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Whose Knows Workers Best? Their Peers

Whose Knows Workers Best? Their Peers Credit: Reflection Image via Shutterstock

Want to know what your company’s employees are all about? Don’t ask them, ask someone else.

A new study revealed that businesses will get more accurate assessments of employees and potential employees when they eliminate self-rated personality tests and instead have someone else rate them.

As part of the study, 111 employees self-rated their performance and then were rated by both personal acquaintances and co-workers. The results showed that both types of outside observers gave equally fair evaluations of other people and that those employees who overestimated their agreeableness and conscientiousness — the most predictive characteristics for performance — performed worse on the job than those who did not overestimate those traits.

"It’s not so much that observers are thinking only about the one particular context that the evaluation is for, but it’s more that they have a less clouded view of a person," said researcher and professor Brian Connelly, of the University of Toronto, who conducted the study.

Based on the study, Connelly believes companies would be better off having someone other than the job candidate assess their personality.

"One possible thing would be for those applying for jobs to nominate someone else to rate their personality rather than doing it themselves, and then you might have a better workforce," Connelly said.

Observer-rated personality measures may also be more useful for current employees getting developmental feedback on the job, Connelly said.
"If we’re basing all the responses on self-reports, which is the norm, rather than having somebody else giving them the feedback, then we may be handing people's biased perceptions right back to them," he said.

The study, co-authored by Ute Hülsheger of Maastricht University, was recently published in the Journal of Personality.

 

Follow Chad Brooks on Twitter @cbrooks76 or BusinessNewsDaily @BNDarticles. We're also on Facebook & Google+.


 

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.