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The Big Five - Your Catalyst to a High Performing Organization

Scores across the five personality traits have a long history of accurately predicting work performance.

Many companies successfully use The Big Five - more formally known as the Five-Factor Model of Personality - to guide talent acquisition and talent development decisions. Scores across the five personality traits have a long history of accurately predicting work performance.  

What are the Big Five?

A cluster of characteristics make up each of the five personality traits: openness to experience, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. 


Each trait is measured on a continuum. Note that scoring high or low does not mean an employee is good or bad, but rather helps determine job fit. For example, salespeople need to be comfortable talking to unfamiliar people as part of their day-to-day. A successful hire will score high on this dimension of personality: extroversion. 

Benefits of Using the Big Five

Leverage data using the Big Five to build your optimal workforce by putting the right people in the right roles. As an assessment tool, the Big Five:


  • Guides talent decisions such as upskilling, succession planning, and candidate selection 
  • Supports diversity, inclusion and equity by mitigating unconscious bias
  • Reduces costly turnover by ensuring job and culture fit


Here’s a deeper dive into each of the Big Five personality traits. 

Openness to Experience


Those open to experience are innovative thinkers on the lookout for their next novel experience. Comfortable with ambiguity, they’re more likely to enjoy taking on a new, challenging project and are open to new ideas. For example, Apple founder Steve Jobs exhibited high levels of openness to experience. 


At the other end of the spectrum are those selective about new experiences. Preferring routine over novelty, these workers are comfortable in familiar surroundings and like performing work in known ways that have consistently produced past results. 

Conscientiousness 


Employees scoring high in conscientiousness care about others and are generally high performers, especially when the work is process-oriented with clear standards. Their strong work ethic makes them reliable, disciplined, and goal-oriented. As rule followers, they like to do the right thing. 


Those rated lower in conscientiousness are more adaptable and spontaneous. Their flexibility may make them more comfortable winging it, even during important meetings or presentations. 


As with all traits, overuse can be counterproductive. For example, overusing conscientiousness results in perfectionism and rigidity. Interestingly, people tend to become more conscientious as they age. 

Extroversion 


Extroversion and its opposite, introversion, might be the most well-known Big Five traits. Extroverts are outgoing, comfortable being the center of attention, and social butterflies. They gain energy from interacting with others, while quieter introverts feel drained after large social gatherings and need solitude to recharge. 


Talkative extroverts may excel at networking, but their quieter colleagues are often calm, prepared, and great listeners. Introverts prefer not to become the center of attention in meetings. However, their remarks are thoughtful and poignant when they do speak up. 


While the U.S. workplace tends to value extroversion over introversion, this is slowly changing with the help of thought leader Susan Cain’s work on the power of introverts. Many people who demonstrate both extroverted and introverted characteristics embrace their ambivert personalities.

Agreeableness 


Coworkers describe agreeable colleagues as altruistic, helpful, and caring. Well-liked among others, they’re great team members who are always willing to lend a helping hand, especially to those less fortunate. Since they like social harmony and connectedness, those scoring high on agreeableness often avoid conflict. 


Agreeable people often enjoy helping careers such as nurses, teachers, and social workers. Low scorers on this measure do better in roles where teamwork isn’t front and center as they are more individualistic, preferring to focus on their own needs over those of the group. 


Computer programming and finance are two fields where scoring lower in agreeableness allows the person to thrive at work. 

Emotional Stability 


Scoring high in emotional stability means you’re calm, confident, and resilient. You’re not as easily affected by stress. A lower score means you’re more prone to anxiety, pessimism, and emotional ups and downs. People who score lower in emotional stability enjoy roles that are predictable and safe like bookkeeping. 


Like all scores of personality, the five personality traits need to be examined together to get a comprehensive picture. For example, a worker may score high in emotional stability’s facet of anger, showing they tend to feel angry. Whether the employee expresses this outwardly depends on their level of agreeableness. 


Those who score low in emotional stability tend to be careful workers. Since they’re anxious about making mistakes, they check their work more closely than someone scoring higher on this continuum. 

Incorporating the Big Five into Talent Management Systems


Yobs Tech uses talent intelligence powered by AI and behavioral science to provide candidate and employee Big Five scores. By analyzing communications during live or pre-recorded interviews and meetings, Yobs provides a feedback report on speakers’ strengths and improvement areas by the end of the day. The tool integrates into current platforms, ensuring a seamless experience.


To learn more or schedule a free assessment, contact us today.