It’s what’s on the outside that counts – but only initially.

Topic(s): Uncategorized

Topic: Assessment, Personality
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment
Article: Ability and personality predictors of salary, perceived job success, and perceived career success in the initial career stage.
Author: J.C. Rode, M.L. Arthaud-Day, C.H. Mooney, J.P. Near, T.T. Baldwin
Featured by: LitDigger

Hey there, newbie. First day on the job? If I asked you if you thought you had a promising career ahead, what would you say?  Based on a longitudinal study by Rode, Arthaud-Day, and Money (2008), I may be able to answer that question more accurately than you can right off of the bat.

The authors studied college students who were fresh out of school to see if smarts and personality would predict perceptions of future success and/or actually bringing in the dough. The researchers conceptualized smarts, or ability, as general cognitive ability and emotional intelligence.

Surprisingly enough, they found no link between smarts and any type of career success measured . . . so a bigger brain doesn’t necessarily mean deeper pockets.

The study did find that more extraverted, less agreeable, and (uh oh, ladies, here it
comes) male types made more money early in their careers. That’s right, folks . . . being forthcoming, overly social, cranky when you don’t get your way, and masculine might cash out into a monetary advantage.

Participants who were more emotionally stable and demonstrated more proactive tendencies were also more likely to perceive themselves as successful in their jobs. Extraverts were more likely to regard themselves as successful in their careers. So, a little personality seems to go a long way early on in an employee’s career.

Given that a meta-analysis by Ng, et al. back in 2005 found cognitive ability to be predictive of middle-stage career success, Rode et al. (2008) raises a good question:  If personality is more  predictive of employee success in the beginning, and if ability is more predictive of success over time, how should you lean when choosing among applicants? What does the hiring manager do?

If you’re in charge of hiring, you may ask yourself these questions: 1) Is the company overly rewarding of extraverted personalities? 2) Is pure ability being overlooked? 3) Are we giving high ability / low personality types enough encouragement and appreciation? 4) Given the nature of the job, which characteristics are most likely to lead to successful performance?

Remember, if you’re not naturally any of the personality types described above, try thinking of the types of behaviors those types of people exhibit . . . and then copy those behaviors. If they might  lead to future success, there’s no harm trying them out, right?

Rode, J.C., Arthaud-Day, M.L., Mooney, C.H., Near, J.P., & Baldwin, T.T. (2008). Ability and personality predictors of salary, perceived job success, and perceived career success in the initial career stage.  International Journal of Selection and Assessment,16(3) 292-299.