Meet the Dark Triad

Meet the Dark Triad

Can the Dark Triad Help Match Individuals to Careers?

Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy – Meet the Dark Triad. While the name sounds vaguely threatening and ominous, it turns out that the Dark Triad may be the misunderstood black sheep of the personality family – when it comes to predicting career interests.

When individuals and organizations attempt to identify career interests in the hopes of matching people to satisfying occupations where they are likely to succeed, interest tests have had to make room for personality tests. Personality tests have staked out their own place as predictors in the career interest universe. Intuitively this makes sense—just because someone is interested in a career doesn’t mean that their personality suits the career. For instance, even the shyest may be drawn to the allure of being a big fish in the glamorous world of movers and shakers.

So, where does the Dark Triad come in? Yes, there are plenty of seemingly “desirable” personality traits from which to choose when identifying career interests (the Five-Factor Model (FFM) being a particular favorite), but before you pick the Dark Triad last for your predictors-of-vocational-choice team, you should be aware that it too bring new layers to informing how to best align people and jobs.

Here are some examples of recent things we’ve learned:

  • The Dark Triad has been found to predict career interest beyond FFM personality measures.
  • Some aspects of the Dark Triad have been found to be related to positive work outcomes and common in certain vocations that are far removed from the stigma of being “dark”.
  • Researching the Dark Triad in a career interest context might help provide a key to how to mitigate these qualities in the workplace.

So, the next time you are inclined to stay away from measuring someone’s inner manipulator, egoist, selfishness, and impulsivity you may be missing important information that helps to enhance career fit.

For more information, look for the following article in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Career Assessment:

Schneider,T.J., McLarnon, M.M., & Carswell, J.J. (in press). Career Interests, Personality, and the Dark Triad. Journal of Career Assessment.


About the Author

Sharon Van Duynhoven

Office Manager

Sharon brings our tests and assessments from the development stage to marketable product. She ensures quality control at every step of a project, edits technical documents and manuals, and artistically enhances reports and resources. She also manages contracts with clients across the globe and answers technical questions.