Understand your people with the Big Five Personality assessment

Understand your people with the Big Five Personality assessment

Business, Human Resources

Author: Celia Denton (PTES Consulting)

Understand the Big Five Personality assessment and you will be one step closer to knowing your people, what drives them and how to get the most out of them.

Researchers have identified four groupings, namely the resilient personality type, the strained personality type, the over-controlled personality type and the under-controlled personality type.

The resilient personality

Research has found that resilient individuals are low on neuroticism, high on agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience, are more resilient in nature, accept job demands and use their resources (Oshio, Taku, Hiranco & Saeed, 2018). Additionally, these personality types are highly likely to respond more positively to autonomy and variety at work, fair treatment and peer support.

The strained personality

According to the Big Five personality model, the strained personality type is defined as low on agreeableness and average on neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience. These personality types view their job demands as higher than the other personality types. They are characterised as egotistic, irritable and competitive, because job demands are in the way of their own, individualistic and self-centred goals (Herr et al., 2021). This personality group may even experience normal job demands as particularly taxing, because of their own limited conscientiousness and openness to experience. They experience strain because the goal pursuit is for themselves and not for those that they are working for or with.

The over-controlled personality

The over-controlled personality type is described as high on neuroticism, low on extraversion, and average on conscientiousness, openness to experience and agreeableness. They view their job demands as high and perceive their resources to be limited, which affects their own happiness, work engagement and general well-being (Janssens, De Zutter, Geens, Vogt & Braeckman, 2019; Wilmot, Wanberg, Kammeyer-Mueller & Ones, 2019).

The under-controlled personality

Under-controlled personality types are typically low on extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, while being high on neuroticism. They are often described as individuals with the lowest level of work engagement and the worst mental health. They see their job demands as very high with low resources to do it. Low on agreeableness suggests low unity and cooperation, while low conscientiousness suggests low achievement drive. This combination has a significant negative impact on interpersonal engagements and teamwork (Herr et al., 2021). Additionally, research shows that personality groups high on neuroticism and low on extraversion are predisposed to be unhappy with their jobs. Consequently, individuals with this personality type are highly likely to report less optimal working conditions from their perspective. Lower job demands will therefore be necessary to improve their mental health.

If you are looking to get to know your staff better, we can assist you with a simple personality questionnaire or more in-depth, psychometric testing. Get in touch with one of our HR specialists on [email protected], and we’ll put together a solution tailored to your unique requirements.