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What is a PAPI Assessment?



PAPI stands for ‘Personality and Preference Inventory’ and is a personality assessment tool widely used by organisations during the recruitment and development process. 

The detailed assessment helps to determine an individual’s personality and preferred behaviours in the workplace in addition to exploring preferred working styles as well as key motivators and drivers for an individual. 

PAPI employs a trait-based approach to personality which assumes that individuals are not one thing or another (like in the type based approach e.g. introverted vs extroverted) but rather that there are varying degrees within a trait and individuals can lie anywhere on the scale. 

The first version of PAPI was developed by Max Kostick in the early 1960s and later updated by PA Consulting, predecessor of Cubiks in 1996. It is currently available in 30 languages and is used worldwide by over 1000 organisations. The latest development to PAPI launched in 2014 after an intense three-year development.  Known as PAPI 3, the new update makes it the only personality questionnaire that has been developed from the start in multiple languages. It includes sales and leadership scales and features interactive online reports. 

PAPI3 Logo

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

Benefits of PAPI 

Personality can be difficult to directly observe, and every personality is unique. For this reason, PAPI assessments are a vital tool in understanding people and identifying what motivates them. 

PAPI is a versatile, invaluable tool that can be used in various scenarios; from candidate selection through to employee development. Whilst PAPI is initiated by the organisation, it has a number of benefits for both the organisation and the individual. 

Benefits of PAPI for the Organisation 

  • As PAPI is an unbiased and objective assessment, it can be used during the hiring process in conjunction with a feedback interview to help organisations identify applicants’ suitability for a role accurately and make informed decisions to choose the right candidates. 
  • When applicants are hired, PAPI can support the on-boarding process; providing insight on where an individual may thrive or where they may need more support. 
  • It can build and develop teams by increasing awareness of the unique strengths each member brings, as well as their gaps and improvement areas 
  • PAPI can assist management teams with development and succession; identifying those with traits likely to support progression to more senior levels


Benefits of PAPI for the Individual 

  • PAPI can increase self-awareness for the individual; helping them learn more about how they like to work and what motivates them in the workplace. 
  • PAPI can help individuals understand their own strengths and weaknesses; this helps individuals leverage their strengths and find ways to overcome their weaknesses.
  • PAPI helps identify sources of conflict and stress. This is helpful as individuals can understand what may frustrate or challenge them in a workplace environment. 


Using PAPI 

There are two versions of the PAPI assessment; PAPI normative and PAPI ipsative that both have different uses for businesses. 

PAPI Normative 

PAPI Normative or PAPI N is ideally suited to recruitment settings and also for team building as it is used to compare individuals based on their responses to the personality assessment. Responses are compared against a norm (comparison) group so organisations can assess an individual’s suitability for a certain position compared to others. 

PAPI Ipsative

PAPI Ipsative or PAPI I focuses on the individual without comparing them to others. It gives employers an in-depth understanding of an individual’s preferences and behaviours at work in addition to identifying what is most or least important to them. As it focuses on the individual, it is best used for development and coaching.  

Find out more about PAPI 

Equip yourself with the knowledge on how a PAPI assessment works for a more in-depth understanding or learn more about Cubiks’ personality assessments.


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