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The Relationship between Personality and Job Performance


In an important recent paper Barrick, Mount & Judge (2001) conducted a second-order meta-analysis (i.e. a meta-analysis of meta-analyses) examining the relationship between personality and job performance. These authors aggregated the results of 11 meta-analyses of studies exploring the relationship between the FFM and job performance. They reported validity coefficients of up to 0.3, for predictions of job performance from personality tests. They further noted a consistent and meaningful pattern of relationships between each of the FFM traits and job performance (e.g. extraversion was found to predict performance in jobs which required team working, but not in other occupational roles). They similarly found a consistent and meaningful pattern of relationships between each of the FFM traits and specific job criteria (e.g. extraversion was found to predict managerial performance, but not other unrelated performance criteria). As such, their findings were consistent with those reported by Schmidt & Hunter (1998), who not only found that specific personality traits predicted job performance, but also found that including personality measures alongside reasoning tests further improved the prediction of job performance.


Most importantly, the findings of Barrick et al. (2001) and others are consistent with the theory of multiple intelligences, indicating that successful job performance is dependent on a variety of factors including: a wide range of different kinds of abilities and skills (not just general mental ability); personality; learning and experience, etc. The goal of modern psychometric assessment is therefore to provide recruiters with reliable and valid tests that can be used alongside other assessment procedures to enable them to find the best match between each person’s skills, abilities, aptitudes and personality, and the demands of the job they are applying for.






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