HIGH5 Test VS CliftonStrengths Test: Systems Compared [2023]

HIGH5 - a strong alternative to CliftonStrengths

Both HIGH5 strengths test and CliftonStrengths are assessments that helped millions of people be at their best. So what sets them apart?


Clifton Strengths

What it measures


Talent themes

Time to complete

15 min

45 min

Development insights

What to watch out for

Career applications

Dedicated team report

Interpersonal analytics

360-degree peer review

Progress tracking

Are you looking for a comparison between the Cliftonstrengths system and the HIGH5TEST system, unsure which path to follow for personal or professional growth? If so, you’ve landed on the right page.

We’re diving into an in-depth comparison between these two widely recognized personality assessments, providing a crystal clear understanding of each so that you can make an informed choice best suited for you or your organization.

In a world where knowing your strengths is as crucial as understanding your weaknesses, tools like CliftonStrengths and HIGH5TEST have gained immense popularity. These platforms promise to reveal your inherent strengths, paving the way for targeted personal development and productive team-building exercises.

However, many are left scratching their heads, asking which is better. Does one provide a more comprehensive insight into my strengths? Is one more applicable to my career growth or team dynamics?

In this article, we will unravel the answers to these questions. We will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each system, discuss their reliability and validity, and provide an honest comparison to help you decide which system aligns best with your needs.

Whether you are an individual seeking to unlock your potential, or an organization striving to build a powerhouse team, this article is tailored to provide the clarity you need.

Tests Compared: The 20 Type VS The 34 Type

CliftonStrengths, developed by Gallup, is often referred to as the 34 Type due to its classifying individual strengths into 34 distinct themes. These themes, such as Achiever, Learner, or Strategic, offer a deep understanding of an individual’s unique blend of talents and capabilities.

Let’s consider a hypothetical example. Sarah, a project manager, discovers through CliftonStrengths that her top five themes are Strategic, Achiever, Learner, Relator, and Responsibility.

This means Sarah is likely a goal-oriented professional who thrives on challenges, learns quickly, builds deep relationships, and has a strong sense of responsibility. With this understanding, Sarah can now focus on roles and tasks that leverage these strengths, increasing her productivity and job satisfaction.

Conversely, HIGH5TEST, often called the 20 Type system, classifies strengths into four broader domains with five strengths under each. These domains, namely, Humanitarian, Managerial, Specialist, and Visionary, provide a more generalized understanding of an individual’s strengths.

Let’s look at John, a software engineer who took the HIGH5TEST. His top strengths fall under the Specialist domain: Concentration, Diligence, Patience, Precision, and Problem-solving.

This gives John a sense of his technical aptitude, ability to focus on intricate tasks and a natural inclination towards problem-solving. Now John can focus on tasks requiring these skills, enhancing his performance and deriving more satisfaction from his work.

The primary difference between the two systems lies in their granularity. CliftonStrengths, with its 34 themes, provide more granular insight into an individual’s unique talents. It can help pinpoint exact strengths that might not be otherwise apparent.

On the other hand, HIGH5TEST, with its 20 types under four domains, provides a high-level view of an individual’s strengths. It’s simpler, less detailed but still effective in understanding an individual’s key potential areas.

Deciding which system to use depends on your needs. If you’re after specific, detailed insights and have the resources to delve into 34 different themes, CliftonStrengths might be the way to go. Conversely, if you’re looking for a simpler, more general understanding of your strengths, HIGH5TEST could be a better fit.

Test Structures: Strengths Domains VS Strengths Domains

The structure and categorization of the HIGH5TEST and CliftonStrengths are critical in understanding the insights they offer.

CliftonStrengths offers a fine-grained perspective on an individual’s capabilities, dividing strengths into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.

Each field encompasses a set of related strength themes, adding up to 34 in total. Imagine walking through a lush garden with 34 different varieties of flowers, each representing a unique strength. The more you explore, the more detailed and intricate the understanding of your personality you can cultivate.

For instance, someone like Maria, who excels in the Executing domain with strengths like Discipline, Focus, and Responsibility, would be fantastic at taking plans and making them a reality. She would be someone who can consistently stay on task, follow through with commitments, and guide a project to completion.

On the other hand, the HIGH5TEST is more of a panoramic overview, categorizing strengths into four broader domains: Humanitarian, Managerial, Specialist, and Visionary. Each of these domains includes five distinct forces, making up a total of 20.

This structure resembles flying over that same garden in a hot air balloon. You see all the flowers from a distance, understanding their broader categories but not necessarily their nuances.

Take Liam, whose strengths align with the Visionary domain with attributes like Curiosity, Perspective, Strategy, and Creativity. Liam would likely excel in roles that involve innovation, strategic planning, and looking at the big picture. His broad strengths help him to see possibilities and connections others might miss.

While CliftonStrengths and HIGH5TEST employ categories and domains, their structures serve different needs. CliftonStrengths dives deep into the clear sea of our unique personality traits, while HIGH5TEST gives a bird’s-eye view, a wide-angle lens of our broader strengths landscape. 

One is not necessarily better than the other; it all comes down to how deep you want to dive or how wide you want to scan.

How To Read the Results? Personal Strengths VS Personal Recommendations

One of the fascinating things about personality assessments like CliftonStrengths and HIGH5TEST is the illuminating results they provide. These tests are designed to help us understand ourselves better, but how they deliver these insights varies between systems.

The CliftonStrengths assessment goes beyond identifying strengths. It provides a holistic picture of an individual’s strengths to use.

It gives detailed descriptors for your top 34 muscles, explaining how they might manifest in your life. It’s like getting a map of your personality terrain, indicating where your peaks are located.

For instance, if your results indicate ‘Harmony’ as a top strength, you’ll get a nuanced understanding of how you seek areas of agreement and try to avoid conflict to create a serene and cooperative environment.

This information becomes useful in personal and professional settings, allowing you to apply this strength to various situations consciously.

On the contrary, HIGH5TEST doesn’t just list your strengths—it provides personalized recommendations for utilizing them. Each power, under its respective domain, comes with advice on how to capitalize on it.

This approach goes beyond a self-reflection exercise and offers actionable tips on how to leverage your strengths.

Your HIGH5 results show ‘Optimism’ as a top strength. Along with understanding your tendency to expect the best in the future and work to achieve it, you’ll also receive recommendations on best utilizing this strength.

Perhaps it suggests roles where your positive outlook can inspire others, or it may recommend strategies to balance your optimism with realism.

In essence, both tests offer unique benefits. CliftonStrengths gives a detailed rundown of your strengths, encouraging you to explore how they play out. On the other hand, HIGH5TEST offers practical recommendations, turning self-awareness into action.

So, whether you’re more inclined to in-depth self-exploration or seeking actionable advice, one of these systems will likely align with your preferences.

How Many Strengths are in the HIGH5 Test?

The HIGH5TEST, as the name might hint, categorizes individuals’ strengths into 20 main areas. These are divided into four domains, each containing five special forces, hence ‘HIGH5’.

The four domains in the HIGH5TEST are Humanitarian, Managerial, Specialist, and Visionary, and they represent the four broad categories of human capabilities. Each domain has five associated strengths, adding nuance and detail to each class. For instance, the Visionary domain includes powers like Creativity, Perspective, Curiosity, Strategy, and Problem-solving.

Each strength in the HIGH5TEST has been identified and refined based on extensive research and real-world application. This ensures the forces are universally applicable, meaningful, and representative of the patterns in individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and actions.

So, if you’re taking the HIGH5TEST, you will receive a comprehensive report detailing your top five strengths from 20, with personalized insights and practical recommendations on how best to use your strengths in different areas of your life.

Whether you’re a Strategist in the Visionary domain or a Provider in the Humanitarian field, the HIGH5TEST is designed to help you understand and leverage your unique strengths to fulfill your potential.

What is the Difference Between StrengthsFinder and Cliftonstrengths?

You might have heard the terms “StrengthsFinder” and “CliftonStrengths” used interchangeably and wondered about the difference between the two. The answer is quite straightforward: there isn’t a significant difference in the concept and methodology of these two assessments. Instead, the change is primarily a matter of branding.

StrengthsFinder was the original name given to the assessment when it was first developed by Don Clifton and his team at Gallup. The evaluation was designed to help individuals identify their top talents or “strengths” and find ways to apply them to succeed in various aspects of life.

The name change from StrengthsFinder to CliftonStrengths was an effort by Gallup to honor the work of Don Clifton, the grandfather of positive psychology and the key figure behind the assessment. This change emphasized the roots and the visionary mind behind this transformative tool.

However, the essence of the tool remains the same. Both the CliftonStrengths and StrengthsFinder assessments involve participants responding to a set of paired statements to identify which ones best describe them.

The results yield a personalized ranking of the 34 CliftonStrengths themes, providing deep insights into an individual’s unique strengths and talents.

So, whether you hear it referred to as StrengthsFinder or CliftonStrengths, rest assured the core concept and aim to remain the same: to help individuals and teams discover their unique talents and leverage them for success.

How Accurate is the StrengthsFinder Test?

Regarding psychometric assessments, a common question is always about their accuracy. If you’re contemplating taking the StrengthsFinder (now CliftonStrengths) examination, it’s natural to ask how accurate the results might be.

The StrengthsFinder assessment, like any psychometric test, is rooted in extensive research and development. Designed by Gallup, a reputable name in behavioral sciences, the test is based on decades of study into human talents and strengths. It has been refined over the years with input from millions of test-takers, enhancing its validity and reliability.

One of the primary reasons for the accuracy of StrengthsFinder is its focus on natural talents rather than skills or knowledge. This means it’s identifying patterns of behavior, thought, and emotion inherent to you, not something you’ve learned or adopted over time. Therefore, it does an excellent job of pinpointing your natural strengths, making it a useful tool for personal and professional development.

However, it’s important to note a few things that can impact the accuracy of your results. Firstly, it relies on your honest self-evaluation. It could skew the results if you answer the assessment questions trying to present yourself in a certain way.

Secondly, the StrengthsFinder provides a broad description of each strength; not every aspect may resonate with you. It’s essential to understand that the themes you receive will likely manifest differently in you than in someone with the same strength.

Despite these considerations, the StrengthsFinder has proved to be a robust and insightful tool for individuals and teams worldwide. Its widespread use in diverse settings, from organizations to educational institutions, tests its accuracy and effectiveness in identifying individuals’ strengths.

Is the HIGH5 Test Free?

Yes, it is. This commitment to free access aligns with their mission to help as many people as possible discover and understand their unique strengths.

By taking the free test, you receive a report detailing your top five strengths and some insights into how you can leverage these strengths in your everyday life.

The availability of a free, comprehensive strengths assessment makes the HIGH5TEST an accessible tool for personal and professional development.