Hire. Develop. Retain.

The McQuaig Institute helps organizations refine corporate culture and grow human capital. Using a suite of scientifically validated assessment tools, we empower organizations to make better hires, retain top talent, develop leaders, improve employee engagement, and reduce their cost-per-hire.

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About Jack McQuaig

The McQuaig Institute was founded in 1966 by Industrial Psychologist Jack H. McQuaig. Jack McQuaig was a pioneer in the field of talent assessments and developed his original McQuaig Word Survey in 1967.

Since that time, The McQuaig Institute has been providing behavioral or personality assessments (also known as psychometric tests) for pre-employment assessment, employee development, teambuilding and leadership development to organizations of all sizes in hundreds of industries.

Today, The McQuaig Institute supports more than 1,500 organizations in over 30 countries through a SaaS based platform backed by personal support. The McQuaig System delivers reduced turnover and increased productivity through more efficient teams and more engaged employees.

The Science Behind McQuaig

Recruiting may be an art, but assessing candidates is definitely a science.

The McQuaig System has been scientifically validated again and again since our founder, Jack McQuaig, created our first survey in 1966. Below is a summary of the testing that has been conducted to ensure the validity of our results.

At the core of the McQuaig System is The McQuaig Word Survey, a measure of four personality domains that capture core aspects of the widely established “big five” personality factors. It is organized into 21 word sets, each consisting of four descriptors (a tetrad) – one from each of the four personality domains. Respondents rank order the trait-descriptors within each of the 21 sets based on the degree to which they are self-descriptive. The Survey interpretations and recommendations are based on seven basic profile patterns and their subsets.


Norms have been established for each of the four dimensions and for the seven basic personality profiles based on a total sample of over 8100 respondents. Sub-group norms are provided for each of: entrepreneurs, managers, sales, life insurance agents, service providers, administrators, skilled workers, university students, males, females, Spanish, French, English, Asian American, African American, Mexican American, East Indian, Romanian, North American, Chinese, White, Non-white, age category, educational level and marital status.


Split-half and test-retest reliabilities for each of the four personality domains of The McQuaig System meets professionally recommended standards of .70 or greater and respondents show considerable consistency over time in their Word Survey profile typing.


Support for the validity of The McQuaig System has come from several sources:

  • Consistent and strong positive associations of dimension scores and profiles with performance outcomes and occupational achievements.
  • Positive and substantial dimensions score correlations with supervisor-completed checklists of behavioral indicators of these dimensions.
  • Positive and substantial dimension score correlations with similar measures taken from other well-established instruments such as the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI).

Test Fairness

Dimension scores and profile types show considerable similarity across gender, race, age groupings and country, and show no evidence of adverse impact or differential prediction across these categories.

Developed for Selection

The McQuaig Word Survey is a personality inventory and behavioral assessment tool, not to be mistaken with “clinical assessments” of mental or psychological health. It has been developed within the guidelines of human rights’ regulatory bodies such as the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Specifically, the Word Survey measures trait dimensions that relate to on-the-job performance and shows no evidence of adverse impact or differential prediction across protected groups.

The Survey demands reading ability at about the grade 5 level and can be completed by most people in 15 – 20 minutes. It is available in English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

The four personality domains measured by the Survey are subsumed under the broader “big five” personality factors and are defined to provide a more precise matching of personality to the psychological demands of the workplace. There is an abundance of research, as reported in the Technical Manual, in support of the psychometric integrity, fairness and usefulness in workplace applications as an assessment tool.

Major Applications
  • Selection
  • Succession Planning
  • Managing and Coaching
  • Personal and Team Development
  • Developmental Highlights

The development of the Survey followed a sequence of steps:

  • Define the 4-domain personality typology to represent established clusters of personality trait descriptors.
  • Sort hundreds of common trait descriptors into the four Word Survey personality domains.
  • Identify the top 21 traits most descriptive of each of the four Word Survey domains.
  • Establish reliability and construct validity.
  • Establish criterion related (predictive) validity.
  • Develop norms by occupation, gender, age, race, language, country.
  • Establish test fairness.
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