Dark traits test: what is it and what does it consist of?

The dark traits test aims to detect personalities with components that can lead to behaviors and conflictive and worrying situations...
29 September 2022

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Dark traits test: what is it and what does it consist of?

The dark traits test aims to detect personalities with components that can lead to behaviors and conflictive and worrying situations for your company.

Generally speaking, personality tests are usually integrated into personnel selection processes, as they help to detect abilities and skills that can be useful for the correct performance of the responsibilities of the position but, in the same way, they can help you see employees with difficult personalities.

Hiring this type of professional can negatively impact your organization’s work environment, and we will discuss it in this article.

What is the dark traits test?

The dark traits test is a personality test that detects traits that are susceptible to conflict and that, when activated, lead to counterproductive and destructive behaviors in all areas of a human being’s life, both in personal and professional contexts.

The test associated with the dark traits test allows precisely to detect the following seven facets of personality:

  • Machiavellianism.
  • Narcissism.
  • Psychopathy.
  • Malice.
  • Greed.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Dependence.

The Comprehensive Dark Personality Traits Test has been developed based on the research of Marcus and Zeigler-Hill and should be performed by qualified professionals.

Among the traits mentioned, this test seeks to test for the existence or not of a disturbing index of dark personality traits beyond what experts determine as the dark triad.

Dark traits test

The dark triad of personality in the company

Psychologists and behavioral specialists define the dark personality triad – a terminology created by researchers Delroy L. Paulhus and Kevin M. Williams in 2002 – as the combination of a high level of Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy traits.

We detail what each of these components entails.


A Machiavellian person manipulates other people for his benefit through long-term and remorseless plans, with no concern whatsoever for the consequences for the people targeted by his manipulation.


A narcissistic profile feels an excessive admiration for himself and expects constant attention and respect from others because he feels superior.

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A psychopath has practically no empathy and is an impulsive and temperamental person who does not subject his actions to ethical or moral values.

People with a high combination of these three traits are selfish and put their interests before others without regard.

These personalities in the work environment have undesirable and unproductive behavior with added actions such as:

  • Harassment of co-workers.
  • Theft of products or materials.
  • Extraction of confidential information.

These personalities cause talent leaks, work stress, low performance, decreased productivity, depression, etc., in companies.

As it is logical to think, all these consequences negatively impact your project and your company’s human capital.

dark personality traits test

How are dark traits triggered?

Several triggers promote the manifestation of dark traits.

At this point, it is convenient to point out that only the presence of these traits in a person does not ensure that they will be activated, but that propitious conditions are necessary, such as:

  1. A high level of these traits.
  2. Contexts that grant a certain degree of superiority, such as management positions in a company or other positions of power.
  3. Situations that originate stress in the person.

Stressful contexts are familiar in professional environments in which the person holds a position of some responsibility or is subjected to stimuli that provoke states of anxiety or pressure.

The dark triad of personality in the company

What does the dark traits test consist of?

As we have already mentioned, this test measures seven personality traits that are decisive in evaluating conflictive people or people who may become conflictive in certain situations.

The examinee must answer a battery of questions showing agreement or disagreement. We share with you some examples:

  • I use insincere flattery to get people on my side.
  • I can’t relax until it’s perfect when I’m working on something.
  • I feel stuck in a cycle where the better I do, the better I’m expected to do.
  • I don’t trust myself to make crucial decisions on my own.

There are other tests that measure the dark side of the personality.

Some experts define this dark side as the D factor, an indicator that encompasses – in addition to the dark triad – measures of:

  1. Selfishness: considering one’s benefit above that of others excessively.
  2. Moral disconnection: not guided by ethical or moral values.
  3. Psychological entitlement: considers that they should be treated better than others because they are better.
  4. Sadism: enjoys harming others without remorse.
  5. Self-interest: needs to emphasize his social and financial status continually.
  6. Spitefulness: obsession with causing harm to others or destroying them.

Including personality tests in your recruitment techniques will help you avoid hiring people with profiles that are harmful to your company.

We advise you to have a professional and highly effective monitoring system to ensure privacy and data security.

Combine your dark traits tests with our proctoring products and detect conflicting professionals before it’s too late.

If you want to see for yourself what we can offer, request a free demo, and we will explain how SMOWL fits into your different projects.

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