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

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

Author: Desislava Kaloyanova

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Date of Publication: 22/08/2022

According to APA Dictionary of Psychology the study of personality traits can be useful in summarising, predicting, and explaining an individual’s conduct. In particular, personality traits are characteristics and qualities that make us a unique individual. We are born with certain traits that can accompany us for the rest of our lives. Also, we acquire other qualities over time, through the environment, family and friends. A very important part is to be aware of what traits we possess and what type of personality we are. Moreover, we realise which traits we want to develop and improve, and which ones we would like to inhibit. Some of them might be useful for work and personal relationships and others will hinder us in relationships with people.

The Big Five personality traits

The Big Five personality traits

Each person is distinguished by certain characteristics, qualities and emotions. This makes each individual unique and it is important because, given the same situation, each individual has a different understanding of it and will experience different feelings and emotions. One of the most famous and used models to explain personality traits is the "Big Five" model. This personality questionnaire is a theory developed in 1949 by D. W. Fiske. This five-factor model also known as the OCEAN model assumes that each category exists as a spectrum. These traits are:

● openness,

● conscientiousness,

● extroversion,

● agreeableness


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 and a high level of acceptance of differences. These people like new places, experiences and challenges and they can be considered as adventurous.

Conscientiousness is a trait that involves the willingness of these people to be careful and diligent. They do the work with high levels of precision and can quite often be considered as perfectionists.

Extroverts are energized by interacting with other people. They are often quite friendly, funny and can be found in large groups. Their comfort zone is to be surrounded by people who they can communicate and exchange contacts with. In contrast, introverts prefer to spend their time alone. Quite often it is a big challenge for them to go out and communicate with strangers in large companies. They recharge themselves when they are alone.

Agreeableness is a trait characteristic of people who exhibit a high degree of kindness and altruism. They have high levels of prosocial behavior and empathy. So, quite often they are caring and helpful to other people.

Neuroticism is a trait characteristic of people who exhibit high levels of emotional instability, sadness, irritability, anxiety, and frequent mood swings. They interpret ordinary everyday situations as threatening and minor disappointments as hopelessly difficult. Quite often, these people have a pessimistic view of the development of events. Some individuals who have sudden changes in character from a day-to-day perspective could be highly neurotic. Thus, they respond to high stress levels in their work and personal lives.

The personality traits at work

The personality traits in the workplace

Recruiters are interested in personality traits because they are quite indicative of how a person will interact with others in the workplace. The awareness of your personality traits and others’ can help you do your best at work. As a result, it enhances workplace relationships and career fulfilment. When we are aware of what our strengths and weaknesses are, we will be able to control them more easily. We will also be able to apply the necessary qualities at the moment when we need them. In job interviews, the question of personality traits is quite often present. Also, it is usual for the recruiter to run some kind of tests to determine the personality traits of the job applicant.


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