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What Are Personality Traits and Why Are They Important at Work?

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Desislava Kaloyanova, author of the article with title "What Are Personality Traits and Why Are They Important for Work?"

Author: Desislava Kaloyanova

Date of Publication: 22/08/2022

According to APA Dictionary of Psychology, the study of personality traits can be useful in summarizing, predicting, and explaining an individual’s behavior. There are certain characteristics or traits we are born with, whereas others we acquire over time through our environment, family, and friends.

A very important part is to be aware of the traits we possess and of the personality type we are. This is because some of these traits might be useful at work or in our personal life, while others could hinder our potential and affect our relationships with others.

The Big Five personality traits

The Big Five personality traits

Each person is distinguished by certain characteristics, qualities and emotions. This is what makes each individual unique. One of the most famous and used models to explain personality traits is the "Big Five" model. This five-factor model is also known as the OCEAN model, where each letter stands for a personality trait that exists on a spectrum. The 5 traits are:

  • Openness - is a characteristic that includes the desire for new adventures and experiences. Besides this, it is the desire to learn and become familiar with new cultures. People who score high on this trait usually have a high level of acceptance of differences.

  • Conscientiousness - is a trait that involves the willingness to be careful and diligent. People who score high on conscientiousness do their work with high levels of precision and are often considered perfectionists.

  • Extroversion - people who score high on this trait tend to feel energized by interacting with others. Because of this, they are often found in large groups and they are not afraid to start a conversation with strangers.

  • Agreeableness - is a trait characterized by high degrees of kindness and altruism. People with high levels of agreeableness have high levels of prosocial behavior and empathy. Hence, they are often caring and helpful towards others.

  • Neuroticism - people who exhibit high levels of neuroticism often have high levels of emotional instability, sadness, irritability, anxiety, and mood swings. These people also have a pessimistic view of events and they tend to respond to difficult situations with high stress levels - both at work and in their personal lives.

The personality traits at work

The personality traits in the workplace

Recruiters are interested in personality traits at work because they are quite indicative of how a person will interact with others or react to situations in the workplace. The awareness of your own personality traits as well as others’ can help you do your best at work. As a result, it can also enhance workplace relationships and your experience of career fulfillment.

In job interviews, the question of personality traits is very present. In fact, it is common for the recruiter to run some kind of test to determine the personality traits of the job applicant.

Personality traits are important to know how someone is likely to respond (both emotionally and behaviorally) in a given situation. However, it is also important to keep in mind that everyone is different. Hence, two people might have the same personality trait(s) but still respond differently when faced with the same challenge.


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