Personality Factors – Importance of the Big 5

In the world of personality assessment there are numerous tools that are used to measure and understand personality. A trait approach to personality has been in existence since the early 1900’s, and it has been the aim of many researchers to identify which are the most useful underlying factors to consider – with numerous studies dedicated to this topic.

Many of the largest and most reliable studies have indicated that the “Big Five” personality factors, namely Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism are the most valid and reliable factors with considerable research to support them.

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Psychometric personality tests

Our last blog looked at psychometric tests and the difference between psychometric and skills tests.

The main focus was on cognitive ability tests and specific skills sets.  An interesting question, therefore, is where does personality fit in?

Personality tests

Personality tests are psychometric tests. They are based on personality research and theories about how personality is structured and how it can be assessed.  They have robust psychometric properties (high validity and reliability) and normative data gathered from many thousands of people. They look at a different type of individual difference: individual propensities to think and act in certain ways.  Unlike cognitive ability tests and skills tests there is no right or wrong answer. Different jobs and positions in jobs have different personality types that are best suited to them.  Although, there are certain personality traits where performance in a certain range is preferable for many jobs.

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