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Hire Productive Employees - Personality as a Key Performance Indicator

Hire Productive Employees – Personality as a Key Performance Indicator

Hiring new employees is always an expensive, time-consuming, and challenging process. Receiving hundreds of applications for a single position makes the process even more tiresome and daunting. But you need to hire productive employees quickly to ensure your teams’ success. 

On the one hand, hire someone overqualified for a position or otherwise an ill fit for your company culture, and they might leave soon, as nearly half of all new hires fail to make it 18 months. While on the other hand, hire someone underqualified, and you might wish they leave.

Bad hires can degrade workplace morale, negatively affect the productivity of others, drain resources, hurt your organization’s reputation, cost you revenue, and more. According to Dr. Blaine Landis, personality plays a vital role in career success.  

Therefore, understanding personality can help influence behavior at work, interactions with co-workers, and ultimately contributes to individual and team success. 

The key is to identify personality as a performance indicator in the early stages of interviewing. This prevents delays in hiring and encourages better long-term hiring outcomes. Here are a few tips to help hire productive employees by adding personality as a key performance indicator in your hiring process:

“Big five” personality traits

Psychology Today defines personality as “a person’s distinctive thinking, feeling and behaving patterns. It derives from a mix of innate dispositions and inclinations and environmental factors and experiences.” 

In simple words, these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors make each person unique and influence all aspects of our lives, from friendships to careers, and hobbies.

Numerous contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the “Big 5” personality traits:


The features of imagination and insight characterize people who are high in these traits.  They tend to have a broad range of interests and natural curiosity, and willingness to try new things.

On the one hand, a person with a high openness score is more creative and willing to examine abstract topics. While someone with a low openness score is more pragmatic and focused on one activity. Therefore, these people are fast learners.


People with a high level of this trait are characterized by the features of thoughtfulness, good impulse control, and goal-directed behaviors. These people are well-organized and attentive to details.

Those with high conscientiousness are good at organizing their priorities. They appear to be more inclined to stick to a preplanned schedule. While a low conscientiousness score implies a high level of openness and risk-taking.


Extraversion is most often characterized by excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness, and high emotional expressiveness. People who score high on extroversion are lively, exuberant, chatty, and impulsive, emotionally expressive. This may be easily spotted within the first couple of minutes of the interview.

On the contrary, introverts thrive in low-key environments and tend to be quieter, calmer, and more meticulous in their job, withdrawn, private, and thoughtful by nature.


Agreeableness is a personality trait that includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other prosocial behaviors. Those scoring high in this area are more likely to exhibit compassion and affection while being sometimes rather naive and submissive. 

On the contrary, people who score lower in this personality trait are more competitive, argumentative, and hostile to others.


Neuroticism refers to your emotional stability. People scoring high in this trait are characterized by sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability, sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability.

While an individual with a low level of neuroticism is better at coping with tension and stress. Otherwise, people require calmer situations with predictable levels of stress.

What does work performance have to do with personality? 

According to some modern researchers, well-validated personality assessments can predict an individual’s work performance. Furthermore, employees in positions that do not match their personalities are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs.

Not only does personality directly affect employees’ performance ratings, but it also shapes their positions in their professional social networks and helps predict job performance, as well. 

How can managers hire productive employees?

Someone would say that personality could be an excuse for low performance. However, this is not entirely true. On the contrary, managers can use what they know to create growth opportunities and get more out of the employee.

Furthermore, employers can better comprehend the specific dynamics of their workplace. As a result, they can develop stable and compassionate workplace culture and gain a thorough awareness of employees’ social and emotional habits.

Understanding and making the most of employees’ personalities to reach performance goals starts in the hiring process. Personality traits are innate, so unlike skills, new hires can learn on the job, if personalities don’t align well with the culture, role, or environment, disengagement, and attrition are likely to be high.

Tips for hiring and managing the right personalities

At the pre-hiring stage, an employer or hiring manager can benefit from the following specific features of personality assessment:

  • Finding a culture fit

Glassdoor survey proves that 77% of respondents said they would consider an organization’s culture before applying for a job, and 73% said they wouldn’t even apply for a position unless the company’s values aligned with their own.

  • Satisfying role requirements 

Certain positions require not only specific skills and competencies but peculiar character traits. Thus, a personality check enables hiring managers can rely on actual data instead of making long-term decisions based on limited interactions.

  • Improving HR efficiency

Understanding personality traits proved to be especially helpful for remote hiring efforts when accessing and engaging with candidates can sometimes be logistically challenging.

The benefits of recognizing the strengths of weaknesses of personality traits don’t end at the pre-hire stage. Companies have a lot to gain from considering personality in post-hire interactions as well. By carrying a positive candidate experience over into an engaged and thriving employee experience, more talent is attracted to your open roles. 

  • Talent nurturing

Bringing on a new employee is always an investment in long-term success. Therefore, learning and development are crucial in this stage. By looking for strong personality fits with the company, team, and role, HR and hiring managers can identify key ways to nurture the talent they just recruited and create custom training plans. 

  • Performance management

Learning more about how personality affects performance can help hiring managers get deeper insights into each employee’s habits, communication styles, and information processing ahead of making a final offer –– all of which inform performance management.  

  • Employee engagement 

For HR and hiring managers, getting a feel for personality traits in the hiring process helps understand how to keep employees interested and satisfied at work, motivate them, and stimulate workplace happiness. Thus, the success of employee engagement efforts largely depends on getting an accurate picture of candidates’ personalities during interviews. 


As research proves, in terms of performance, conscientiousness is above and beyond the strongest predictor across all job types. This makes sense because conscientious individuals are more driven, have a higher need for job achievement, and are more detail-oriented.

Accurate early assessment of candidates is the secret weapon of an effective business looking to hire productive employees.

Personality tests provide insights into employees’ minds, behaviors, and preferences and can be particularly useful for enriching learning and improving workplace relationships. But as helpful as they can be to pick up on nuances between candidates on paper, personality tests are only a tiny part of the more extensive performance management process. 

Making meaningful connections with candidates through structured interviews that even the playing field for all applicants gives you the best opportunity to identify new hires that fit and can contribute successfully to your team.

Tania DoshkoFeatured Guest Expert – Tania Dosho

Tania Doshko is a motivated and avid content creator who believes in the power of quality writing for business success. She finds her inspiration in careful observations and amazement with the fastly developing world.


Guest Post

Spark Hire is honored to host featured guest experts on our HR & Recruiting Blog. We're committed to bringing you the best tips and trends to streamline your hiring and recruiting processes. Thank you for your contributions and readership.

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