The Predictive Power of Personality

A close up of pills on the table
by Deborah Bell

As Vice President, Consulting, Deborah conducts assessments, manages consulting projects, and designs and delivers custom solutions. She enjoys building relationships with her clients and uncovering their needs so she can serve as a trusted adviser and business partner.

Do you believe in taking ibuprofen to relieve or prevent pain or in taking an antihistamine to relieve or prevent symptoms of allergies?

Then you should also believe in using a Big Five/Five-Factor Model personality measure as part of your hiring process, and you can expect considerably more powerful results.

Because unlike the MBTI, Enneagram, DISC, or many other popular personality measures, the five domains are strong predictors of work-related outcomes that are of great importance to organizations.  Consider the below statistics:

A chart showing the relationship between medical research and personality research.

If you’ve gotten relief from any of the medications in the graphic, don’t worry – it isn’t just a placebo effect.  Real results are observed, even with what looks like a small effect size.  

If you still plan to grab that bottle of ibuprofen to lessen the pain of your next headache, why wouldn’t you use a Big 5 personality test to lessen the chances of hiring the wrong person? 

References (in order of personality domains in chart):

Zare, M., & Flinchbaugh, C. (2019). Voice, creativity, and big five personality traits: A meta-analysis. Human Performance, 32(1), 30–51.

Wilmot, M. P., & Ones, D. S. (2019). A century of research on conscientiousness at work. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(46), 23004–23010.

Wilmot, M. P., & Ones, D. S. (2022). Agreeableness and its consequences: A quantitative review of meta-analytic findings. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 26(3), 242–280.

Wilmot, M. P., Wanberg, C. R., Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D., & Ones, D. S. (2019). Extraversion advantages at work: A quantitative review and synthesis of the meta-analytic evidence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 104(12), 1447–1470.

Ones, D. S., & Viswesvaran, C. (2011). Individual differences at work. In T. Chamorro-Premuzic, S. von Stumm, & A. Furnham (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of individual differences (pp. 379–407). Wiley Blackwell.

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