The Science Behind Reference Profiles

Reference Profiles provide a rough description of a person’s PI Behavioral Assessment (BA) scores. Reference Profiles make it easier to understand and discuss PI Behavioral Assessment (BA) results, which improves engagement, team function, employee development, and selection decisions.

The Reference Profiles are not substitutes for the Factor scores and do not represent a validated output on which decisions should be based. Reference profiles can help communicate the results of the PI Behavioral Assessment, but they are not used for match score calculations, and they should not be used to make hiring decisions.

What is a Reference Profile?

Reference Profiles describe the pattern of a person’s PI Behavioral Assessment primary Factor scores (Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, Formality; or Factors A-D). Specific factors and patterns represent the true power of the BA, but Reference Profiles are descriptive, memorable, and helpful general categories for 17 different types of behavioral configurations. There are a total of 17 Reference Profiles, each of which is shown in the images below.

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Different Reference Profiles represent different score groupings. For example, Altruists have high Extraversion and low Patience, moderate-to-low Dominance, and moderate-to-high Formality.

For more information on the various reference profiles and management tools, click here.

The four Reference Profile groups

Each Reference Profile belongs to one of four groups: Analytical, Social, Stabilizing, or Persistent. While Reference Profiles are very specific, the groups represent broad categories of workplace behavior.

The five reference profiles in the Analytical group are typically more dominant than extraverted and have a low amount of patience. They’re marked by a gear icon.

The six reference profiles in the Social group are typically highly extraverted and are marked with a hexagon in their icon.

The four reference profiles in the Stabilizing group are typically less dominant and extraverted while having a high amount of patience and formality. They’re marked by a triangle shaped icon.

The two reference profiles in the Persistent group are typically more dominant than extraverted with a high amount of patience. They’re marked by a circle-shaped icon. 

How are Reference Profiles determined?

When you take the PI Behavioral Assessment, your results are compared to an ‘ideal’ version of each Reference Profile. The Reference Profile that most closely matches your personality traits is selected.

Sometimes patterns look very similar to each other, but have different Reference Profiles. Since Reference Profiles are based on the Euclidean distance between the placement of respondents’ factors from the coordinates of each standardized Reference Profile, it is inevitable that some patterns will be right “on the line” between two different Reference Profiles. There’s no need to worry if this happens: The general behavioral characteristics of each reference profile still apply. Reference profiles are broad categories and not specific patterns.

Factor configurations

Some people worry when a BA result has an extreme pattern, with traits on the far end of each scale. More extreme patterns aren’t worse. If a person’s personality traits are towards the far ends of the scale, it just means those traits are more clearly and consistently expressed. If a person’s personality traits are all towards the midpoint, they tend to be more adaptable.

Do certain Reference Profiles tend to succeed in certain jobs?

Unlike the PI Behavioral Assessment Factor scores, reference profiles are not valid for hiring, but certain Factors may be commonly related to performance for a given job role. This means that some reference profiles are commonly sought out for certain roles.

That said, the same role might have different behavioral requirements depending on the company or the work environment. It’s also true that several profiles may be successful in the same role. As a result, we don’t recommenda “one-size-fits-all” approach, where you only allow a certain Reference Profile for a role.

Understanding Reference Profiles

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