The Saville Company is a rising force in the field of evaluation and assessment and its personality test is spreading rapidly and becoming more frequently used. Thus there is an increasingly greater chance that you will encounter this test in your job-seeking process. Among the companies that use this test are: British Sugar, HM Revenue & Customs, PZ Cussons and Novo Nordisk.

The Saville Company's personality test provides the employer with an extensive amount of information about the applicant. The test results will determine not only whether your application is accepted, but also your leadership abilities, your role in the team, your compatibility with the organisation's culture and environment, your potential for taking initiative at work, your sales skills, and other factors.

Therefore, please do not take this test lightly. Its results will follow you throughout your career in the company and will greatly influence the nature of your roles and advancement in the firm.

Format of the Questions

There are two versions of the Saville Company's personality test:

  • Wave professional styles- 216 items, 40 minutes (approximately)
  • Wave focus styles- 72 items, 13 minutes (approximately)

Both are only available online and are sent by e-mail, so you will not receive a paper format. Neither is limited in time.

The questionnaire features two types of questions. The first requires you to reply to six statements using a 9-point scale ranging from “very strongly disagree” to “very strongly agree”. At this stage, you can reply as you see fit, with no restrictions, so you can reply to two statements with the same response.

As you can see in the example below “I am a competitive person” and “I am an optimist” got the “strongly agree” response, and “I enjoy meeting people” and “I am good at generating ideas” got the “agree” response.



Very strongly disagree Strongly disagree Disagree Slightly disagree Unsure Slightly agree Agree Strongly agree Very strongly agree
I am an optimist.                
I am a competitive person.                
I am good at generating ideas.                
I enjoy meeting people.                
I am cheerful most of the time.                
I like to plan and organise my work.                

If you've provided the same response to two or more statements, the second type of questions will appear. This type requires you to rate the statements which were rated equally in the first round, and now you have to rate them again to indicate which one describes or suits you better. This type of questions can be seen in the following example:


Most Least
I am an optimist.    
I am a competitive person.  
I am good at generating ideas.  
I enjoy meeting people.    

In the first type of questions, your answers are compared with the average group. For example, if you are applying for a receptionist job, your answers are compared with a qualifying group of receptionists. The second type of questions compares your own qualities and characteristics to each other, which creates a personal scale of qualities.

Examining the two examples will show that, in comparison with the average group, the applicant is optimistic and competitive above average and in an equal manner for the two characteristics. However, the candidate sees themselves as more competitive than optimistic.

How to Fill in the Questions

First Type of Disparity

In the complete version of the questionnaire there are 108 facets, and each facet is measured by two questions – one for Talent and the other for Motive. Therefore, there are 216 questions. In the short version, there are 36 dimensions, each with two questions, one for Talent and the other for Motive, for a total of 72 questions.

It is very important to pay attention to the phrasing of the question! “Talent” questions will describe your qualities directly and are therefore usually phrased as “I am” in expressions such as “I am good at”. On the other hand, “Motive” questions will relate to a specific facet of your will or the importance of a characteristic in your opinion, and they will usually be phrased as “I prefer” or using expressions such as “it is important to me”.

Sample items for measuring motive:
"I prefer to take the lead"
"It is important to me to know how well I have done"

Sample items for measuring talent:
"I am good at understanding how others feel"
"I am comfortable working alone"

The Talent & Motive method enables the employer to recognize a gap between your motive and your talent. It is most likely and quite reasonable to see some gaps in various facets, but the appearance of gaps that are too large in too many facets (especially those which fall under the same dimension) could be considered as problematic by the employer.

But don't worry - talent and motive do not have to be equal and the difference between the replies requires examination only if it is 3 points or higher. Therefore, when you have a Motive question on a specific facet you do not have to remember your exact reply to the matching Talent question.

In an average questionnaire a gap that requires further attention appears 4 times. A significantly higher number of gaps can indicate instability. When Talent is higher than Motive in a significant number of cases, it might indicate burnout. The opposite situation can point to stress, because you do not think that you are as good as you'd like to be.

Second Type of Disparity

The unique structure of the test includes two types of questions and therefore might create an additional type of gap: different responses for different types of questions. For the moment we'll call the first type of questions, in which you provide whatever reply you want with no restrictions, free ranking. The second type, in which you have to evaluate your personal qualities, will be called limited ranking.

The gap between these types of questions can suggest that you are over-evaluating or under-evaluating yourself. Therefore, try to maintain consistency between the types of questions. Remember! The statements are similar in the various types of questions; they only differ in the ranking method. The first question is rated on a Likert Scale with 9 levels (very strongly agree - very strongly disagree), and the second on a Relative Scale (most – least) with respect to facets which you will already have rated in the first question.

Try to maintain the same hierarchy of the characteristics in the second question as in the first. For example, if you've rated a couple of characteristics or qualities as 9 and another couple of characteristics as 7, in the second question don't rate a characteristic which you previously rated as 7 as higher than a characteristic which you previously rated as 9.

In the following example you'll see what is not recommended to do!



Very strongly disagree Strongly disagree Disagree Slightly disagree Unsure Slightly agree Agree Strongly agree Very strongly agree
I am an optimist.                
I am a competitive person.                
I am good at generating ideas.                
I enjoy meeting people.                
I am cheerful most of the time.                
I like to plan and organise my work.                

In this example, in the free ranking the applicant has replied to “I enjoy meeting people” with “agree”, and to the statement “I am an optimist” with “strongly agree”, which is higher than the previous statement. On the other hand, in the limited ranking the candidate rated “I enjoy meeting people” as higher than “I am an optimist”.

The limited ranking might appear thus:


Most Least
I am an optimist.  ✔  
I am a competitive person.    
I am good at generating ideas.    
I enjoy meeting people.   ✔ 

A high number of significant gaps between the two ranking methods can suggest you are trying to manipulate your test results. A free ranking that is significantly higher than a limited ranking might raise suspicions the candidate is “faking good”, while a limited ranking which is significantly higher than a free ranking might raise suspicions the candidate is “faking bad”, or high self-criticism.

What Does Your Employer Learn About You

As previously stated, the employer obtains a great deal of information from the test. In its long version, the employer receives 12 reports, and in the short version, 9 reports.

If you are invited to a personal interview after filling in the questionnaire, you can be sure that the interview will be based on the results of your test. This is because one of the reports produced is a guideline for interviews.

If you are hired for the job, the test results will accompany you for as long as you work with the company: whenever you are appointed to a specific team, before promotions and when the management assigns you a new role.

The information produced in the results includes:

  • Detailed results of the aspects of your personality
  • Qualities to focus on in the interview
  • Leadership and development potential
  • How you function in a team
  • Style of work
  • Compatibility with the organisation's culture and environment
  • Sales skills
  • Potential of initiating things at work

As you can see, the employer receives quite a lot of information about you. Therefore, you should fill in the questionnaire accordingly. When you answer the questions, don't think about the job you are currently applying for, but about your entire professional career with this company – whether you want to develop your skills, become a manager or a leader, or create opportunities for other roles in the company.

A More In-depth Look

The theory upon which the questionnaire is based is a hierarchal model, and at its top there are 4 clusters from which the qualities, characteristics and sub-characteristics branch:

4 clusters (Thought, Influence, Adaptability & Delivery)

12 sections (e.g. Delivery; Conscientious, Structured & Driven)

36 dimensions (e.g. Driven; Dynamic, Enterprising & Striving)

108 facets (e.g. Enterprising; identify business opportunities, Sales oriented & Competitive)

Saville Wave Personality Test Overview

In the long version of the questionnaire, each facet has two questions pertaining to motive and talent, for a total of 216 questions. In the short version each facet has two questions on motive and talent, for a total of 72 questions.

Tips for Filling in the Questionnaire

  • This is an online questionnaire that is usually sent to the applicant to complete from his home. Take the time you need and fill in the questionnaire carefully and calmly.
  • The questionnaire provides the employer with a considerable amount of information that has an impact beyond the current process and which can determine your future promotions. Therefore, pay great attention and careful thought to each question before answering.
  • When you fill in the questionnaire, pay close attention to the phrasing of the statements to determine whether they indicate Motive or Talent. Try to minimize the gaps between Motive and Talent questions in the same facet.
  • Remember to maintain the hierarchy of your free and limited rankings.

Most personality tests are based on a similar theoretical background and they more or less measure the same qualities or characteristics. These tests play a major role in the employer's decision whether to hire you or not. We recommend going over our personality kits in order to be more prepared for the process.

During the process you may be asked to take different psychometric tests by Saville Company. If this is the case, you should be prepared for those as well. You can get a complete Saville preparation kit to help you prepare for the company's tests.