A review of the personality literature offers general guidelines that can lead to effective job performance. As such, it can improve hiring, transfer, and promotion decisions. Because personality characteristics create the parameters for people’s behavior, they give us a framework for predicting behavior. For example, individuals who are shy, introverted, and uncomfortable in social situations would probably be ill-suited as salespeople. Individuals who are submissive and conforming might not be effective as advertising “idea” people.
Can we predict which people will be high performers in sales, research, or assembly-line work on the basis of their personality characteristics alone? The answer is no. Personality assessment should be used in conjunction with other information such as skills, abilities, and experience. However, knowledge of an individual’s personality can aid in reducing mismatches, which, in turn, can lead to reduced turnover and higher job satisfaction.
We can look at certain personality characteristics that tend to be related to job success, test for those traits, and use the data to make selection more effective. A person who accepts rules, conformity, dependence, and rates high on authoritarianism is likely to feel more comfortable in, say, a structured assembly-line job, as an admittance clerk in a hospital, or as an administrator in a large public agency than as a researcher or an employee whose job requires a high degree of creativity.