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The VIA Survey Signature Strengths Test vs Fingerprint for Success

The signature Strengths Test looks at individual strengths and is compared with the FIngerprint for Success

Consider yourself brave and tenacious? Or maybe you’re more prudent and hopeful? If you’ve ever taken the VIA Institute on Character Signature Strengths test, some of these descriptors might ring true. The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is one of the leading assessments on character strengths. The assessment looks at your individual strengths, instead of your weaknesses. By understanding and employing these, you're able to undertake personal and professional development to increase life satisfaction and achieve your goals. If you’re curious about the similarities, differences, and benefits of the signature strengths test with Fingerprint for Success’ motivation assessment, here’s everything you need to know.

Table of contents
What is a signature strengths test?
What is Fingerprint for Success?
What are the character strengths assessment key features?
Fingerprint for Success features
What does the signature strengths test cost?
What does Fingerprint for Success cost?
Signature strengths test reviews
Fingerprint for Success reviews
Signature strengths test coaching jobs
F4S coaching jobs
Bottom line: VIA Survey of Character Strengths test vs Fingerprint For Success

What is a signature strengths test?

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a comprehensive self-assessment of your personality. It’s owned by the VIA (Values in Action) Institute on Character, a non-profit organization that explores the favorable aspects of humanity. It’s also known as the VIA Character Strengths Survey, the VIA Inventory of Strengths, VIA-IS, or, simply, the VIA Survey.

Character strengths are an important part of positive psychology

Understanding your character strengths and finding your passion can positively impact your health and well-being. The term signature strengths refers to the character strengths that are integral to your personality. They will usually appear toward the top of your VIA Survey. DiSC and CliftonStrengths Assessment are two other strengths assessments we've explored.

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is based on positive psychology, a school of thought that assesses psychological well-being and what is going right, rather than what is going wrong, as well as positive emotions over negative emotions1. To that end, the VIA Survey measures your strengths, not areas for growth.

There are 24 primary character strengths that every person has in varying degrees. However, people usually have five or so core strengths, and these are your signature strengths. Think of these as your positive personality traits. The concept of character strengths was developed by renowned psychologists Christopher Peterson, Ph.D, and Martin Seligman, Ph.D. Peterson & Seligman are considered two of the founding fathers of positive psychology2. It was released in 20043 and Dr Peterson was responsible for creating the survey itself.

Today, the test is used by individuals and organizations to gain a better understanding of themselves, their colleagues, and their employees. There’s also a Youth Survey available, which can be taken by younger people or shared by teachers for students.

Signature strengths-based methods have also been applied in the area of positive psychology interventions (PPIs). One study conducted activities focusing on positive feelings and behaviors and increased levels of happiness which saw reduced depressive symptoms in students6.

According to the VIA Institute on Character, finding out your strengths of character can assist in reducing the likelihood of distress and dysfunction while encouraging tangible outcomes through positive experiences. Outcomes include increased happiness and acceptance of oneself, greater productivity at work, better relationships, and reduced stress, among others2.

What is Fingerprint for Success?

Fingerprint for Success (F4S) is a comprehensive, research-based personal and professional development platform. F4S’ goal is to help you understand yourself and the people you work with, enabling you to apply your self-awareness to reach your goals.

The F4S platform encompasses a crazy-accurate people analytics tool that uncovers your and your team’s motivations, areas for growth, and blind spots. Human and AI-powered coaching is also offered.

F4S is built on more than 20 years of research. Founder Michelle Duval has been pivotal in the area of motivation research. Duval has contributed original findings to many different business fields. She has studied high-performing individuals and teams around the world, and has shown that attitude and motivation are key to driving professional wellness, performance, and fulfillment.

After her research, Duval’s objective was to make people analytics and personalized coaching accessible and affordable for everyone. So, she founded F4S in 2016 to offer evidence-based self-development to all.

Now, F4S has supported individuals, groups, and organizations in 190+ countries. F4S has helped users in areas including well-being, professional growth, leadership, and teaming.

What is the F4S assessment?

F4S is built on an evidence-based motivation assessment. This is the first step in the F4S experience, underpinning everything from goal-setting to coaching.

The F4S motivation assessment is somewhat similar to the VIA Survey. However, instead of looking at personality strengths, the F4S assessment gauges your motivations.

After you complete the 20-30 minute assessment, you’ll find out your unique “fingerprint” across 48 core motivation categories. You'll see how these affect things such as your communication and leadership style, and how you operate in the workplace.

True to F4S’ ethos, this assessment is available for free.

What are the character strengths assessment key features?

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths sits on the VIA Institute on Character website. It’s a free survey, however, it does require you to create an account. You’ll need to enter your first name, last name, email address, and preferred language. (Currently, the test is available in more than 40 languages.)

Then you can start the survey.

Available for all ages: If you’re 18+, you can take the VIA Adult Survey. If you’re 8-17 years old, you can take the VIA Youth Survey. The latter is more or less the same test but has simplified language to appeal to a younger audience.

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths: Both tests ask you to rate a series of statements based on how well they reflect your personality. The rating ranges from “Very much like me” to “Very much unlike me”, with five options for each statement. (This is known as a five-point Likert scale.) You can save your progress as you go and come back to the test later.

Once you complete the survey, you’ll be asked to fill out some demographic information. This is mostly around your employment, education, and other personal details – but it is optional.

Next, you’ll receive your results. You’ll find out your top five strengths – your signature strengths – as well as your middle strengths and lesser strengths. These will be ranked in order of how relevant they are to your character. You can also read a short blurb about each strength.

There are 24 strengths, with each placed in one of five broader ‘virtue’ categories. The 24 strengths and their virtues are:

  • Appreciation Of Beauty & Excellence (Transcendence)
  • Bravery (Courage)
  • Creativity (Wisdom)
  • Curiosity (Wisdom)
  • Fairness (Justice)
  • Forgiveness (Temperance)
  • Gratitude (Transcendence)
  • Honesty (Courage)
  • Hope (Transcendence)
  • Humility (Temperance)
  • Humor (Transcendence)
  • Judgment (Wisdom)
  • Kindness (Humanity)
  • Leadership (Justice)
  • Love (Humanity)
  • Love Of Learning (Wisdom)
  • Perseverance (Courage)
  • Perspective (Wisdom)
  • Prudence (Temperance)
  • Self-Regulation (Temperance)
  • Social Intelligence (Humanity)
  • Spirituality (Transcendence)
  • Teamwork (Justice)
  • Zest (Courage)

How long is The VIA Survey of Character Strengths?

The test includes 96 statements and takes about 10-15 minutes to finish. The questions use a five-point scale to measure your support for each of the 24 strengths of character that make up the VIA Classification. There is no time limit.

Is the character strengths survey accurate?

Dr Peterson and Dr Seligman worked with a 55-strong team of social scientists to develop the character strengths model.

To arrive at the 24 character strengths, they studied a number of classic works including religious traditions (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judeo-Christian), virtue works (Confucius, Plato, Boy Scouts of America, Merlin, and others), and psychological theories (Maslow, Thorndike, Erikson, and more). Each of the 24 strengths had to meet certain criteria to be included in the final classification2.

They then released Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification in 20043. Since the handbook’s release in 2004, there have been about 200 peer-reviewed papers on the VIA Survey and the role of character strengths in psychology4.

But is the signature character strengths test an accurate assessment?

Scientifically validated: According to the Positive Psychology website, the assessment is considered by many to be a “psychometric instrument”. This means it is able to measure different psychological constructs5. It has also performed positively on several empirical measures of reliability and validity6. That is, it produces consistent results time and time again and measures what it's meant to.

The VIA Institute on Character has an in-depth technical report on the robustness of its personality assessments and is consistently revising its frameworks to improve character classifications. Currently, though, there appears to be no quantitative measure of the survey’s accuracy.

What will my signature strengths test results look like?

Free and paid options: Your results will be available on the VIA Institute on Character website. If you opt for the free results, you’ll learn your five signature character strengths, your middle strengths, and your lesser strengths, with a short overview of each one. However, you can also pay for more in-depth reports – but more on these shortly.

How can I access my signature strengths test results?

Both the basic strengths overview and the paid report are accessible from your account. The former is displayed online while the latter is a PDF download. After you’ve created an account on the VIA Institute on Character website, you can easily log back in and access your results again and again.

The VIA Institute on Character recommends taking the test every couple of years, as your strengths can change over time. You can do this by logging into your account and hitting the ‘Retake Survey’ button.

Additional resources: You can also access a range of courses, webinars, and workshops, as well as one-on-one coaching, on the VIA website. These are designed for both personal and professional development. Additional offerings are based on your VIA Survey results and claim to help with everything from harnessing your strengths and practicing mindfulness, to improving relationships and dealing with change.

The leadership resources explore how to channel your strengths at work and use them to engage employees, clients, and students to help them with goal attainment.

Can I invite my employees or team to take the signature strengths test?

Collaboration options: VIA actually offers an entirely separate web portal for professionals. The Pro Site allows you to create a customized survey link that all your team members, employees, or clients can take. You can then access their character strength profiles via your account and buy detailed reports should you wish.

You also have the option to look at the character strength profiles of a bigger group with a Team Report. You can create multiple teams from your VIA account.

Fingerprint for Success features

The F4S motivation assessment is available online for free. Your first step will be to create a free account on the F4S website. You can then access the motivation assessment via your personal dashboard.

How long is the F4S assessment?

There are 40 questions in the F4S motivation assessment. Each question asks you to rank a number of statements based on how they relate to you in the workplace.

You can expect to spend between 15-30 minutes completing it. However, you can also save your progress as you go and come back to the assessment later.

Is the F4S assessment accurate?

The F4S motivation assessment is up to 98% reliable. F4S is built on Duval’s extensive groundwork, as well as considerable data. Duval spent 20 years undertaking qualitative research and her own formal study in 2013. The study involved the Inventory of Work Attitude and Motivation (iWAM) methodology. The study was a significant one, contributing original research to different fields in the business world. 

What will the F4S assessment report look like?

Once you’ve completed the F4S assessment, you’ll receive an online report detailing your motivational “fingerprint” – which is unique from person to person. Your fingerprint is made up of the 48 motivational traits that influence your energy levels and motivation for certain tasks. The report will reveal insights on how your motivational traits affect your personal and professional life.

Your personalized report will reveal insights about your strengths, and areas where you can improve. This will support you to set your development goals. You can also take the assessment again in the future to see how you’ve changed over time.

Team analytics: If you’re part of a team, you’ll also gain an understanding of how you work as a group. You can observe your team’s similarities and differences. This will help you identify ways to collaborate by taking into account everyone's individual work styles. 

How can I access my F4S assessment results?

Personalized dashboard: Your personalized dashboard is a bit like a one-stop shop. Here, you can access your assessment results and coaching programs, You can take notes on your experience, see team insights, and much more. You can log into your account and access your dashboard whenever you need, and you can do so on both the web and mobile.

Free AI coaching: To take your results one step further, you can access free coaching on the F4S website. F4S has an AI-powered coach, Marlee, who delivers individualized coaching based on your results. By utilizing this feature, you can work towards your goals, boost your self-esteem, and improve your emotional intelligence – all at a pace that works for you.

Human coaching: You can also book sessions with a human coach. F4S offers individual and group coaching sessions designed for personal and professional development.

Can I invite my employees or team to take the F4S assessment?

If you're using F4S with colleagues, clients, or employees, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the Teams tab on your F4S dashboard.

You can access fascinating insights into your team, including how your team works, their culture and their unique motivational footprint. You can observe any shared traits and any differences that could present problems in the future.

You can also create multiple teams for all the groups you work with, then toggle between them.

Benchmarking: If you’d like to see how you stack up against different people, you can find out through your dashboard. You can compare your results with your teammates, successful business people, and 14 separate cultures.

Talent search: For recruiters and HR professionals, F4S offers excellent insights that help you hunt for suitable candidates. F4S’ talent search tool ranks prospective hires based on validated success factors. This allows you to check credentials through multiple “lenses”. Let’s say you’re working in a high-growth business and need someone with an enterprising mindset. You can then narrow down your search for Entrepreneur types to find the right talent. Or, you can search for a Business Builder who would work well in an enterprise environment. There are more lenses to come!

Culture mapping: For anyone working globally, the F4S culture map is a handy tool that analyzes team and office cultures around the world. The result is improved bonding between international teams and offices and a shared vision.

New coaching marketplace: F4S has already done a lot of work in the mentor-matching space, which pairs users with the best human coach based on their assessment results. The new coaching marketplace launches soon and will utilize AI to create ideal matches between users and coaches.

What does the signature strengths test cost?

The test itself is free and yields basic results, which are also free to access. If you're after a more detailed report on your character strengths there are multiple paid options.

The Top 5 Report (US$19) explores your five signature character strengths. The Total 24 Report (US$49) goes into detail on all of your character strengths. Both of these reports are available in 12 languages.

You can purchase a Mindfulness and Character Strengths Report (US$15). This encompasses results from the Five Facets Mindfulness Questionnaire. This report is only offered in English. Youth Reports (US$10) and Team Reports (US$15 per person) are also available.

If you create an account using the Pro Site, you can purchase Report Credits for your team, employees, clients, students, and any other people you work with.

What does Fingerprint for Success cost?

F4S believes in making coaching universally accessible. This is why the F4S experience is entirely free for individuals. Included is the evidence-based motivational assessment as well as AI-powered coaching programs, which are tailored to a person’s motivations and goals.

If you’re part of a small team (up to five people), you can use all teaming features for free. Organizations with more than five people pay just US$9.60 per user to access these features.

Keen to learn more about human coaching or F4S’ custom enterprise packages? Schedule an F4S demo here.

Signature strengths test reviews

There aren’t a huge number of testimonials on the VIA Survey, however, the VIA Institute on Character website does feature a few success story videos on the application of signature character strengths. Here are some quotes from these stories:

  • “It was so much more refreshing and so much more direction [was] given to me when I looked at this paper and I was able to see that these are the things that … can help me move forward in my life. When I grew to embrace my strengths and really focus and think about … how I could benefit if I just sit down and focus on my gifts … then I will be able to be successful in life.” Rodney, Re-building a Life Through Character Strengths
  • “By bringing [our strengths] to the forefront of our minds and just focusing on one, it’s really surprising how you find you’re using others without even thinking about it.” Lorna, Overcoming Illness with Strengths

Fingerprint for Success reviews

There are numerous reviews on the F4S website across multiple tools and coaching options. Here are some of the highlights:

Vital Wellbeing

  • “Marlee helped me build deeper levels of self-esteem and how I valued myself vis-a-vis the greater world. Marlee also taught me courage to believe in my beliefs, and that it is not about success or failure, but that we give it a go, a try.”
  • “This wellbeing program blew my expectations. At first I thought the program was just going to help me with weight loss, but as I went through, I got so much more. This program has helped me shift my entire thinking and attitudes about myself, helping me to prioritize my health and wellbeing. I feel amazing!”

Increase EQ

  • “This coaching program has helped me improve the way I connect, relate and communicate - deepening my relationships with others and also with myself.”
  • "The changes I made with Marlee had an immediate impact in the relationship dynamic I was working on in the program.”

Personal Power

  • “I really struggled with the idea and concept of my own power and it was getting in the way of my work, my relationships and my happiness. This program with Marlee has helped me understand why, develop a deeper relationship with my own power and as a result, I'm feeling more confident and competent as ever!”
  • “Personal power program was great for me to gain confidence and knowledge on approaching my new leadership role.”

Signature strengths test coaching jobs

On the VIA website, you can access one-on-one coaching with strengths experts. These coaches use your individual character strengths for either personal or work-based development. Both the Personal Character Strengths Coaching and Professional Character Strengths Coaching options cost US$100 for one 30-minute session or US$300 for three 30-minute sessions.

Interested in becoming a coach or strengths expert? There are numerous platforms online that deliver certificates, diplomas, and training in positive psychology coaching, which is the basis of the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. According to the VIA Institute on Character, MentorCoach LLC is the leading provider of positive psychology coach training.

The VIA Institute on Character also runs on-demand training on using strengths in positive psychology coaching in partnership with MentorCoach LLC. The Character Strengths Interventions course is US$498 for eight on-demand sessions.

F4S coaching jobs

If you’re keen to help people around the world achieve success, you should consider an F4S coaching job. F4S works with individuals, teams, and organizations across the globe through online coaching. You’ll learn and use the F4S coaching method to support different users depending on their self-development goals.

F4S is constantly looking for coaches with experience in meta-coaching and International Coaching methodologies, among others, but a coaching background isn’t a necessity. If you’ve got wellness expertise – think life coaching, personal training, or nutrition – you might be a great fit.

F4S offers competitive remuneration, a learning and development stipend, and flexible PTO, plus many other benefits.

Find out more about F4S coaching jobs, or join the global personal development community.

Bottom line: VIA Survey of Character Strengths test vs Fingerprint For Success

Now to the big question: should you take the Character Strengths test or the F4S motivation assessment?

There’s no clear answer here, with both tests offering a number of benefits and the potential for a positive impact on professional development and everyday life. However, you can consider your personal goals to make an informed decision.

The signature strengths test and the F4S motivation assessment are each helpful in understanding the core parts of your personality. Although, only the F4S assessment identifies potential points of weakness and blind spots.

They both also deliver a (free) report on the unique make-up of either your strengths or your motivations, meaning results are highly personalized. Both platforms are useful for organizations, too, with fantastic teaming functions available.

Each assessment encompasses comprehensive research, so you’re guaranteed a high amount of scientific rigor. Thus far, though, F4S boasts a quantitative measure of its accuracy (98%, to be specific!) It’s also difficult to find user testimonials on the VIA Survey.

And if you’re interested in extra support, F4S offers free and paid coaching, whereas strengths-based coaching only offers paid options.

The decision on which one to go with ultimately comes down to your preferences, needs, and goals. But seeing as you’re already here, why not take the free F4S motivation assessment to kick off your self-development journey?

Harness the motivations of your team

Answer these questions to get a free report on what gives you and your team energy and fulfillment at work. The F4S assessment measures 48 work motivations (with up to 98% reliability) so you know exactly how to bring out the best in you and your team.

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Show References
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  1. Ackerman, C. E. (2018) 'What Is Positive Psychology & Why Is It Important?' Available at: Positive Psychology
  2. 'Frequently Asked Questions'. Available at: Via Institute on Character
  3. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004) 'Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification'. American Psychological Association; Oxford University Press.
  4. Niemiec, R. M. (2014) 'Myers-Briggs or VIA Survey (Character Strengths)' Available at: Psychology Today
  5. 'Psychometrics' Available at
  6. Authors: René T. Proyer, Fabian Gander, Sara Wellenzohn and Willibald Ruch. (2015) ‘Strengths-based positive psychology interventions: a randomized placebo-controlled online trial on long-term effects for a signature strengths- vs. a lesser strengths-intervention’. Available at:

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