What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment & How Does It Work? (2023)

The CliftonStrengths is a powerful tool for self-awareness and development. It identifies unique talents in an individual, allowing you to capitalize on these strengths to reach peak performance potential. Knowing what the CliftonStrengths assessment is helps you understand yourself, your strengths, and how to maximize them.

What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment & How Does It Work? (1)

This article will discuss CliftonStrengths, how it works, and the importance of developing your strengths.

What is the CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment?

The CliftonStrengths Online Talent Assessment is a comprehensive assessment developed by Gallup that identifies an individual’s unique strengths – the talents that come naturally to them. It is used to help individuals understand and develop their strengths to maximize their potential for success. The assessment consists of 177 items revolving around various topics, such as leadership, communication, and problem-solving.

By taking the CliftonStrengths assessment, individuals will gain insight into their talents, what makes them unique, and how they can best use them to achieve success. The evaluation also provides personalized recommendations on leveraging those strengths to peak performance potential best.

The results are organized into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. Each part contains five themes identifying different aspects of an individual’s talent profile.

In addition to helping individuals better understand themselves, the CliftonStrengths assessment can be used by employers as well. Employers can customize the themes or create additional ones tailored to particular job roles to match candidates with positions most suited to their unique skill set.

Furthermore, employers can use this information when making decisions about hiring or promoting employees who appear most likely to succeed in a specific role or environment.

The CliftonStrengths assessment is also not a one-time event. Instead, it is a tool that should be regularly used throughout one’s life journey to continuously refine personal goals and aspirations and stay ahead of the curve in achieving them.

By recognizing and developing our talents – our unique strengths – we can enter into a more meaningful relationship with ourselves and build habits that will help us excel professionally and personally over time.

How Does the CliftonStrengths Assessment Work?

The CliftonStrengths assessment explores four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.

The Executing domain pertains to how individuals turn plans into action. This includes characteristics such as independence and discipline.

The Influencing environment assesses how individuals influence others to drive results. Examples of this include persuasion, charisma, and enthusiasm.

The Relationship Building domain focuses on forming and maintaining relationships with colleagues, clients, and team members. This has qualities like empathy, trustworthiness, and sociability.

Lastly, the Strategic Thinking domain evaluates how individuals think strategically to solve complex problems. This involves traits such as creativity and analytical thinking.

What is the CliftonStrengths Assessment & How Does It Work? (2)
(Video) Before You Take the CliftonStrengths Assessment (formerly StrengthsFinder), Watch This

Once complete, the CliftonStrengths assessment will provide an understanding of one’s talents – what makes them unique – and personalized recommendations on how best to leverage those strengths to reach peak performance potential.

It also offers insight into areas where there might be room for improvement or development to maximize success professionally and personally over time.

Pros and Cons of Taking Clifton’s Strengths Assessment

Here are the pros and cons of taking the CliftonStrengths assessment.


The CliftonStrengths assessment is an effective tool that can assist people in uncovering abilities they may not have been aware of and provide them with personalized recommendations on utilizing their strengths best.

The assessment also allows employers to customize the themes or create additional ones tailored to particular job roles, which can be helpful when making decisions about hiring or promoting employees.

Finally, taking the CliftonStrengths assessment can help individuals stay ahead of the curve in achieving personal goals and aspirations by allowing them to regularly assess and refine their unique skills.


The CliftonStrengths assessment may require a significant investment of time, energy, and money from employers and employees.

Depending on its complexity, it may necessitate specific training for those administering the assessment or interpreting the results.

Additionally, if not used correctly or accurately followed up after completion, the CliftonStrengths test results may not offer valuable insights or suggestions on leveraging strengths for peak performance potential.

Furthermore, relying too heavily on this form of self-assessment could lead to an inaccurate representation of one’s abilities and make it difficult to assess whether they are indeed suitably qualified for a specific role within an organization.

Is the CliftonStrengths a Personality Test?

No, the CliftonStrengths assessment is not a traditional personality test. Instead, it is an online tool to help individuals identify, understand, and develop their unique talents.

Unlike a classic personality assessment focusing on attributes such as introversion/extroversion or conscientiousness/openness, CliftonStrengths evaluates talents within four core domains.

Each part contains multiple sets of themes that measure specific behaviors and abilities. The CliftonStrengths assessment also provides personalized recommendations on how best to leverage these talents for peak performance potential and areas for further development or improvement over time.

Who is the assessment for?

The CliftonStrengths assessment is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to understand their unique talents and potential. It is suitable for both individuals, who can use the review to gain insight into how best to leverage their strengths for personal or professional success, and organizations, which can use it to identify better and place employees in roles that capitalize on their abilities.

Additionally, employers can customize the themes or create additional ones tailored to particular job roles, allowing them to make more informed decisions when hiring or promoting employees.

The CliftonStrengths assessment benefits those in leadership positions who need an accurate understanding of their team’s strengths and weaknesses to maximize performance outcomes.

It can also benefit those entering the workforce by helping them hone their skill set and confidently enter new roles with a clear view of where they excel and where they may need additional development.

Finally, the assessment can help individuals strive towards higher levels of individual or collective achievement by uncovering the unappreciated potential within themselves or others.

Books from Gallup About Strengths

Here are a few books published by Gallup that can help you understand and better use the CliftonStrengths assessment for personal or professional success.

(Video) How To Use Your CliftonStrengths 34 Report

StrengthsFinder 2.0

StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a popular follow-up book to the CliftonStrengths assessment.

This comprehensive guide helps individuals discover their unique strengths and provides actionable advice on leveraging these talents for maximum performance potential.

The authors provide readers with an in-depth look at the five components that make up each strength – talent themes, values, skills, knowledge, and habits.

Each chapter begins with an introduction to a particular power, followed by examples of how it can be applied in various settings, such as work or relationships.

Readers gain insight into how their strengths can be utilized in specific contexts and develop an understanding of which areas must be improved to become more effective and successful.

This book also offers helpful tips for developing talents, such as goal setting, building relationships, and leveraging technology to enhance productivity.

It further suggests techniques for creating a positive environment conducive to high-performance teams.

Additionally, this book covers personal branding and emotional intelligence that can guide how to manage professional interactions to achieve optimal results positively.

CliftonStrengths for Students

CliftonStrengths for Students is a comprehensive system designed to help young adults discover and develop their unique talents.

Through the assessment, individuals can understand their top five talent themes, often called “signature strengths.” With this knowledge, students can start building a life around areas of greatness and reach their potential.

The book CliftonStrengths for Students also provides personalized advice on identifying and using these talents most effectively in college and beyond.

As this assessment measures more than 34 different themes related to talent, skills, values, and knowledge, it provides an accurate picture of each individual’s strengths and growth areas.

The access code found within the book grants students the opportunity to take the CliftonStrengths assessment and gain insight into what makes them truly unique.

Strengths-Based Parenting

Gallup also authored a guidebook on Strengths Based Parenting, providing practical advice and strategies for instilling confidence in children by helping parents identify and develop their talents into strengths.

The book was based on Gallup data and offers guidance on setting up kids for success through leveraging natural abilities.

It helps parents recognize their unique combination of talents and those of their children. It encourages parents to focus on developing skills, knowledge, and habits related to each strength to maximize performance potential.

The book also provides information about the five components that make up each strength – talent themes, values, skills, knowledge, and habits – allowing readers to understand how their powers can be used most effectively.

The guidebook further outlines strategies for creating a positive environment where children can feel encouraged and supported. This includes tips on how to set expectations with an emphasis on effort instead of outcomes; use meaningful feedback; foster independence and resilience; build relationships; manage stress points; provide opportunities for collaboration and self-expression; and more.

Strengths-Based Leadership

Gallup authored a guidebook on Strengths Based Leadership, providing robust research and actionable ideas for leading people toward a better future.

(Video) Quick Talk: Clifton Strengths Assessment Introduction

The book offers advice on developing personal strengths, setting up teams for success through leveraging collective abilities, building relationships, managing stress points, and creating a positive environment conducive to high-performance outcomes.

For those completing the CliftonStrengths assessment, the book provides an in-depth understanding of their top five talent themes and how they can be used most effectively.

It helps readers recognize their strengths and those of their team members and encourages them to focus on developing skills and habits related to each power.

CliftonStrengths Resource Guide

This comprehensive resource guide provides an in-depth look at CliftonStrengths, the assessment tool designed to measure and identify individual talents.

How Accurate Is the CliftonStrengths?

CliftonStrengths is a highly reliable and accurate assessment tool.

The formula Talent x Investment = Strength captures the concept that talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied with an investment of time to develop skills and a knowledge base.

The reliability of this assessment is supported by extensive research conducted over several years, which consistently shows results remain stable when taken without distractions or taken in a non-native language.

Gallup’s research paper outlines five components that make up each strength – talent themes, values, skills, knowledge, and habits – allowing readers to understand how their powers can be used most effectively.

To ensure accuracy and precision, the assessment tool should be taken multiple times at different intervals before drawing any conclusions, as even slight changes in personal circumstances could alter responses and outcomes.

To obtain optimal results, it is essential to answer all questions honestly while being mindful of how your environment may influence the answers given.

What are the Rarest CliftonStrengths?

The command is the rarest of all 34 strengths. It measures the individual’s ability to lead and direct others.

People with this strength feel confident in their ability to take charge and have a strong sense of ownership when solving problems or making decisions.

They are natural-born leaders who bring clarity, direction, and purpose to any team they’re a part of.

Self-Assurance is another one of the rarer CliftonStrength themes. This strength reflects an individual’s confidence in their abilities regardless of external influences or opinions.

People with this strength feel comfortable expressing their ideas and thoughts and taking risks that they believe will help them reach their goals despite potential failure.

Significance is another rare strength that reflects an individual’s desire for recognition from others for their accomplishments. People with this strength thrive off external praise and appreciation for a job well done, which helps spur them forward on the path to success.

They strive for recognition for their hard work but do not let egos get in the way of completing tasks effectively and efficiently.

Discipline is a critical component of success which refers to an individual’s ability to stay focused on tasks even when faced with adversity or distraction. Those with this strength can develop routines and habits that enable them to remain focused on long-term objectives while maintaining clear short-term goals in mind at all times.

Finally, Context is another of the least common strengths, focusing on an individual’s ability to interpret information quickly by looking at it through multiple perspectives simultaneously.

(Video) 5 Steps to Help you Take the Your Gallup CliftonStrengths Assessment

People with this strength demonstrate excellent analytical skills, allowing them to read between the lines rapidly to come up with innovative solutions more efficiently than others might without such knowledge or experience behind them.

By identifying and understanding their rare CliftonStrength themes, individuals can unlock their potential for success by leveraging these unique talents into real-world results.

What Is the Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment Based on?

Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is based on the theory of Positive Psychology. It is an online personality assessment comprising 177 paired items, each containing two self-descriptors anchoring polar ends of a continuum.

Respondents are asked to select the descriptor in the pair that best describes them and indicate its extent. CliftonStrengths provides personalized insights into an individual’s areas of strength and potential development by studying 34 unique talent themes.

The CliftonStrengths assessment asks respondents to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 for each item presented in the survey. It then uses these ratings to determine an individual’s score for each theme, compared to scores from others who have taken the same survey.

Based on this comparison, it can reveal individuals with similar talents as well as areas where one differs significantly from their peers or colleagues.

The purpose of the CliftonStrengths assessment is to help individuals uncover their natural abilities and talents to use this information for personal growth, career development, and overall success in life.

Such self-awareness allows individuals to identify their strengths and weaknesses more accurately, focusing their efforts better and making more informed decisions when facing complex challenges or decisions.

In addition, CliftonStrengths helps managers gain deeper insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their team members so that they can adapt training plans accordingly and develop tailored solutions for addressing issues within specific departments or teams.

Finally, employers can use it during recruitment to spot specific skills early on to proactively address gaps between current staff performance levels and those required for successful job completion.

How Do You Read StrengthsFinder Results?

Reading and understanding StrengthsFinder results is a simple process. First, an individual takes the personality assessment, and their responses are used to generate a personalized profile that identifies their top five CliftonStrengths themes.

This detailed report provides insight into how they use those strengths in different settings and how they can be leveraged for personal development, career growth, and overall success.

To read and interpret the results of the StrengthsFinder assessment, it is essential to understand the 34 themes of talent.

Each theme measures an individual’s ability to use that strength by applying it practically or as a tool for learning or problem-solving.

Once people receive their customized StrengthsFinder report, it is recommended to find a Strengths Buddy to help identify where they can apply their strengths in day-to-day life better and provide feedback about how one uses them in different settings, which allows further development over time.

It is also suggested that those who have taken the assessment review recent examples of strength usage by asking questions such as: How do I communicate? How do I make decisions? And how do I relate to others?

Answering these questions regularly helps build self-awareness, leading to improved performance at work and in personal life.

Overall StrengthsFinder results provide an invaluable source of individualized insights that empower people to identify areas where they can thrive while guiding what steps need to be taken toward achieving more significant personal and professional success.


By understanding their results, individuals can become better self-aware and utilize their talents more effectively to progress towards more tremendous personal and professional success.

(Video) How to Take CliftonStrengths Assessment [With Cheaper and Free Alternatives]

All in all, CliftonStrengths offers a reliable means of gaining valuable insight into one’s strengths, benefiting everyone who takes it.


How does the CliftonStrengths assessment work? ›

The CliftonStrengths assessment takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. You'll see 177 statements and choose how accurately each statement describes you. You're given 20 seconds to respond to each statement before the test automatically moves you on.

How do individuals use CliftonStrengths? ›

CliftonStrengths helps you aim your purpose at greater performance. Because CliftonStrengths focuses on your greatest opportunities for development and success (rather than on your weaknesses), you can use your reports to tackle things like your career, working on teams and your personal relationships.

Does CliftonStrengths really work? ›

Is CliftonStrengths reliable? Yes. Gallup has abundant evidence that CliftonStrengths is reliable, with excellent test-retest results (results and differences between an individual's initial test, and then retest).

What are the 5 most common CliftonStrengths? ›

CliftonStrengths® on Twitter: "The 5 most common #strengths are: achiever, responsibility, learner, relator and strategic.

What are the rarest top 5 CliftonStrengths? ›

CliftonStrengths® on Twitter: "The 5 least common #strengths are: command, self-assurance, significance, discipline and context.

What is the rarest CliftonStrengths? ›

5 Rare CliftonStrengths Pairings
StrengthLeast likely pairingFrequency of theme pairing
AdaptabilityFocus1.2% 1.2% 1.2%
IdeationDiscipline0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
WooDeliberative0.7% 0.7% 0.7%
PositivityCommand0.9% 0.9% 0.9%
1 more row
Nov 30, 2022

What is the purpose of CliftonStrengths? ›

The purpose of CliftonStrengths is to start you on the path to developing your strengths by helping you discover your most dominant talents. Talents are the "raw materials" required for strengths development, and the more dominant the talent, the greater the opportunity for strength.

What are the best CliftonStrengths to have? ›

This helps us promote strengths globally. Maika Leibbrandt's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Strategic, Positivity, Woo, Ideation and Adaptability.

What is the importance of CliftonStrengths? ›

CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Theme

People especially talented in the Significance (CilftonStrengths • StrengthsFinder) theme are drawn to doing work that gets noticed by others. They seek to have an impact on people, and this leads them away from the mundane toward the exceptional.

What are the cons of StrengthsFinder? ›

Common criticisms against StrengthsFinder

Some people find StrengthsFinder too subjective because it's based on how you see yourself. But that's exactly what it's measuring: your patterns of perceiving things. No one and nothing outside of you can describe why you do what you do.

What are the odds of CliftonStrengths? ›

About the Assessment

The CliftonStrengths assessment identifies an individuals' top 5 Signature Themes from Gallup's developed list of 34 most common talents. The odds that someone shares the same Signature Themes – or “top five” – are 1 in 33 million.

How much does CliftonStrengths cost? ›

There are 34 strengths in the StrengthsFinder® test (aka CliftonStrengths® test). With the standard results from the test (which costs $19.99), you will find out your top five strengths, in order. For an additional $39.99, you can find out all 34 of your strengths, from strongest to weakest.

Should I put CliftonStrengths on my resume? ›

Before drafting your resume, take the time to inventory 5-15 of your greatest strengths. If you have completed credible strength assessments, such as Gallup CliftonStrengths, include those findings here. Keep in mind, for each strength you claim, you'll need examples or other evidence to bolster that claim.

Is there a test like CliftonStrengths? ›

High5 Test

If you're looking for a free alternative to the CliftonStrengths assessment, you can check out High5 Test. High5 Test is a free strengths finder test that aims to help you understand and appreciate yourself and others by finding your personal strengths.

How often should you take the CliftonStrengths assessment? ›

It is important to know, that most individuals will not see meaningful changes in their results over time and, as a result, our general recommendation is that individuals do not need to retake the assessment.

What is the least common CliftonStrengths? ›

CliftonStrengths® auf Twitter: „The 5 least common #strengths are: command, self-assurance, significance, discipline and context.

How many people have completed CliftonStrengths? ›

Clifton invented the CliftonStrengths assessment, which has been completed by 30,126,508 people.

What do the colors mean in CliftonStrengths? ›

And they're represented by color in the CliftonStrengths, StrengthsFinder report. And those are purple for executing talents. Those are blue for relationship talent themes. They're red for strategic thinking talent themes, and their yellow for influencing talent themes.

Is CliftonStrengths test retest reliable? ›

Gallup's test-retest statistical correlation studies of CliftonStrengths assessments yield a correlation hovering around 0.7. A correlation of "1" would mean every single time you take the CliftonStrengths assessment your Full 34 would be in exactly the same order. (That'll never happen.)

Is empathy a Clifton strength? ›

Empathy is a theme in the Relationship Building domain of CliftonStrengths. People with dominant Relationship Building themes like Empathy build strong relationships that hold a team together and make it greater than the sum of its parts.

What is the Clifton strength Woo? ›

Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing.

What is the difference between CliftonStrengths and insights? ›

In the Insights Discovery report, the "barriers to" list specifies items to avoid, while the CliftonStrengths Coach would discuss how to avoid the barriers but also how the employee can find a partner with the talents to help manage their weaknesses.

Is CliftonStrengths free? ›

The Clifton StrengthsFinder is a strengths-based measure of individual emotional, cognitive, and social skills and talents. The basic option is free. More detailed scoring reports are available for purchase.

What are the 4 themes for CliftonStrengths? ›

People with dominant Strategic Thinking themes like Context absorb and analyze information that informs better decisions. Each of the 34 CliftonStrengths sort to one of four domains -- Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking.

What is the most popular StrengthsFinder? ›

The StrengthsFinder Theme of Achiever has remained the most commonly occurring Strength, showing up in more than 31% of 15 million individual's Top 5 Strengths.

What are the benefits of StrengthsFinder? ›

5 Benefits of Using Gallup's StrengthsFinder in Your Company
  • Place People in the Right Roles. Knowing where each person's strengths lie can help you place them in roles that make the most of their talents. ...
  • Promote Positive Coaching. ...
  • Individualize Management. ...
  • Facilitate Collaboration. ...
  • Improve Self-Awareness.
Oct 1, 2018

What are the benefits of strengths assessment? ›

The StrengthsFinder assessment helps you or your client to:
  • Discover what you naturally do best.
  • Learn how to develop your greatest talents.
  • Use your customized results to live your best life.

What are the benefits of using strengths? ›

Having higher self-esteem – People who used their strengths more often reported higher levels of self-esteem. Having higher confidence – People who used their strengths more reported higher levels of belief that they can achieve the things they want to achieve.

How long does it take to complete CliftonStrengths 34? ›

The CliftonStrengths assessment takes approximately 45 minutes to complete on average.

Do employers want to see soft skills on resume? ›

Conveying your soft skills on your resume is a crucial way of whetting a hiring manager's appetite for a deeper conversation at interview. Your hard skills are easy to understand (and often at the same level of many other candidates), so it is your soft skills that will help you to stand out.

Do employers look for hard skills? ›

Hard skills are important for your resume, as employers look for them when hiring. Hard skills alone don't translate into success, as employees also need other skills, such as soft skills. Unlike soft skills, hard skills can be quantified.

Is it better to work on your strengths or weaknesses? ›

In fact, when leaders, teams, cultures, and individuals focus on strengths, they have a better chance at winning than if they focus on improving deficiencies. This same research shows that empowering, successful cultures are those that engage employees and capitalize on individual capabilities.


1. Brief Step by Step Guide on CliftonStrengths Assessment.
(Kelly Lohman)
2. Understanding the 34 Themes of CliftonStrengths
3. CliftonStrengths Assessment | The Best Way to Know Your Top 5 Personal Strengths
(Jordan Ring)
4. What is Gallup StrengthsFinder? / What is CliftonStrengths?
(Elvira Marie Chang)
5. Clifton Strengths Test | Explained by Toolshero
6. Clifton Strengthsfinder 34 Assessment By Gallup | Best Personality Test
(Taylor Benterud)


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