Job Placement Disasters; Why I Love DISC (Personality) Tests SKI BUM DISASTER JOB

In 1985, I applied for a job at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado b/c I wanted to be a ski bum – and to ski for free, you had to have a job on the mountain.

I applied to be a waiter b/c I just wanted to wait tables, ski, and drink beer (not necessarily in that order).

But, Copper Mountain was owned by Mobile Oil at the time, and they were trying to bring “real hiring and management science” to those crazy ski resorts.

This “science” consisted of giving every job applicant an aptitude test with insanely easy questions, e.g. “If it is sunny outside, is it day or night?”

Anyway, I got all the answers right and was deemed “smart” so I was not allowed to be a waiter and instead forced to sell tickets at the ski school (b/c that is what smart people do, I guess 😊).

What was really terrifying was thinking about all of the people who didn’t pass the test and were forced to run the lifts, but that’s another story.

Sidebar – in case you wondered why I chose Copper Mountain. I had no idea how to be a ski bum, so I just drove to Denver from my home in AZ and asked an incredibly stoned ski shop employee where I should “ski bum,” and after about a ten-second pause, he said: “……………..Duuuuuuuuude, Copper’s raaaad!”

So that was good enough for me (once I figured out that “Copper” was actually a ski resort).

Anyway – Copper Mountain threw me behind the counter to sell tickets for lessons, lift access and events – and I was both miserable and absolutely horrible at my job.

I didn’t get along with my co-workers (who I thought took their jobs way too seriously) and I never balanced once in the entire six weeks I worked there (I over-collected every day; no idea how or why, but I did).

Apparently, Mobile Oil’s “hiring science” didn’t work all that well – and THIS is the point of this blog (I promise there is one).

IF they had given me a DISC personality test instead of an aptitude test, they never would have put me in the job selling lift tickets.


DISC is an acronym for the primary personality traits the test measures: D = Dominance; I = Influencing; S = Steadiness; and C = Compliance.

Each trait is measured with a score from 1 to 100. My “D” is currently 94; my “I” is 68; My “S” is 8; and my “C” is 34.

A high “D” means I tend to be strong-willed, competitive, and decisive. A moderately high “I” means I tend to be trusting and optimistic. My very low “S” means I am not usually passive, patient, or predictable. And my low “C” means I am not very cautious or diplomatic. 😊

And – this is me at age 58 – when I have seriously mellowed.

When I was 22, my “D” was 99, while my “I”, “S” and “C” were probably all close to zero – making me the worst person ever to stand behind a counter with 8 other people all day long counting money and figuring out ways to improve our teamwork.


We have used DISC tests for years now with our hiring process, as it helps us identify what roles within the company candidates are best suited for and it has proven to be amazingly accurate.

For example, somebody with a very low “D” and “I” and a high “S” and “C” is probably not best suited for a sales role, and somebody with a high “D” and “I” would probably not be a good fit for Loan Processing.

But, we have recently gained additional respect for the tests b/c we hired a management coach who employs them within companies to improve communication, to identify time-wasters, and to help everyone understand each other much better.

This is an exercise I would have scoffed at in 1985 at Copper Mountain, and would have relentlessly made fun of even a few years ago.

But now – not so much… as it has proven to be fascinating, illuminating and surprisingly accurate once again.

So, I am now recommending DISC tests more than ever.

And not just for hiring, but for vastly improving communication and for getting to know yourself and others much better.


To really understand DISC tests, it is best to simply read through an entire report so I am linking to my DISC Test here.

A few final random points:

  1. Other reasons I like DISCs: The test itself takes little time compared to many other assessment tests and it is harder to “game.”
  2. No perfect DISC. DISC experts frequently remind us that there is no perfect DISC for any role and that people should be not concerned if any of their traits are on the high or low side.
  3. Previous employers made the same mistake as Mobile Oil. I have blogged about DISC tests in years past but I used other examples of my horrible employment record. An investment bank I worked for used a pure IQ test for hiring and completely ignored my bombastic personality only to watch me pretty much destroy their culture (even though my work performance was decent). And, Wells Fargo used Myers-Briggs tests back in the day, but I was able to game that test b/c I knew they were looking for “team players” and “rule followers” but I was neither. Note: I had these jobs over 30 years ago, and I promise I have improved since (and yes, I feel bad). 😊

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 1197176, NMLS# 310167

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