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How to Prepare for the McQuaig Word Survey in {YEAR}

How to Prepare for the McQuaig Word Survey in 2024

What Is the McQuaig Word Survey?

The McQuaig Word Survey is a tool used by some employees to gain better insight into potential employees.

It is a DISC-style survey and assesses areas such as:

  • Authority
  • Impact
  • Stability
  • Obedience

Established in the UK, the survey has been in use worldwide for over 40 years. It is not a survey that you pass or fail, but an effective way for employers to:

  • See how you would perform as an employee
  • Identify what behaviours they may see from you in the future
  • Develop and improve the interview process
  • Identify ways to recruit, develop and retain employees

As many different companies use the survey, you may find that you need to complete it several times. Depending on the skills that the recruiter is looking for, you may or may not hear back from them.

Please remember that if you do not hear back from a recruiter after taking this survey, it is not because you failed. It may just be that you are not what they are currently looking for.

McQuaig Word Survey - What Is Assessed and How?

The McQuaig Word Survey will produce a report consisting of ten areas. These are:

  1. Personality – Usually presented in a graph format. This section shows your temperament and behavioural patterns. It details your natural style and highlights when you are purposefully making changes to suit your environment – in other words, if you are not being genuine.
  2. Interpretation – This report analyses the assets you may bring to your job role, as well as any areas for development.
  3. Leadership – Regardless of if the role involves leading people or not, the leadership questions will indicate how you would perform given more senior tasks such as delegating and managing a team.
  4. Selling style – Mostly used by those in the sales industries, these questions assess how well you would perform in persuading someone to buy something.
  5. Interviewing questions – These questions look at your behaviour in past job scenarios to determine how you might perform in the future.
  6. Management overview – This is how you perform overall and is more a snapshot or reminder of your personality.
  7. Motivating factors – What your needs and desires are and if they currently being met.
  8. Development and coaching strategies – This tells your potential employer how best to train you and develop your skills.
  9. Developmental learning style – This section is for both you and your employer. It assesses your learning style and what you should do to get the most out of your training.
  10. Team approach – How well you work in a team is assessed here. This report is also used to build efficient teams.

McQuaig Word Survey Practice Test

McQuaig Word Survey - What Is the Test Format?

The survey is almost always online (although it can also be administered in person) and usually takes between 10–20 minutes to complete. The survey is not timed, nor does it have a cut-off.

There are not questions in the traditional sense in this survey. Instead, you will be presented with two collections of 21 groups of four words.

Practice McQuaig Word Survey Test with JobTestPrep

In each group, you need to assess how relevant the words are to you, rating them from 'most descriptive' to 'least descriptive'.

  • The first collection is how you think others perceive you
  • The second is how you perceive yourself

You are to complete the second collection without referring to your answers from the first.

McQuaig Word Survey Example Questions

Here is a shortened example of what the survey looks like, to get you thinking about how you would answer.

Section 1: Rank each of the following groups of words A, B, C, D, according to how others view or describe you.

  • Passionate ___

  • Strong-willed ___

  • Pliable ___

  • Dependable ___

  • Fearless ___

  • Makes friends ___

  • Loyal ___

  • Predictable ___

  • Highly ambitious ___

  • Good-humoured ___

  • Sociable ___

  • Follows the rules ___

Section 2: Rank each of the following groups of words A, B, C, D, according to how you view yourself.

  • Affluent ___

  • Comfortable ___

  • Easy on others ___

  • Driven ___

  • Faithful ___

  • Methodical ___

  • Leader ___

  • Friendly ___

  • Motivates others ___

  • Calm ___

  • Appreciative ___

  • Fearless ___

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Section 1 Example Answer

  • Passionate _C_

  • Strong-willed _A_

  • Pliable _D_

  • Dependable _B_

  • Fearless _D_

  • Makes friends _C_

  • Loyal _A_

  • Predictable _B_

  • Highly ambitious _A_

  • Good-humoured _C_

  • Sociable _B_

  • Follows the rules _D_

Section 2 Example Answer

  • Affluent _A_

  • Comfortable _B_

  • Easy on others _D_

  • Driven _C_

  • Faithful _D_

  • Methodical _A_

  • Leader _C_

  • Friendly _B_

  • Motivates others _B_

  • Calm _A_

  • Appreciative _C_

  • Fearless _D_

How Is the McQuaig Word Survey Scored?

The survey is not scored like a test. There is no pass or fail score.

Instead, the data is analysed and categorised into the following:

  • Understanding – This includes your strengths and weaknesses, leadership ability and sales skills. It also highlights how naturally you behave in your role in comparison with your personality. Here, your manager/recruiter gains insight into areas that may need extra development.

  • Recruiting/Promoting – How your personality translates into positives and negatives. It also offers the recruiter potential interview questions to focus on your high-scoring personality traits.

  • Managing – This includes your teamwork, motivations and learning approaches. It gives the recruiter/manager tips for what environment and roles you will flourish and what will force you to work against your instincts.

Your potential employer will use these results to help decide if you are the right fit for their company. They can also use them during your on-boarding and any future training or development.

It is also beneficial for you to see these reports yourself. They share a lot of details that can be essential for your self-development.

How to Prepare for the McQuaig Word Survey

This test is not something you can study or revise for.

However, there are several steps to go through when preparing:

Step 1. Remember There Are No Right or Wrong Answers

This is a survey and not a test; it gathers information and does not pass judgement. There is nothing wrong with your personality.

Step 2. Try Example Questions

Find mock examples so you can familiarize yourself with the words and the format.

This prevents any uncertainty or stress on the day as you already know what to expect.

The survey uses a wide range of vocabulary and synonyms. If there is a word you do not fully understand, there is a definition list on every page.

Step 3. Be Honest

The test uses the same words several times, as well as synonyms and antonyms.

The system that analyses the results is designed to find patterns. It will know if you are trying to make yourself seem like the perfect employee and highlights this to recruiters.

Step 4. Trust Your Instincts

Do not overthink your answers.

Step 5. Read the Instructions and Questions Carefully

Avoid silly mistakes by reading the questions and answer options carefully and ensuring you understand what the question is asking before selecting your answer.

Step 6. Remember the Purpose of the Survey

The McQuaig Word Survey is not only used for recruitment purposes.

It is also used by employers for training and development.

Take the test to let your potential employer know exactly how you think, so they can train you as best they can.

Step 7. Ask Colleagues, Family Members and Friends What Words They Would Use to Describe You

You should also make a note of any previous work experiences and how you responded in those situations. This task should help give you a better idea of yourself.

Step 8. Relax

This survey is nothing for you to worry about. The fact that you have been asked to complete this survey suggests that you meet the job requirements and the recruiter wants to see how well you would fit in.

McQuaig Word Survey Practice Test


Personality tests are extremely common in recruitment. They provide a wealth of information that is used for hiring, training and development.

It is not something you should worry or stress about. You should take it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself.

To prepare, take practice surveys and try to learn as much as you can about yourself from those around you.

In most cases, you will discuss your personality test with your recruiter. Try to understand your reports and ask for feedback. The results may help you with future development.

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