Big Five Personality Factors: Are they effective for Hiring Selection?

When companies decide whom to hire, a process known as selection, they typically look at the personality of the applicant, among other factors. When evaluating the personality of an applicant, companies frequently look at the Big Five personality factors. These dimensions are extraversion, which relates to how outgoing someone is; openness, which relates to a person’s level of curiosity; agreeableness, which relates to someone’s levels of compassion and warmth; conscientiousness, which refers to a person’s drive to succeed; and neuroticism, which relates to how secure someone feels.


Conscientiousness and Job Performance: Is Conscientiousness Always King?

Conscientiousness is a predictor of job performance in many jobs, job levels, and industries. But does being conscientious still predict job performance as strongly when characteristics and requirements of the job change? Is conscientiousness the Holy Grail of employee traits?

To learn more about this, the authors conducted a meta-analysis across 53 research studies where conscientiousness was a predictor of job performance. They then rated the jobs that were included in these studies on a number of factors including the level of worker autonomy, how much of the work followed a routine, how much thought and mental ability was required, and so on.


When Reading Research Leads to a Brain Full of “What?!” (IO Psychology)

When you read scientific research, you should be left feeling as though you gained knowledge and/or have something new and shiny that can be applied to the real world. But once in a while you finish an article and there is nothing but unpoppable “What did I just read?!” bubbles floating in your brain.


Facebook friends and your personality?

Publication: Proceedings of Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (2012)
Article: The personality of popular Facebook users
Authors: Daniele Quercia, Renaud Lambiotte, David Stillwell, Michal Kosinski, & Jon Crowcroft
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

Happy_young_man_with_laptopImagine that you’re trying to fill a sales position and are looking for someone who is outgoing, comfortable around people, and the life of the party.  Sure, in the interview, you’ll be able to get a sense of how cordial someone is, but you have 10 applications on your desk, and you are only able to interview two of them.


A Sequel to the Ring of Fire: How Internal and External Candidates React to Employment Testing (I/O Psychology)

Topic: Assessment, Personality Assessment, Selection
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (JUN 2012)
Article: Don’t you know me well enough yet? Comparing reactions of internal and external candidates to employment testing
Authors: G. W. Giumetti and E. F. Sinar
Reviewed By: Megan Leasher

Employment testing is gaining in popularity at all levels within organizations, leading internal candidates to complete assessment tests to be considered for promotion or lateral moves. When you test employees you already hired, you might expect some pushback!


You’ve Been Tagged: On the Potential Risks and Rewards of Obtaining Applicant Information from Social Networking Sites (Human Resource Management)

Topic: Selection, Evidence Based Management, Personality Assessment
Publication: Journal of Managerial Psychology (2009)
Article: Future Employment Selection Methods: Evaluating Social Networking Web Sites
Authors: Donald H. Kluemper & Peter A. Rosen
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

As social networking web sites (SNWs) such as Facebook and LinkedIn become ever more popular, the field of IO psychology has begun to turn its attention towards understanding the impact these web sites have on human resource management. On the one hand, these SNWs offer a tempting opportunity for organizations to obtain information about applicants. At the same time, there are concerns about the legality of obtaining this information; if information that is not job-relevant is obtained through the examination of SNWs and used to make hiring decisions, then organizations who use such methods may violate employment laws and put themselves at risk of having lawsuits filed against them.


Using Facebook profiles to assess personality (IO Psychology)

Topic: Personality Assessment, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Social Psychology (in press)
Article: Social networking websites, personality ratings, and the organizational context: More than meets the eye?
Authors: Kluemper, D. H., Rosen, P. A., & Mossholder, K. W.
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

As Facebook becomes increasingly more popular, employers are starting to look at the profiles of applicants. Numerous pictures of drunken debauchery may be informative to employers, but can Facebook profiles be used to assess an applicant’s personality? A recent study by Donald Kluemper and his colleagues suggests that they can.


Cheating on Unproctored Internet-Based Tests – is it a big deal?

Topic:  Personality Assessment
Publication: International Journal of Selection and Assessment (MAR 2010)
ArticleThe magnitude and extent of cheating and response distortion effects on unproctored internet-based tests of cognitive ability and personality
Authors: W. Arthur, R.M. Glaze, A.J. Villado, and J.E. Taylor
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

The future of employment testing is upon us and many organizations have turned to unproctored internet-based testing in lieu of proctored paper-and-pencil testing.

Among its many advantages, internet-based testing is often faster, more efficient, and more convenient than proctored paper-and-pencil methods (e.g., can be scored immediately, distributed to geographically dispersed applicants).  One concern, however, is that unproctored internet-based testing allows for cheating or response distortion (i.e., faking).  But is this a realistic concern?  Is cheating really more prevalent in unproctored internet-based settings?


What Makes a “Good Faker”? And Do We Want Them?

Topic: FakingPersonality Assessment
Publication: Human PerformanceArticle: Individual differences in the ability to fake on personality measures.
Author: P.H. Raymark, T.L. Tafero
Featured by: Benjamin Granger

One common criticism of personality testing is its susceptibility to faking. Faking (i.e., response distortion) occurs when job applicants intentionally misrepresent themselves (e.g., respond in ways that present themselves as more attractive job candidates).

In a recent study, Raymark and Tafero (2009) investigated the role of several individual differences thought to explain why certain job applicants are more able to fake on personality measures than others. Specifically, the authors investigated:


Stop Faking Before It Happens

Topic: AssessmentPersonality Assessment

Publication:  International Journal of Selection and Assessment

ArticleComparing personality test formats and warnings: Effects on criterion-related validity and test-taker reactions

Authors:  P.D. Converse

Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

Although personality testing in employee selection settings is a common practice, it hasn’t gone without critique.  The reason for this is simple: personality tests can be faked.  (Let’s see, I really want this job so, yea I’m conscientious and agreeable).  A quick glance at many of the commonly used personality test items will corroborate this concern (e.g., “I am always prepared”, “I make friends easily”).  Seriously, why would a job applicant even consider disagreeing with such statements in a high stakes situation? Despite the obvious problem of faking, personality tests have been shown to predict employee job performance.  Thus, there is a major dilemma over what to do about personality testing in employee selection settings.