Personality: Indicator for Job Success?

The technology sector has the highest turnover rate amongst all other sectors due to its fast and dynamic nature.

Given that we operate in a candidate-based market, an organisation needs to ensure that it is able to attract, hire, and retain the best talent and avoid high attrition rates.

A recurrent question in an organisation is: How do we facilitate a smooth end-to-end hiring process? An organisation has to have the right systems in place, and this process starts with ensuring a solid candidate identification process.  Is this hire bought on to fix a problem? To implement processes? To drive sales to increase the revenue?

Most importantly, how can an employer identify the “right” talent during the hiring process which can ultimately predict their job performance?

Market Feedback

A persistent issue we find amongst employees in commercial roles (Sales, Account Management) within the technology market centres around their targets and the target setting process. Is this due to a high level of expectation set by senior management?

From an organisational perspective, it would make sense to hire the “right” individual who will excel in the role. If personality predicts job performance – surely certain personality traits can be identified during the hiring process to streamline employee selection?

Research into this area centres five constructs to measure personality, the five-factor model (“The Big Five”),  across five personality dimensions:

  1. Openness to Experience: This trait relates to one’s adaptability, creativity and acceptance to novel ideas
  2. Conscientiousness:  Those high in this trait have high levels of goal-directed behaviours, good impulse control, organised and mindful of details
  3. Extroversion: This trait features sociability, warmth, assertiveness, positivity and high levels of activity
  4. Agreeableness: This domain relates to someone who is warm, cooperative and trusting; places a high emphasis on interpersonal relationships at work
  5. Neuroticism: This personality trait exhibits emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability and sadness

Conscientiousness is arguably the most important personality predictor of job performance and some may argue the only dimension used in employee selection. Studies have indicated that individuals who score high on this dimension tend to set higher targets for themselves and are more likely to achieve them (Barrick & Mount, 1991) – in a meta-analysis found this to be the most indicative of professional (.20) and sales (.23) roles.

What type of individuals would you hire your organisation? A highly extroverted individual may not necessarily be a great leader, and conversely one who is highly flexible and adaptable may not necessarily be your top Sales person. Even a “unicorn” who excels and demonstrates traits across the desirable dimensions may require further assessment when diving deeper to establish whether their goals are aligned with that of the organisation.


The Big Five

(Source: TechRepublic)

This article was written by Christine Ng, Team Lead at Saul&Partners. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn