You likely know an effective hiring process is an essential component of every successful organization. But did you also know there’s an easy way for you to hone in on the best candidates for your team during the process? It’s called the Big Five – and it’s the gold standard of personality models.

According to the Big Five theory, while beliefs, values and psychological make-ups vary from person to person, there are five core elements of personality that can be tested and measured. They are:

O – Openness to experience – inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious
C – Conscientiousness – efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless
E – Extraversion – outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved
A – Agreeableness – friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached
N – Neuroticism – sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident

Depending on the position you’re hiring for, you’ll want to look for varying degrees of each element. For instance, if you need to hire for a sales position, a high degree of extraversion is critical. If you’re hiring for a customer service job, you’ll want someone who is agreeable and willing to help.

However, when it comes to predicting performance in the workplace, psychological research singles out conscientiousness as the most important of these traits. In fact, there’s a large body of research that links conscientious to success. For instance, a National Institute on Aging study conducted in 2009 titled “Personality and Career Success” states that conscientiousness correlates with remarkably higher performance and job satisfaction.

The bottom line? If you’re looking to hire great people, search for highly conscientious job candidates. These are the professionals who can best be described as careful, diligent, meticulous, organized and reliable.

So how do you screen for this trait?

First, ask about goals. When you’re interviewing candidates, look for those who have set and achieved long-term goals. Those who are conscientious are better in terms of setting and working toward specific objectives, as well as persisting among challenges. They, therefore, tend to be more reliable in achieving goals and meeting expectations employers set for them. To hone in on this trait, you can simply ask: “tell me about a long-term goal you’ve set in your work or personal life.” Their answer should give you a sense of whether they were able to work hard in pursuit of something difficult – and have it pay off.

Second, ask about their organizational skills. Conscientious people have a tendency to organize their lives well. A disorganized person might lose 15 minutes in search of a certain email or file. A conscientious person, on the other hand, is able to sidestep these issues through their strong organization skills – and avoid stress and productivity losses as a result.

Would you like more help finding and hiring conscientious people for your team?

Call Burchard & Associates. We take the time to get to know our clients and our candidates. We evaluate core goals and values to provide the very best possible solution to every hiring process. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.