I found, at Half Price Books, a great little gem of a book (and for only a few dollars!) titled, The Truth About Managing People by Stephen P. Robbins. In it, professor Robbins shared a very useful and applicable tip when hiring people: When in doubt, hire conscientious people!
The APA Dictionary of Psychology (VandenBos, 2007) defines conscientiousness as: the tendency to be organized, responsible, and hardworking, construed as one end of a dimension of individual differences (conscientiousness vs. lack of direction) in the big five personality model.
According to Robbins (2008), findings from numerous research studies reveal that “only conscientiousness is related to job performance” (p. 22).
“Conscientiousness predicts job performance across a broad spectrum of jobs—from professionals to police, salespeople, and semi-skilled workers. Individuals who score high in conscientiousness are dependable, reliable, careful, thorough, able to plan, organized, hardworking, persistent, and achievement-oriented. And these attributes tend to lead to higher job performance in most occupations (Robbins, 2008, p. 22).”
Of course, this does not mean that you ignore other characteristics or that other characteristics aren’t relevant for certain jobs. It’s also not very surprising that individuals low in emotional stability will typically not get hired or, when they do, they usually don’t last very long in their jobs (Robbins, 2008).
Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Leadership + Talent Development Advisor
Robbins, S. P. (2008). The Truth About Managing People (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.