Researchers propose new model for personality tests

The hiring process is one with many flaws, not least of which is the difficulty they have in identifying personality traits in candidates.  A new model outlined in a recently published paper sets out to improve matters.

The model, known as the Trait-Reputation-Identity (TRI), contrasts personality as seen by the individual with how others see that same personality.

“If someone believes they are very outgoing or more friendly than they actually are based on peer assessment, that’s important information to have about that person,” the researchers say.

Thinking and doing

Traditionally, personality trait models have observed how people usually behave, but the TRI model also examines how we think about our own personalities.  The authors believe that the model could prove invaluable in predicting workplace performance, motivation and commitment.

There are well known flaws in the current method of recruitment, with many new recruits failing to last longer than six months in their new role.  The authors contend that the reference process is a flawed method of understanding a candidate, whilst personality tests provide a very narrow perspective on an individual.  It often results in organizations plumping for candidates with big egos over more suitable alternatives.

The hope is that TRI offers a better alternative by mixing our opinions of yourself with those of other people.  The analysis focuses on the big five personality traits – extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.  It’s specifically looking to see how much the opinions of others deviates from our opinions of ourselves.

“This difference has been talked about in the past from a theoretical standpoint, but now we can assign a number to a trait or reputation score, and identify a score for a particular personality construct like extroversion,” the researchers say.

Whilst the model has been deployed in trial environments, it isn’t clear yet just how long before it will make its way into real-life situations and start helping both the recruitment process but also our self-awareness.

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