What are the Big Five personality tests and how are they connected to your future career?

The big five personality tests relate to five specific character traits that make up your personality. These are extroversion, neurotic-ism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. Here you will learn about these big five personality traits and how important their accurate assessment is. You will also discover how their assessment can affect your chances of employment.

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The character traits included in the big five personality tests

big five personality tests


This trait is seen as being open to experience. Openness is also seen as a combination of inventiveness and curiosity, as opposed to consistency and cautiousness. If you are open, then you are more likely to be averse to routine. You are perhaps likely to be more sensitive and a thinker. Routine is not for you!


It is almost the antithesis of openness. Being conscientious is more a case of being organized and efficient, as opposed to more easy-going or even careless. If you are a conscientious person, you are more likely to be very thorough and meticulous in the way you work. Conscientious people like routine and tend to be change-averse. Self-discipline is high on your list of strengths, and you are likely to be very organized.


With the big five personality test, extraversion is a trait that is very easy to recognise. An extrovert tends to be more energetic and outgoing compared to someone who is more reserved or solitary. Extroverts tend to be very talkative. Enthusiasm and drive are other noticeable attributes. Extroverts tend to be quite assertive and have a very positive outlook on life.


It is an interesting character trait. This is most easily summed up as being kind and compassionate. The opposite of this would be someone who is detached and very analytical. If you are agreeable in nature, you tend to avoid confrontation. You are more likely to be supportive and agreeable to ideas and decisions. You are likely to be more helpful and trusting than those who are more suspicious in their nature.


This is the opposite of being confident and being secure. This is not a positive character trait. Anxiety, depression, anger and a sense of feeling vulnerable would be feelings a neurotic person would have. Neurotic people tend to be more introverted and quiet. However their level of emotional stability tends to be very low too.

How did the big five personality test come about?

The idea behind the big five personality test was to assess the relationship between academic behavior and personality. It was a comprehensive set up as initially every character trait was identified. These traits were then collated in to more ‘catch all’ categories. This happened as it was discovered that many character traits are related or connected.

With each of these character traits, many hundreds of grades and levels were examined. The success of the results resulted from many independent programmed of research arriving at the same conclusions. The aim of each research project was to assess the underlying factors of each character trait. Once the five main factors had been agreed upon, then their relationship with academic behavior could be assessed.

Initial results were obtained by 1961 by Ernest Tupes and Raymond Christal. Their research was not widely recognized though until much later in the 1980s. In 1990, J. Digman put forward his idea of the five factor model of personality. Further work on this was carried out by Lewis Goldberg. These principal domains contained all the minor character traits, but these were accepted as the five principal ones.

It was decided that every character was comprised of varying levels of the five principal character traits. In assessing character strengths and weaknesses, your aptitude can also be assessed. Consider a few examples as this will help you understand the concept better.

Take the role of a librarian and the environment they work in. It is a very organized environment. It is also a very quiet environment. Would you consider the work of a librarian better suited to someone who was an extrovert or someone conscientious?

Similarly, would you consider someone who was agreeable in nature suited to customer service? Would someone who was neurotic be a better choice? A more tricky choice might be a research scientist. Would the y be better if they were classed as meticulous, or open?

The last question is a bit of a trick question. Nobody is restricted to have only one of the five main character traits. We are combination of some, or of all traits. Some traits are more stronger than others. It is where the strengths lie that dictates what may be a suitable career choice.

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