The “Big 5” personality factors used for employee screening represent five personality dimensions used to assess job applicants and employees. The theory based on the Big Five factors is called the Five Factor Model (FFM). This model first emerged in the 199os as a way for employers to understand the job fit link between personality and work performance.
Using the Big 5 for employee screening is comprehensive, empirical, and backed by extensive data-driven research. Many of the test systems based on the Big 5 are validated for pre-employment testing of candidates and employees.
The Big 5 Personality Traits are easily remembered by the acronym OCEAN. The letters represent:
- Openness to Experience: Salespeople who are more open thrive in a more fluid, dynamic, and technology driven marketplace while the more conventional salesperson prefers a more predictable, traditional, and familiar routine.
- Conscientiousness: Salespeople who prefer spontaneity over conscientiousness can be very effective at making sales but time management, follow through, and completing sales reports will be an ongoing challenge.
- Extroversion: Salespeople are typically extroverted. Extroverts believe there are no strangers, just people they haven’t met yet. They do however tend to dominate conversations, be overly optimistic, and do more talking than listening.
- Agreeableness: Highly agreeable salespeople will go out of their way to avoid conflict. Cold-calling, asking for the sale, and holding profit margins can be a big problem.
- Neuroticism: While some degree of restlessness and excitability ignites urgency, too much of it triggers impulsive behavior and vulnerability. A reasonable level of neuroticism energizes salespeople to react when things aren’t going as planned. Perseverance and resilience – two traits absolutely necessary when you’re talking about commission-based sales – are linked to the neuroticism trait.
SPS offers three employment testing systems based on the Big 5 Model: