Nature and Use of Personality in Selection

Murray R. Barrick and Michael K. Mount

in The Oxford Handbook of Personnel Assessment and Selection

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199732579
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Nature and Use of Personality in Selection

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  • Organizational Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology


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The utility of including personality in a battery of predictor measures continues to be debated, even though there is an extensive literature and thousands of empirical studies (Barrick & Mount, 2005; Morgeson, Campion, Dipboye, Hollenbeck, Murphy, & Schmitt, 2007; Ones, Dilchert, Viswesvaran, & Judge, 2007). This chapter comprehensively reviews what we know and do not know about personality in personnel selection research and practice. We begin with a brief review of the history of psychological testing and personnel selection. Next, we review the relationships found between personality traits, primarily those from the Big-Five Model, to other individual differences. This is followed by a summary of evidence for the predictive validity of personality at work and in life more broadly, which than shifts to a discussion about emerging conceptual or theoretical directions, focusing on when (moderators) and how (mediators) personality affects work attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes. We conclude the chapter by discussing critical measurement issues, particularly response distortion, and legal implications.

Keywords: personality; testing; individual differences; big-five; dispositional determinants

Article.  21023 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Research Methods in Psychology

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