FAQ for people completing the Human Patterns Inventory

Following completion of your Human Patterns Inventory, your coach or Human Resources support person will offer you a personal coaching session on your preferences and interests.

FAQ for People Completing the Inventory

Help and support for the people who complete the Human Patterns Inventory

What is the Human Patterns Inventory?

The Human Patterns Inventory is an assessment used to attract, develop and retain strategic employees and management and leadership staff for your organization. We have been used for over 25 years and for thousands of administrations to assess preferences and interests. The Human Patterns Inventory matches preferences and interests against a job, a supervisor, a work group and a culture. A consultation from an administrator provides information you and your coach need for coaching, development, and career planning.


HUMAN PATTERNS® offers webinars, e-learning and coaching training courses. You can access upcoming events via our Human Patterns Users group on LinkedIn or via the blog on this site.

How long will it take to complete the inventory?

HUMAN PATTERNS® is comprised of 250 questions where you have to choose MOST and LEAST between 8 terms. A comprehensive assessment like HUMAN PATTERNS® can take up to two and a half hours to complete. Many individuals take only one hour or so. The assessment is automatically saved, so you can use your login to return to complete it at a later time. It is a comprehensive assessment and can be exhausting, however, the administrative process is part of the reason the assessment so useful and insightful.

When I was completing HUMAN PATTERNS®, none of the choices seemed right to me, but I was forced to choose a "MOST" and "LEAST" anyway.

Because over 2000 people have been presented with the same set of confusing choices, the output reflects patterns of choice across many people. Those questions that seemed to have no “true” answer for you are blended into the mix of all your responses as well as compared with all those other people. Even if you were confused, your scores will still provide you with useful information; especially if there are rank ordered categories with numbers greater than a .5 standard deviation between them internally.

How is this going to be used?

The purpose of an administration is to enhance communication between people and increase self-understanding. Business applications are directed at determining the best way to maximize employee satisfaction, communication, and work assignments. If you believe unfair use is being made of the results, please let us know so we can address the issue. We have withdrawn the right to use HUMAN PATTERNS® from some Administrators ikn the very rare cases where prejudice was involved.

What are Human Patterns support hours?

HUMAN PATTERNS® offers support Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm EST. The office is closed on major holidays and notifications will be communicated via our News portal on your dashboard.

How did you come up with a score to reflect my "PRESSURE" or "REACTIVE" responses?

The “most” column allows you to select those descriptors you have been trained to select as “good” ways to be through socialization or consciously chosen preference patterns. The “least” column is reflective of descriptors that call for a less socialized response. You may have some difficulty keeping track of your internal consistency in selecting “most” and “least”. The “least” column, therefore, is more reflective of natural or unedited behavior, and is more likely to be demonstrated when there is pressure or a context that encourages uninhibited exhibition of preferences.

What do the numbers at the side of a graph mean?

These are standard deviation scores. They show how your choices differed from the most “typical” choices. Each graph is self-adjusting to give you what we call “granularity”. This means that you can see a “picture” of your pattern even if your answers were close to “typical”. Greater standard deviations than .5 will begin to be features that others might notice in you.

I was having a bad day or was in a bad situation when I complted HUMAN PATTERNS®. How will that impact my scores?

Scores do change depending on the context in which the test is administered. If the test taker is under pressure to produce a “pattern” that they may believe the “boss” would want or is in some doubt as to how they should be in their present life circumstances, their “most” responses would tend to more strongly reflect those expectations or conclusions. The “least” column is a more consistent reflection of preferences over time. When HUMAN PATTERNS® has been administered to individuals at different times or under different circumstances, the pattern or rank order remains rather consistent across a category, but individual standard deviation scores can shift by as much as .4 standard deviations

Can I change my scores by training, therapy, or force of will?

Yes. When HUMAN PATTERNS® has been administered to an individual who has undergone psychotherapy or has chosen to work on a particular feature through training or changing a work context, scores do reflect change in one to four areas within a three year period. More than four changes within a three year period is rare. Most people change only one or two preferences within three years.

Is it bad to be _____________________?

HUMAN PATTERNS® philosophy is that differences between people are part of a human ecology and that it is positive and marvelous that we differ in preferences and interests. Any feature can be an asset, just as any feature can be a liability. The mission of a HUMAN PATTERNS® administrator is to empower people through knowledge of themselves and their patterns, thus the individual can rationally configure their working and interpersonal environment to achieve maximum benefit on a personal and professional basis. Employers and employees can use this information to enhance placement and assignment and management processes.

Will this informatioin be used against me?

The intention of HUMAN PATTERNS® is to provide beneficial information to people and organizations.  Generally, information is communicated in an ethical way and within a culture of open communication. If you feel that HUMAN PATTERNS® has not been administered ethically and responsibly, please call HUMAN PATTERNS® at 1.919.740.5010 so we can take corrective action and discontinue providing outputs to that person or organization.

What if I think the results are wrong?

They might well be wrong. The areas that people challenge are often areas that they want badly to be “good” at or do not want employers or others to find that it are not a natural preference of theirs. In this case, the defensive response is more reflective of a need to be perceived in a given fashion, rather than a problem with a scored output. Trust of others or of management may be low, or a need to be perfect may be part of the energy behind the disagreement. HUMAN PATTERNS® administrators report these differences to HUMAN PATTERNS® for us to evaluate further and they are encouraged to support any person who has completed HUMAN PATTERNS® in such a fashion as to maintain their self-esteem. Because HUMAN PATTERNS® is a reflection of statistical information that is self-reported, the resulting output is reflective of that individual as compared with the self-reports of others. It is conceivable that all others taking HUMAN PATTERNS® have mistaken themselves in their self-reporting, but it is not likely.


Others will challenge the results on the basis of extensive training and skill development to compensate for an area of disinterest. These are often legitimate challenges, because these people can do the task or activity or behavior through training or force of will. HUMAN PATTERNS® still registers their rejection of the area as an interest or preference. In these cases, the test still accurately reflects preferences, but misses the mark in reflecting skills.

I took another instrument and the results are different. Which is right?

Both may be right. Both may be wrong. Both may be partially right. People who measure preferences and interests and other aspects of personality are called psychometricians. They have standards for determining whether an instrument is statistically sound and therefore potentially “right”. HUMAN PATTERNS® compares adequately against standards psychometricians discuss in their literature. There is much argument in this field. HUMAN PATTERNS is probably at least as right as any competitive instrument. If you are aware of an instrument that seems much more correct, please send HUMAN PATTERNS® information about that instrument so that we can compare it with HUMAN PATTERNS® and learn how to improve the tool.

What should happen between my manager and me if we share our results?

Your administrator can prepare a paired comparison of you with your manager. Both of you can discuss your differences with the administrator as a mediator and interpreter. The benefit of such a discussion is to enable you and your manager to plan for filling in “gaps” in preferences and expectations of the job as well as to prepare strategies to handle differences in style before an event turns these differences into a “problem”. Both you and your manager should leave the meeting with a comfortable sense of mutual expectations.


A. Laffoley

Academic Program Director Raleigh- Durham, NC

I used the Human Patterns Inventory in the development program for high potential senior leaders and recommend it as an effective tool as part of any comprehensive employee development program. In my opinion an important differentiator of this tool is the light it shines on the switches that may occur in our behavior when we are in reaction mode (e.g. in a stressful situation). Bringing awareness to where this occurs is invaluable to an individual’s personal development.

K. Jobe

Executive Recruiter Charlotte, North Carolina Area

I have used the Human Patterns as an internal recruiter as well as during client “coaching” engagements. It is the most comprehensive psychometric test that I have ever worked with. I highly recommend this tool to any organization that is committed to talent optimization.

F. Christian

Managing Director Chicago, IL

Human Patterns is a rare exception among assessment tools. Most are simplistic and slipshod, more mirrors of their creators' craniums than windows into one's own. Human Patterns has a richness that allows me to start meaningful conversations with the hidden high potentials I work with, who after years of severe underemployment have lost sight of themselves and their unique ways of working with the world. I'm so enthusiastic I now require it for new clients to shortcut to solutions.