Strengths Test

What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment & How Does It Work

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Many people interested in learning more about their skills ask themselves: what is the CliftonStrengths assessment? How can it potentially benefit me? Why should I take this test, and how does it compare to others on the web?

With the wide array of questions about this assessment, many individuals become confused. Some may even put off taking it, or begin to wonder if it is truly worth the time. The CliftonStrengths test is one of the most widely praised online strengths assessments.

As such, you should not overlook this assessment. Rather, you should be open to learning more about this opportunity to gain an inside view into your strengths. In this article, we will present you with what the CliftonStrengths test is, how it works, and why it is important.

What is the CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment?

There are thousands of online personality and strengths tests available on the market. However, one that has stood the test of time and is backed by a significant amount of research is the CliftonStrengths Online Talent test.

The CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment is one of the numerous strengths-related tests offered by Gallup. It is based on decades of research done by world-renowned psychologist Dr. Donald O. Clifton.

The test works, by asking you a series of questions relating to your top strengths. These questions could be ranking questions (to see what you are most likely to do) or questions that ask you about your beliefs, your behaviors, and many other factors that could reveal your strengths. There are numerous benefits that come along with taking this assessment as well.

Among the benefits of taking the assessment is getting an in-depth analysis of your strengths. You will see your top 5 strengths and better understand key aspects of your personality. This will allow you to begin a journey of self-improvement and help you with implanting a strength-based approach to growth.

How Does the CliftonStrengths Assessment Work?

The CliftonStrengths test works by asking individuals a series of questions relating to their strengths. These questions could be about your general personality, how you privatize tasks, how you work with others, and many other strengths-related topics.

From there, they will compare your answers to a list of potential strengths. Your answers will be associated with different strengths, and your answers will be tallied in the end to determine which strengths dominate your strengths profile.

There are a total of 34 strength themes that the test will compare your answers to. Each of these strength themes represents a distinct type of skill, such as critical thinking or empathy.

However, Gallup also categorizes these domains. These can be viewed as more general categories of similar strength types. Below, we discuss the specifics of these 4 main strength domains.

4 Domains of Strengths

The CliftonStrengths test has a plethora of different strengths they account for when you take the test. In addition to this, similar strengths are grouped into strength domains. The test specifies that there are 4 distinct domains of strengths.

The 4 strengths domains are strengths relating to executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. Within each of the domains, there are about 7-8 strengths. For example, some strategic thinking strengths include ideation, intellectual and analytical thinking, and futuristic strength.

A few relationship-building strengths would be empathy, positivity, connectedness, adaptability, and harmony.

As you can see, numerous distinct strengths are within each of the strength domains. Still, each strength has certain qualities to it that place it within that category. One of these qualities will probably dominate your test results.

Pros and Cons of Taking Clifton’s Strengths Assessment

There are many benefits that come along with taking the CliftonStrengths. It is one of the most unique tests available on the web and has a strong backing of science (especially from Dr. Donald Clifton and his psychology team).

However, every test also has its drawbacks. The same is true with the Clifton Strengths test. Therefore, it is crucial for you to understand both the pros and cons of the test before you take it. Below, we discuss this in detail.  


If you decide to take the CliftonStrengths test, you will gain a plethora of benefits. The test is highly in-depth and is recognized as one of the best assessments for specific strength information. A few of the other benefits and pros that come along with taking the assessment include:

  • Greater confidence from knowing your strengths.
  • Being able to make decisions quicker and with greater accuracy.
  • Performing better in interviews due to a greater understanding of your abilities.
  • Becoming a better leader who can recognize the importance of everyone else’s strengths as well as their own.
  • Increased passion for your work.
  • More productivity and focus thanks to recognizing your abilities.
  • Inspiring others to also use the strengths-based growth approach, which helps the entire team.


As with any other strengths assessment, the CliftonStrengths test is not perfect. There are a few flaws that you should be aware of when taking the assessment. However, you should not let these flaws prevent you from taking this crucially important test. Simply keep them in mind after analyzing your results.

These few cons include:

  • Overlooking your weaknesses.
  • Not getting a full picture of your overall personality.
  • Not getting an in-depth assessment of all your strengths (the test only presents you with 5).
  • Becoming too confident, which could lead to you taking unnecessary risks in your work.
  • Some consider the test results to be inaccurate and the test itself to be unscientific.

Is CliftonStrengths a Personality Test?

CliftonStrengths is not exactly a personality test. It is a strengths test. Nonetheless, strengths are intertwined with your personality in some ways. Therefore, when you take the CliftonStrengths test, you will get to learn more about your personality as well.

For example, consider some of the potential results from the CliftonStrengths test. Suppose someone gets empathy as one of their top strengths, and their dominate strengths domain was relationship building. These results focus on strengths, but empathy is also a personality trait. You use empathy in your personal, non-work related activities as well.

In essence, the CliftonStrengths test is more of a strength development and improvement tool rather than a personality test.

It will not test your weaknesses or values directly, which are both key parts of your personality. Therefore, you should take the test with the intention of learning about your strengths specifically, not your overall personality.

Who is the Assessment for?

The CliftonStrengths test has been taken by millions of different people across the globe. Each of these individuals has a unique story and a unique reason for taking the assessment.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about their strengths wants to improve themselves, and is interested in utilizing a strength-based approach to growth should take this assessment.

If you have recently been fired, or have been having a hard time staying productive and passionate during the work day, then this test could be especially useful for you. You may be overlooking your many strengths and being filled with negative emotions.

Taking this test can boost your confidence and positivity. It can assist you in performing better in interviews, as you will know how to highlight your top abilities.

Additionally, this test is especially important for students and young people as well as new employees. These individuals typically do not have a strong understanding of their career goals, and even themselves as a person.

Thus, it is crucially important to understand your top qualities to ensure you feel emotionally stable and know how to perform your best in your career. Taking the test could even help you with choosing a career.

Books from Gallup

Gallup started out as a humble survey company. Now, thanks in part to the leadership of Dr. Donald O. Clifton, it has become one of the leading resources for strength-based leadership and learning.

Gallup has published thousands of books to make understanding your strengths even more accessible to their global audience. Here are just a few of their crucially important books:

StrengthsFinder 2.0

If you want to learn more about the strength-based approach or strengths in general, look no further than the StrengthsFinder 2.0. This book is based on the decades of research performed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton and his psychology team.

They discuss the importance of understanding your strengths, how to find your strengths, and how to use your strengths. In the back of the book, you will see an access code to take the CliftonStrengths test so you can understand your unique strengths.

CliftonStrengths for Students

Students are at a crucial point in their lives. Unfortunately, few students understand their unique abilities and strengths. Thus, they miss opportunities and make poor decisions, resulting in them losing passion and pursuing the wrong careers.

If you want to avoid these outcomes, and learn to become confident while improving your strengths, the CliftonStrengths for Students book is a great resource for you.  

Strengths Based Parenting

It is often stated that there is no more important job than being a parent. To truly make the most out of the amazing opportunity to raise a child, you must know how to use your strengths.

Parents that know and use their strengths often have better relationships with their children, feel less stress, and generally see more success in their parenting journey.

The Strengths Based Parenting book gives you tips to take your parenting up a notch. This will benefit not just your kids, but also all other members of your family.

Strengths Based Leadership

It is no secret that with great power comes great responsibility. Leaders hold an immense amount of power, and they must be able to use it effectively to empower their teams and achieve their goals. To do this, individuals must be aware of their strengths.

Knowing your strengths, according to this book, will help you boost your productivity and efficiency. This book will also help you unlock your hidden leadership strengths, find ways to solve problems and become the best leader you can be by utilizing your strengths.

CliftonStrengths Resource Guide

The CliftonStrengths Resource Guide provides a wide variety of information centered around helping you undertake your gifts and use them on a daily basis.

This book covers many different aspects of the strength-based approach, including information on each of the 34 tested strengths in the CliftonStrengths test, what the strength domains are, how strengths can be used in action, and much more.

How accurate is CliftonStrengths?

Many individuals think that a test like CliftonStrengths is too good to be true, and they doubt its scientific accuracy. There is some debate within the psychology community on the efficacy and accuracy of assessments like the CliftonStrengths test. However, many researchers have voiced support for the test.

 First, it is crucial to remember that the test what a scientific development. It was based on decades of research performed by Dr. Donald O. Clifton (a widely respected expert in psychology) and his team.

From there, millions of people have taken the test and hundreds of thousands of positive reviews have been left to Gallup. Thus, it is clear people are viewing the test as helpful and accurate.

Therefore, one can conclude that the test is relatively accurate. It fits in well with the findings of other psychologists, such as Carl Jung, too.

Still, the test will only be accurate if you answer in the most honest ways you can. If you attempt to make yourself look good or answer dishonestly, the test results will certainly not be helpful.

What are the Rarest CliftonStrengths?

Everyone has a unique strengths profile, and each of the strengths has their own applications to the real world. That being said, some strengths are rarer than others. That does not necessarily mean they are more in demand, though, but they can definitely be useful in your career and beyond.

These rare strengths include command (taking charge and leading), self-assurance (self-confident and willing to take risks), significance (ensuring decisions have a lasting impact), discipline (self-accountability and consistency), and context (understanding the past to make sense of the current events and future).

What is the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment Based on?

The Clifton StrengthsFinder test is administered online. It is based on the ideas of positive psychology and uses a strength-based approach. One of the strongest influences on the CliftonStrengths test is the research of psychologist Dr. Donald O. Clifton as well as Dr. Carl Jung and both their teams.

The results of the assessment are based on your responses to 177 questions. Such questions include a wide variety of topics, such as how you respond to crises or the way you form relationships.

Thus, the main basis for the Clifton Strengths test is the research of Dr. Clifton and the data collection of millions taking the assessment by Gallup.

How Do You Read StrengthsFinder Results?

After taking the StrengthFinder or the strengths test, you will be presented with a page that has your results on it. It will show your top several strengths. Try to see if there are any patterns within the strengths. For instance, are the strengths all centered around a particular strength domain?

Read the description of each of your strengths. This will help you gain even deeper insight into what each of the strengths truly means.

Find the top phrases and keywords from the description paragraphs and take note of them. Consider printing out your results as well as the descriptions of your strengths.

From there, consider thinking about how you currently use each of the strengths listed in your results. Think of potential ways to incorporate them more into your career and everyday life.