about your approach to learning, key motivators and your team-working skills.
It also helps them to determine which types of work environment you are best suited to and which work-based situations lead you to work outside of your comfort zone.
The prospective employer will use your survey results to make a decision on whether you would be a good fit for the job role and the organization overall.
They may also use them as part of your induction, training or development programme.
Your McQuaig Word Survey report is a useful tool for your personal development, so you should always ask to receive a copy.
The McQuaig Word Survey: How to Prepare
As there are no right or wrong McQuaig Word Survey answers, it is not possible to revise for the McQuaig Word Survey.
However, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the survey and become familiar with the format, leading to a less stressful experience and more accurate results.
If you have been asked to take the McQuaig Word Survey, here are some tips and important points to remember.
This is a survey, not a test, so there are no right or wrong answers.
The purpose of the survey is to collect information and provide a non-judgemental overview of your personality.
In the full version of the test, you will notice the same words appearing more than once.
You will also see synonyms (similar words) and antonyms (opposite words).
When your results are analyzed, any patterns will be highlighted to the recruiter.
It might seem tempting to answer in a way that makes you look like the ideal candidate, but if you do not answer honestly, this will be obvious in your analyzed results.
It may also lead to you entering a role you are unsuited to and experiencing chronic stress from this misfit.
Unlike other assessments, it is best to trust your gut and give the first answer that springs to mind.
If you do not understand one of the words, you will find a definition list on each page of the survey – just click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen.
Doing a McQuaig Word Survey practice test will help you to become familiar with the format of the test and the type of words you can expect to see.
Knowing what to expect can help you to feel more confident.
If you are searching for McQuaig Word Survey practice test free resources, you can access free and paid-for practice personality tests on websites such as Practice Aptitude Tests, JobTestPrep and Psychometric Success.
Always make sure that you are familiar with what is expected from you before you start completing the online survey.
Completing McQuaig Word Survey sample questions before the day of your actual test is a good way to learn what to expect from the survey instructions.
This survey is not only useful in the hiring stages of recruitment: it is also used to identify training and development needs and also identifying potential for progression.
By taking the survey, you will be letting your prospective employer know more about your personality and way of thinking, making them well-equipped to support and train you in the future.
Consider asking people in your social and work networks for their thoughts on your personality. What words might they use to describe you?
Think back to previous work situations and how you handled them.
For example, when faced with a challenge, did you feel calm about resolving the issue, or did you feel a sense of panic?
When joining a new team, did you feel confident about building up working relationships with your new colleagues, or was this something that you found difficult?
If you have been asked to complete the McQuaig Word Survey, the recruiter has already identified you as having the essential requirements for the job role.
Taking the survey will help them to understand whether you would be a good fit for the team and work environment.
The McQuaig Word Survey is a type of personality assessment.
It is a popular choice for employers all over the world.
The results can be used to make hiring decisions, produce development plans, and identify areas for further training.
It offers an insight into a candidate’s personality traits and behaviours in their current job role.
You cannot pass or fail the McQuaig Word Survey, so it is not possible to revise for it.
That said, there are several things you can do to prepare.
Completing mock surveys will help you to become familiar with the format of the survey, allowing you to feel more confident when it comes to the real thing.
You could also talk to family members and friends to gain insights into your personality and how your behaviours are perceived by others.
You can look at the McQuaig Word Survey website.
There also are many other online resources providing further information and tips on the McQuaig Word Survey.
Psychometric Success offers free resources for anyone who has been asked to take the survey, while a paid-for membership with the JobTestPrep website will help you to prepare for a variety of personality tests including this one.
The McQuaig Word Survey is formatted differently from many other personality assessments.
When taking the survey, you will be presented with two separate collections of words. Each of the collections is divided into 21 groups, with each group being made up of four words.
There are a total of 42 groups to work through.
There is no maximum number of times that you can retake the McQuaig Word Survey, although each individual recruiter may restrict this number.
You may be asked to complete it on several occasions during the course of your career.
There is no set ‘pass’ score for the McQuaig Word Survey.
However, McQuaig products such as the Word Survey are an important part of the recruitment, training and retention processes for many major international employers, including BPP, Caffè Nero, Chanel, Mitie and Perrys.
The McQuaig Word Survey is designed to offer recruiters an insight into a candidate’s main personality traits and how they currently behave in the workplace.
This personality profiling tool provides hiring managers with 10 useful reports.
Your invitation to complete the McQuaig survey will include a deadline date, by which you must fill in and return the survey.
Most candidates need a maximum of 20 minutes to work their way through the entire survey.
You can access free online resources via the Psychometric Success website, including information and tips on completing the McQuaig Word Survey.
There is no pass or fail score for the McQuaig Word Survey.
Your results from the survey will be analyzed to determine whether you are likely to be a good match for a particular job role or organization.
Personality tests like the McQuaig Word Survey are a popular tool used by recruiters. They offer employers plenty of invaluable information for the hiring process and also helps inform training and development plans.
Try not to feel stressed about taking the survey. View it as a way to learn more about your personality, strengths and weaknesses.
Complete paid for or free McQuaig Word tests, and talk to your friends, work colleagues and family to learn more about your personality attributes and characteristics.
Always ask to see a copy of your McQuaig Word Survey results, and discuss your these with the recruiter. Asking for feedback is vital, as it can be used to inform your future development.