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Personality Is the Best Predictor for Performance

When it comes to finding the perfect employee, you need to consider a number of factors. Firstly, do they actually have the skills and experience required to do the job? If not, then they are probably not for you. But, skills can be learnt and experience gained; they are certainly not the be all and end all of everything. Personality drives behaviour and is a proven indicator of job performance. Find an employee with a personality compatible with your company’s way of working and you maybe on to a winner.

The Big 5

Personality is most often discussed in relation to the Big 5, also known as the five factor model of personality, which breaks personality down into five traits:

  • Conscientiousness: Self-disciplined, organised, goal-orientated, methodical
  • Neuroticism: Tendency for mood swings, prone to anger and frustration, anxious, impulsive, vulnerable
  • Extraversion: Friendly, outgoing, energetic, loves company, optimistic, requires stimulation
  • Agreeableness: Trusting, genuine, cooperative, compassionate, sympathetic
  • Openness to experience: Creative, imaginative, curious, open to trying new things

We all have different degrees of these factors and that unique mix influences how we behave and interact generally and also how we perform in business.

Conscientiousness linked to job performance

If you are looking for a responsible employee that is organised, turns up to work on time, meets deadlines and likes to set and achieve goals, then seek out a conscientious candidate. Conscientiousness is the trait most often linked to success and not just in employment; research has shown that individuals that score higher on conscientiousness are more academic and achieve higher grades. In a work environment, conscientiousness has been linked to both job retention and performance as conscientious employees are driven by achievement, work-hard and on the other side are less deviant, follow rules and have fewer absences.

Happy employees perform better

Personality impacts all areas of lives, determines our mood and how we respond in certain situations. If you consider that happy employees with high levels of job satisfaction are likely to work harder and thus perform better, the impact of personality on performance could be substantial; even the most experienced or skilled employee can perform poorly if unmotivated or unhappy. Therefore, whilst conscientiousness is more positively linked to performance than any other trait, extraversion and agreeableness are also considered important in terms of increasing levels of job satisfaction. Extraversion is associated with positivity and an ability to work with people and agreeableness with getting on well with others – those that score high on the agreeableness scale should be easy to get on with and sympathetic to others needs. Conversely, those that score high on neuroticism are more prone to negativity, low mood and are less likely to be satisfied in the work place. But, it doesn’t just stop at that one employee; positivity breeds positivity and likewise negativity encourages negativity. Introducing optimistic, positive and friendly personalities into your team is likely to bring morale up and as a consequence, performance of both individuals and the team as a whole.

Personality and career types

Every work environment is unique and every role demands something different from employees, so it therefore follows that different combinations of personality traits suit different roles. Yes, conscientiousness is generally considered desirable, and particularly for jobs that require organisation and attention to detail, but for creative roles, that require lateral thinking, those who score higher on openness to experience are more likely to meet your creative criteria. Similarly, customer service requires patience and an ability to deal calmly with the public, so an employee that scores higher on agreeableness is likely to perform better than an employee that scores highly for neuroticism.

How e-Talent can help?

The Big 5 traits can be hard to understand, difficult to interpret and challenging to measure in a meaningful way. Therefore, rather than focusing on the five traits, e-Talent analyse sub-factors of the Big 5, which are essentially more specific aspects of each of the broader five traits, like accountability, accommodation to others, detail orientation, empathy, flexibility in the workplace and preference for structure. Measuring these more specific personality traits gives you a more detailed and accurate understanding of your potential employees and enables you to focus more precisely on finding the personality and behavioural qualities that matter most to you and your company.

To find out more about how e-Talent can help your recruitment process take a look at psychometrics.

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