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Assessing personality offers valuable information for many decisions in organizations, but many inventories, even commercial ones, are based on dodgy models. Instead of offering valid and reliable results, such questionnaires perpetuate stereotypes and offer unreliable data that leads to bad people decisions.

A trustworthy alternative is to use a tool based on the HEXACO model, an evolution of the widely-used OCEAN or Big 5 model, which uses five traits to describe human personality. While reviewing data from cross-cultural studies, Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee noticed that a six-trait model was a better fitting way to describe human personality and named it HEXACO.

The HEXACO model evaluates personality across six key dimensions:

  • Honesty-Humility
  • Emotionality
  • eXtraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness to Experience

The biggest change compared to the Big 5 is an additional dimension: Honesty-Humility. This trait involves how people behave regarding social status, bending the rules and influencing others for personal gain, and how self-important they feel.

There are commercially available instruments based on the HEXACO model that you can use for HR purposes like selection or development.

If you want to get a taste of the items and how the results look, you can try out the free HEXACO questionnaire. Your anonymous and confidential results will be available for you to download and will also be used for research and further improving personality assessment.

Let’s look at Sarah, who is looking for a personality assessment to use with the organization’s leadership in their development program. She looks for “reliable personality assessments” and reads about the HEXACO model. Unsure how the concept of Honesty-Humility would play out with the leadership team, she wants to get a taste of the model. She takes the HEXACO Personality Inventory – Revised version, answering 100 questions in about 15 minutes.

When receiving her results, they are not a 100% match to her own perceptions, and she finds them insightful and a good start for a journey of self-awareness and self-development. She decides to use a commercially available tool based on the same HEXACO model.

The Hexaco Personality Inventory – Revised is an assessment tool built by Kibeom Lee, Ph.D., & Michael C. Ashton, Ph.D. and it is available for research purposes online at The website also links other useful resources such as the book The H Factor of Personality and information about the inventory and its development.