How Do Personality Traits Predict Success in the Workplace?

Press Release from Talent Select AI

According to research from Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 85% of job success depends on employees’ soft skills. It’s no surprise that companies have begun to seek ways to measure and evaluate soft skills in the hiring process. 

When psychologists try to determine what kind of personality someone has, they often look at the "Big Five Personality Traits:” extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to new experiences.

“The Big Five is often used to help companies better understand their job candidates and match them to job opportunities,” explains Marc Fogel, Talent Select AI Director of Product, IO Psychology. 

“The Big Five personality traits do not measure how well you're going to perform in any particular job, but they do measure characteristics that either help or make it harder to be successful in a given role.”

For this article, we’ll look at three of the Big Five traits that have proven to predict success in the workplace.

Extraversion: Workplace Performance & Leadership Effectiveness

Extraversion includes being talkative, energetic, assertive, and outgoing. Social interaction is the key. Extraverts often take on leadership positions and are first to offer their opinion and suggestions. 

In the workplace, an employee with an employee that exhibits high extraversion is sincerely interested in people. Their language typically contains more “you” and “we” than “I” and “me.” The extroverted employee is also a doer and accomplishes their goals by influencing and persuading others. 

Many extroverts thrive in fast-paced settings with many people and are stimulated by team collaboration, multitasking, and adapting to sudden changes – all beneficial things in the workplace. 

Extraversion has emerged as a critical predictor of job performance, especially in occupations that involve social interaction, and has been found to correlate with both leadership emergence and effectiveness. 

Agreeableness: Workplace Performance & Career Advancement

Agreeableness is a personality trait that describes an individual’s ability to put others' needs before their own. More agreeable people are more likely to be empathetic and enjoy helping and working with people who need more help.

In a 2022 study, scientists pinpointed agreeableness as the one personality trait out of the Big Five most essential for job performance and career advancement.

“Agreeableness is the personality trait primarily concerned with helping people and building positive relationships, which is not lost on organizational leaders,” the study authors noted. 

If an employee is agreeable, they’re easy to get along with, optimistic, cooperative, approachable, and work as a team member. It’s easy to see how these characteristics can positively impact job performance.

Conscientiousness: Workplace Performance & Job Satisfaction

Conscientiousness is a fundamental personality trait that reflects the tendency to be responsible, organized, hard-working, goal-oriented, and adhere to norms and rules. 

Conscientious people have self-control and are reliable in the workplace and personal life. 

Many researchers have found conscientiousness to be the best and most reliable predictor of workplace performance. Being conscientious also makes it more likely that an employee earns a higher income and achieves more job satisfaction throughout their life.

An employee who is highly conscientious attain their goals through foresight and effective planning. Conscientious people are detail-oriented, consider how their behavior affects others, and effectively meet deadlines.

“Most jobs will require these traits or some subset of them,” explains Michael Campion, Ph.D., leading IO psychologist and advisor to Talent Select AI. 

“We have found that conscientiousness and agreeableness are highly predictive of job performance in many, if not most, samples where we've studied them, and extraversion can also be predictive.” 

Accurately evaluating motivational traits and soft skills has long been a challenge for many organizations, but Talent Select AI makes it easy to fairly and consistently measure applicants’ aptitudes across 17 key personality traits, workplace competencies, and motivational characteristics.

Talent Select AI provides automated scoring of the Big Five Personality Traits, the Great 8 Competencies, and four new Motivational Traits: Grit, Proactiveness, Empathy, and Enthusiasm – all from the interview transcript.

Ready to start measuring what matters?

Schedule a free consultation to explore how Talent Select AI can help you quickly identify and hire best-fit candidates – without administering a single test.

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