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31. The Silver Bullet of Work Performance

Organizations spend a great deal of time, effort, and money evaluating applicants. Assuming the applicants have the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to perform their job, the conversation then turns to alternative questions.

Will they work hard? Will they work well in teams? Do they have leadership potential?

We assess all types of psychographics in order to figure out the answers to these questions. But research clearly illustrates that there is one psychographic that is consistently associated with employee performance: conscientiousness.

Although not as sexy as being adaptive, creative, or emotionally intelligent, meta-analytic evidence clearly illustrates that individuals that are disciplined, organized, and reliable are the strongest performers.

If we really want to cut to the chase, we should be asking applicants and their references for examples of conscientiousness. Everything else is a distant second.


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