Hiring People with Integrity

by Keith Francoeur

As Vice President, he is responsible for training and managing PCI’s global assessment team, designing and updating the assessment process (including the research and selection of the test battery and interview format), and handling custom competency mapping.

Published: June 17th, 2022
Category: Insights

Personality Correlates of Integrity

Most people would agree that integrity is an important characteristic for employees to have and if the don’t have it, it can’t be developed. What most people may be surprised to know is that whether someone is likely to display integrity can be predicted well by their personality. Research shows that integrity tests correlate highly with measures of these 3 personality domains.

  • Conscientiousness
  • Agreeableness
  • Emotional Steadiness

People high on these traits are more likely to act with integrity.

People low on these traits are more likely to act without integrity, especially if they believe they can get away with it. For instance:

  • if they are working remotely, they might slack off because no one is watching.
  • If they see others doing bad things, they may do them too.

How to Assess for Integrity

Common evaluation methods include:

  • Interviews. While interviews give you some sense of how bright and energetic someone is, it is very difficult to get an accurte read on their integrity. As Warren’s quote suggests, people who are bright, energetic, and inclined to act without integrity are especially dangerous. They can be skilled manipulators who are adept at making a good impressions and doing bad things without getting caught.

  • Integrity Tests. These predict counterproductive work behavior and job performance very well and are legally defensible. However, research suggests that candidates may be more likely to perceive them negatively compared to other tools. They also give you less bang for your buck. They do not measure some major domains of personality or allow for a detailed breakdown of personality facets. These are crucial for assessing many important competencies and work-related outcomes. So, if you give an integrity test, you will need to give an additional measure of personality.

  • Personality Surveys based on the Five-Factor Model. Most of these provide thorough and detailed measurement of Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Emotional Steadiness, which all predict counterproductive work behavior. They also have the added benefit of measuring Openness/Intellect and Extraversion, which are good predictors of being a change driver and innovator.
    Bottom line: you get the most bang for your buck with this type of tool.

At PCI, our core assessments include a measure of the Five-Factor Model of personality so we can predict a wide range of behaviors associated with critical competencies, including integrity.

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