Take the classic five-factor ‘Big Five’ personality questionnaire based on Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism.
What is it?
The big-five personality test has been used by psychologists for years in order to measure the strength of certain personable characteristics, the accuracy of which has led to its use by prospective employers and recruitment companies. The idea is that the candidate will have their personality type assessed based upon five main characteristics, which are individually scored, resulting in a better understanding of the individuals personality. This then gives prospective employers and recruitment consultants an idea of the employment roles that will be better suited to the individual and allows an insight into whether a candidate will possess qualities desirable for a specific role. For example, performance in a career such as “nursing” may be enhanced by friendliness and having a caring nature, in which case a high score for “openness” and “agreeableness” from taking the big-five personality test could indicate job suitability to potential employers. Numerous psychological studies have provided support for the correlation between job performance and personality, with some suggesting that almost 30% of differences in performance ability are related to personality characteristics.
The five traits assessed by the big five personality test are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, which are easily remembered by using the acronym “OCEAN”:
- Openness, which refers to how readily an individual will take on new experiences or acceptance of non-conventional ideas, levels of creativity and attentiveness to inner thoughts and feelings.
- Conscientiousness, which applies to attention to detail, vigilance, organisation and a desire to complete a task to the utmost ability.
- Extraversion, which relates to assertiveness, enjoyment of human interactions or social settings and risk-taking.
- Agreeableness, which tends to be indicative of co-operation, kindness and consideration for others.
- Neuroticism, which relays levels of anxiety, ability to deal with stress and maintaining calmness under pressure.
How can it help?
The questionnaire itself is comprised of 50 self-report item measures designed to assess each of the five traits based upon the candidate’s responses, thus giving an individual score and a generated summary for each characteristic upon completion of the personality test. This individual breakdown of what the scores convey will give insight into what the test could infer to potential employers during occupational assessments. Such information could also be used for personal development purposes in order to further ones abilities in areas of limitation, for example, by periodically assessing competencies prior to workplace appraisals. By taking a practise test of this nature, candidates are able to familiarise themselves with the terms used within psychometric testing and the format and feedback supplied by personality tests used in an occupational setting.