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How Do PAPI Assessments Work?



PAPI is a comprehensive workplace focussed personality assessment widely adopted by organisations across the globe. It helps organisations select the right candidates for roles and can also be used for training and development purposes.  

PAPI developed in the 1960s by Professor Max Kostick who recognised that there was a need for a comprehensive work-based personality assessment that non-psychologists could use. Since then PAPI has undergone a couple of updates to fit the modern world of work.


What Does PAPI measure?

Each and every individual’s personality is unique, therefore PAPI uses a trait-based approach to measure 7 broad areas of work-based personality. These include: 

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Find out more about how PAPI can be used in your Talent Management process

  • impact and drive
  • organisation and structure
  • ideas and change
  • interaction
  • work momentum
  • composure
  • engagement


Each of the 7 areas contains a number of ‘scales’ that represent specific personality traits. There are a total of 26 scales  such as  Need to achieve, Need to influence, Attention to detail or optimism. Respondents answer a set of statements for each scale which determines where they fit on the scale. This is plotted on the PAPI wheel to visualise the individual’s personality traits more easily. 



PAPI uses two types of scales; need scales and roles scales. 


About ‘Need Scales’ vs ‘Role Scales’ 

‘Need scales’ identify an individual’s motivators and drivers in the workplace (e.g. Need to belong to groups) whilst ‘role scales’ explore how an individual perceives how they behave and act in workplace situations (e.g. Inspirational harmoniser).  

PAPI is sophisticated as it uses both types of scales in combination to understand how motivations and behaviour interact in the workplace. 

What is PAPI used for?  

PAPI assessments can be used for recruitment as well as for developing people within an organisation.

In recruitment, PAPI can be used to compare individuals against a norm (comparison) group to assess their suitability for specific positions in conjunction with a feedback interview and ensure the right people will be selected for the right roles.

In development, PAPI focuses on the individual giving in-depth insights on their preferences and behaviours in the workplace. This is very helpful to build strong development plans for employees and ensure they’re thriving as an employee, within a team and as an individual.


Find out more about PAPI

Learn more about our personality assessments or if you would like to find out how PAPI can benefit your organisation, get in touch with our team

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