Understanding PI profiles
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.
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.
ANALYZER | CONTROLLER | SPECIALIST | STRATEGIST | VENTURER
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.
ALTRUIST | CAPTAIN | COLLABORATOR | MAVERICK | PERSUADER | PROMOTER
The six reference profiles in the Social group are typically highly extraverted and are marked with a hexagon in their icon.
ADAPTER | ARTISAN | GUARDIAN | OPERATOR
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.
INDIVIDUALIST | SCHOLAR
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.
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 recommend a “one-size-fits-all” approach, where you only allow a certain Reference Profile for a role.
Understanding reference profiles
Transcript: video understanding reference profiles
Everyone who takes the PI Behavioral Assessment automatically falls under one of our 17 reference profiles, which provide a shortcut for understanding behaviors and needs that drive your people.
But how are reference profiles determined? What information can you get from knowing them? And why do these two patterns look similar, but have different reference profiles?
When the assessment was first developed, researchers needed a way to begin standardizing interpretations. They catalogued commonly observed results and came up with 47 patterns that covered most outcomes of the assessment. Each one got an ID, and some of the patterns were named, which helped people identify with them.
But the names were only discussed in training. There was no formal or systematic way to assign them to a person’s results. People just did it subjectively.
Because the patterns were so helpful, it became clear, over time, that a more standardized approach was needed. The idea for the 17 reference profiles was born. Some of them share the names or have similar names as old patterns, but they’re not the same!
How can that be?
It all begins with the four factors, the foundation of PI’s methodology, and behavioral insights, which should always be reviewed in depth when applying PI and making decisions. You should always refer to a person’s unique behavioral pattern for insight.
Reference profiles provide a general idea of a person without having to know the specific amount of dominance, extraversion, patience, or formality they have.
You’ll use them to help build job targets, review candidates, identify top performers, see how two people work together, and more.
Reference profiles were created by taking the average scores from the pattern IDs that correspond to those named patterns and using them as coordinates for defining the reference profiles. People fall under whichever reference profile is closest.
The shape of the pattern doesn’t matter. What matters is the total distance of each factor from the coordinates of each reference profile.
When you ask someone from New York City where they live, they’ll name a neighborhood. This gives you some basic information about them.
When they invite you to their house, they’ll give you their address. Then, you’ll learn more specifically about them. Reference profiles are general neighborhoods and behavioral patterns are unique addresses.
See how big the collaborator neighborhood is compared to the analyzer? Some reference profiles have more variability in their patterns than others.
And because it’s such a large neighborhood, two people might be Collaborators but still have differences in their patterns. Some people will also be close to the border.
Some patterns might look alike but actually have different Reference Profiles. A person might technically be a Controller, but be close to an Analyzer as well. Or, they might look a lot like an Analyzer, but they’re technically a Controller.
Two patterns might look almost exactly alike, but have different Reference Profiles. Not to worry! Remember, the general behavioral characteristics of each reference profile still apply to these people, but take their full patterns into account. Reference profiles bring you to the person’s neighborhood, not their exact house.
To create an even faster way to understand some basic information about reference profiles, they’ve been assigned 1 of 4 groups. They are Analytical, Social, Stabilizing, or Persistent.
Each group is represented by a different shape. A gear for Analytical, hexagon for Social, triangle for Stabilizing, and circle for Persistent.
The five reference profiles in the Analytical group are more dominant than extraverted and have a low amount of patience. In the workplace, people in this group are generally more focused on tasks than people or relationships and tend to work at a fast pace.
The six reference profiles in the social group are all highly extraverted. In the workplace, people with profiles in the social group are generally people-oriented and outgoing.
The four reference profiles in the stabilizing group are less dominant and extraverted while having a high amount of patience and formality. In the workplace, people with profiles in the stabilizing group are generally steady, detailed, and work well with structure.
And the two reference profiles in the persistent group are more dominant than extraverted with a high amount of patience. In the workplace, people with profiles in this group are generally task-oriented and deliberate.
Reference Profiles are descriptive, memorable and helpful general categories for the 17 different types of behavioral configurations. They make it easy to quickly communicate some standard behavioral traits.
They’re also fun for you and your co-workers. Share your reference profile with pride!