Hogan Development Survey (HDS) – A Complete Overview [2024]

Hogan's HDS test is specifically designed to assess one’s “dark side”, and therefore requires extra care when approached.

Hogan’s HDS test complements the well-known Hogan Personality test (HPI) and assesses potentially counterproductive behaviors and traits through 168 statements in 11 behavioral scales.

As other Hogan tests, the Hogan Development Survey also uses the unconventional True/False format. With its complex, subscale-enhanced scoring method, it aims to create a full overview of candidates.

The following guide tackles the complexity of the HDS test with extensive research and very detailed coverage of all topics – format, scoring, free practice and inside tips for success.

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Basic Details

168 statements
Personality profiling Judgment

Test geek and founder of Personality-Test-Prep.com

What Is the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) Test?

The Hogan Development Survey (HDS) is a pre-employment personality test that assesses “derailers” – counterproductive traits and behaviors that show up during stress, anger, or other negative emotions.

The HDS is colloquially described as assessing one’s “dark side” and is therefore often taken in conjunction with the HPI (Hogan Personality Inventory), which is used to assess the “bright side” – how people behave when conditions are ideal.

Test Structure and Question Format

The HDS test is very similar to the Hogan HPI test. It contains 168 statements describing you. You should mark the statement as either “True” or “False”.

Here are a few examples:

  • If I am angry at someone, they will know it, sooner or later.
  • I prefer to avoid conflicts.
  • I am not assertive enough.

As in other personality profiling tests, there are no “correct” answers for particular statements – but there are better and worse responses for demonstrating desirable personality traits.

We cover that in detail in the Free Practice section.

What Does the Hogan HDS Test Measure?

The Hogan Development Survey assesses 11 primary scales, divided into 33 subscales (3 for each scale). Every statement on the test assesses one of these scales.

Here is a brief overview. We get into more detail on how scales and subscales work in the Scoring section.

#1 – Bold

The Bold scale assesses levels of courage and self-confidence.

Bold Subscales

  • Entitled
  • Overconfidence
  • Fantasized Talent

#2 – Cautious

The Cautious scale assesses one’s aversion and fear of failure, criticism, and risk.

Cautious Subscales

  • Avoidant
  • Fearful
  • Unassertive

#3 – Colorful

The Colorful scale assesses one’s desire for fun, entertainment, and attention.

Colorful Subscales

  • Public Confidence
  • Distractible
  • Self-Display

#4 – Diligent

The Diligent scale measures work ethics, attention to detail and performance standards.

Diligent Subscales

  • Standards
  • Perfectionistic
  • Organized

#5 – Dutiful

The Dutiful scale assesses tendencies to conform and please others, sometimes at one’s own expense.

Dutiful Subscales

  • Indecisive
  • Ingratiating
  • Conforming

#6 – Excitable

The Excitable scale generally refers to the level of emotion one is prone to feel. While it can lead to enthusiasm and passion on one hand, it may also lead to frustration, moody behavior, or over-sensitivity.

Excitable Subscales

  • Volatile
  • Easily Disappointed
  • No Direction

#7 – Imaginative

The Imaginative scale assesses one’s tendency to being innovative and creative, but also eccentric and self-centered.

Imaginative Subscales

  • Eccentric
  • Special Sensitivity
  • Creative Thinking

#8 – Leisurely

The Leisurely scale is somewhat complex – it deals with the tendency to seem cooperative and friendly, but to actually follow a personal agenda under the surface.

Leisurely Subscales

  • Passive-Aggressive
  • Unappreciated
  • Irritated

#9 – Mischievous

The Mischievous scale assesses tendencies to impulsivity and risk-taking, as well as an adventurous nature.

Mischievous Subscales

  • Risky
  • Impulsive
  • Manipulative

#10 – Reserved

The Reserved scale measures one’s level of emotional detachment from others, and tendencies for being remote and uncaring.

Reserved Subscales

  • Introverted
  • Unsocial
  • Tough

#11 – Skeptical

The Skeptical scale assesses one’s level of alertness to the possibility of malevolent or deceptive behavior.

Skeptical Subscales

  • Cynical
  • Mistrusting
  • Grudges

Here’s an illustration of how the HDS test interface looks like:

HDS Test Interface

  • Each screen contains several statements describing you (usually 6).
  • The statements are related to 11 main scales, divided into 33 subscales. You can read about the scales in the Test Overview section.
  • For each statement, choose either “True” or “False”.
  • Your scale and subscale scores are determined by the number of “True” choices. See more in the Scoring section.
  • You can go back to previous screens and change answers (but that’s usually not recommended.

Hogan HDS Free Practice Test

In this section, we will show several sample questions adapted from the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) + recommended answers.

In this section, we will show several sample questions adapted from the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) + recommended answers.

If you want some more practical understanding of Hogan’s personality tests, make sure to check out the HPI practice test as well.

However, remember that in the HDS, as in any personality profiling test:

  • Individual statements have little to no meaning – the overall profile is what matters.
  • And yet, there are better answers for particular statements.
  • These better answers depend on the job you want.

Statement #1

People don’t do favors unless they want something in return.

Suggested Answer

Scale: Skeptical

Subscale: Cynical

The Skeptical scale assesses a person’s ability to identify real or perceived attempts of betrayal, deception, or other malevolent behavior. In that scale, the Cynical subscale focuses on other people’s intentions and motives.

A somewhat higher score on the Skeptical scale may be beneficial for jobs where alertness is paramount, like cybersecurity, finances, or risk management, However, a very high score indicates that the person may be at risk for negativity, pettiness, und tendency to quarrel.

Statement #2

I do things better than most people I know.

Suggested Answer

Scale: Bold

Subscale: Overconfidence

The Overconfidence subscale is one of the three subscales of the Bold scale. The Bold scale assesses a person’s courage, self-confidence, and expectations of success. Very high scores on these traits are generally a big red flag for employers. No one wants employees who overestimate their skills.

However, scores that are too low may also be a reason to worry about, since such individuals may seem lacking drive, motivation, or work standards. Generally speaking, for the Bold scale, it is probably best to score somewhere in the middle, and let your skills and experience talk for themselves.

Pro Tip

As a general rule of thumb, the HDS aims to find mostly high-risk ratings (namely, high scores on the tests’ 11 scales. Low scores can also be assessed, but the scoring method puts less emphasis on them.

Statement #3

I know how to put things in a way that will eventually get me what I want.

Suggested Answer

Scale: Mischievous

Subscale: Manipulative

The Manipulative subscale assesses one’s ability and willingness to use personal charm for their purposes. It is part of the Mischievous scale, which generally assesses one’s risk-taking and limit-testing behaviors.

While the names both suggest very negative behaviors, a certain level of these traits may be required in some roles. For instance, salespeople or marketers with a very low score on the Manipulative subscale (and Mischievous in general) are less likely to be persuasive, think out of the box, and take calculated risks.

Scoring very high on these scales, however, is a worrying indication not many employers will turn a blind eye to.

Statement #4

Life is too short to do just one thing at a time.

Suggested Answer

Scale: Colorful

Subscale: Distractible

The Colorful scale deals with one’s need for fun, entertainment, and attention. In that scale, the Distractible scale specifically concerns the need for new stimulation and modes of thinking.

Higher scores on this trait will be more desirable in jobs that are energetic and idea-oriented and require the ability to quickly move from one thing to the other. Creative jobs are one good example. Lower scores are preferred in jobs that are task-oriented and require long hours of focused or repetitive work, such as a data analyst or QA.

Statement #5

I always consult someone close before making an important decision.

Suggested Answer

Scale: Dutiful

Subscale: Indecisive

The Indecisive subscale on the Dutiful scale describes the ability for independent work and decision-making.

Jobs that require strict adherence to prescribed rules and regulations will probably prefer someone with a high score on that scale.

Managers and leaders, on the other hand, are much more likely to have low scores on this scale. However, a score that is too low may indicate close-mindedness and inability to criticize one’s own judgment. Even if you are going for a manager position you should pay attention to that, especially if the work environment is highly collaborative.

HDS Test Scoring

How Is the HDS Test Scored?

The following illustration demonstrates how your HDS test scores are calculated (which is, BTW, very similar to the HPI scoring method).

Hogan HDS Scoring

  • The HPI assesses 11 main scales, divided into 33 subscales.
  • Each of the 168 HDS test statements is related to one subscale and one main scale.
  • Each subscale on the test contains between 3 and 6 statements.
  • For every statement you mark as “True”, you get one point for that subscale. “False” responses earn no points.
  • The calculated score is a combination of your raw scores on the subscales with a percentile score on the main scale.
  • The subscale scores provide extra interpretation and depth for the main scale scores.

All information is adapted from the Hogan Subscale Interpretation Guide.

As you can see, the candidate in the sample above has a high score on the main Reserved scale (70%+) – what Hogan calls “high-risk ratings”. These high-risk ratings are what the HDS aims to find.

What Is a Good Score on the HDS Test?

The Hogan Development Survey is an interesting personality test, as it is designed to find your weaknesses and risky behaviors. Therefore, there is more of a “bad score” on the HDS than a “good score”.

As the scoring method particularly emphasizes high-risk indicators, a score of above 70% in any main scale may be considered a risk. Too low scores, aka “no-risk ratings” (below 40% are also indicated, but Hogan encourages employers to be more cautious when interpreting them.)

HDS Test Tips

Considering all the unique features of the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) Test, here are 5 tips for acing it:

Tip #1 – Do Your Best to Refrain from Very High Scores

If you look carefully at the subscales on the Hogan Development Survey, you will see that they are all “positive”. That is in contrast to the HPI test, where all scales are “positive.”

For instance, on the HDS test, you will not see subscales such as “Assertive”, “Social”, or “Appreciated”, but rather “Unassertive”, “Unsocial”, and “Unappreciated”.

That is because the HDS scoring method is designed to indicate employers where candidates have very high scores.

To put it in their own words:

“High-risk derailers pose the greatest threat to leadership effectiveness.” (The Hogan Subscale Interpretation Guide, p. 10).

Tip #2 – Keep Other Hogan Tests in Mind

As we’ve previously mentioned, Hogan tends to conduct a series of tests for candidates. Normally, these will be the HPI (Hogan Personality Inventory), HDS (Hogan Development Survey), and MVPI (Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory). If an assessment of cognitive skills is required, you will also sit the Hogan Business Reasoning Inventory (HBRI).

If you have been invited to take part in a Hogan-led hiring process, make sure you are familiar with at least these three.

Tip #3 – Read Tips 2, 4, and 5 in the HPI (Hogan Personality Inventory) Page

Three of the HPI test tips are also relevant for the Hogan HDS test:

  • Maintain a Realistic Profile (Tip #2)
  • Don’t Turn This into Math (Tip #4)
  • Keep the Interview in Mind (Tip #5)

You are welcome to read them here.

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