Online College Courses for Credit

3 Tutorials that teach “Big Five” Personality Traits
Take your pick:
“Big Five” Personality Traits

“Big Five” Personality Traits

Author: James Howard

This lesson is an overview of the "Big Five" personality theory applied to business.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

312 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


"Big Five" Personality Traits

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello, and welcome to this tutorial on the "Big Five" personality traits. Now, as always with these tutorials, please feel free to fast-forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time you're going to spend here. Well, let me ask you a question. How is it that you would describe your personality? And as employers, how would we describe the personality of our employees? And we use that to look for employees that fit the bill for particular jobs.

Well, during this lesson, what we're going to be looking at are the "Big Five" traits and also the "Big Five" traits in use. The key terms for this lesson are the "Big Five" personality traits. Let's go ahead and get started, and let's take a look at the "Big Five" personality traits.

And basically what this is another way of looking at hiring and motivation. And we're doing this through the lens of personality traits. Now, the "Big Five" that we're going to be talking about, these "Big Five" traits are simply the most prominent of the theories that are used to describe personality traits. And what they're used for is to describe humans, as a whole, in terms of psychology.

And let's take a look at these "Big Five" traits, what they are and how we use them. Well first, it's important to understand the definition. Now, the "Big Five" personality traits is a theory on personality which breaks up human personality into five different dimensions, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extroversion, and openness.

So the "Big Five" in use. Well, everybody has some or all of these "Big Five" personality traits. And what they tend to have is a spectrum the traits, from very, very high to very, very low. And these can serve as predictors of certain behaviors that a person may exhibit, given particular situations.

Now, these are important to employers because they can help impact and also determine career satisfaction, based on the personality traits that a particular person exhibits. And a good way to remember these five traits, openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism is to use the term, "OCEAN," O-C-E-A-N.

Let's talk about openness for a second. Now, openness is a person who has the ability or willingness to seek out and accept new experiences. An example of people who might have a low openness or be less receptive to new ideas or they're not really willing to change their mind about things. People with high openness would be considered curious. And they're willing to accept new ideas.

The next one we need to look at is conscientiousness. Now, conscientiousness is the ability to be organized, dependable, and achievement-driven. People with low conscientiousness tend to be more spontaneous, less organized and self-disciplined. So if I'm looking for people who are spontaneous, then I may want to look at people who have a low conscientiousness.

However, on the other hand, people who have a high conscientiousness are going to be highly organized. They're also going to be much more persistent and much more reliable. So let's say that I have a job that requires that person to be very, very highly organized and persistent about a particular task. In that case, I want to make sure that these people that I'm looking at for this particular job, people who are going to be most satisfied in this particular job would exhibit a high degree of conscientiousness.

Extroversion is the ability to enjoy social settings and new interpersonal relationships. People with low extroversion tend to be less assertive and more independent and task-oriented. These are people who get down and put their nose to the grindstone. They are not distracted by social situations around them.

People who have high extroversion are more likely to succeed in jobs based on relationships, like sales or public relations, for instance. They tend to be more sociable. And they also tend to be more assertive than folks who have a low extroversion.

Agreeableness is the ability to get along with others. People who have low agreeableness tend to be less cooperative. They'll be more argumentative about things and suspicious. They can struggle with workplace environments. So if I'm trying to build an employee base that is team-based, then people who have low agreeableness may not fit well in that particular work environment.

People with high agreeableness tend to be more collaborative. And they're really good with working relationships. They also tend to be more trusting of other people and a lot more forgiving when people accidentally mess up or they make a mistake.

Neuroticism is a tendency toward stress and emotional instability. People who have low neuroticism will be emotionally stable. They'll be poised, calm, and handle stress. If I'm looking for folks who I need to be poised, calm, and able to think clearly in high stress situations, people with low neuroticism would definitely fit the bill. And they would be more happy and successful in jobs that require dealing with lots and lots of stress.

People with high neuroticism tend to be emotionally instable. They're a lot more excitable. And they have struggles with handling things that are really, really stressful. So if I know the job is going to be very, very, very stressful and that person has a personality trait that exhibits high neuroticism, again, this may not be the best fit for that employee.

So what is it we talked about today? Well, we looked at the "Big Five" traits and what that is. We kind of also looked at the "Big Five" traits in use. We looked at each one of them and some characteristics of high and low tendencies within each one of these personality traits, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extroversion, and openness.

Now, as always, I want to thank you for spending some time with me today. I hope you had a good time. And I'll see you next time.

Terms to Know
“Big Five” Personality Traits

A theory on personality which breaks up human personality into five different dimensions: agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extroversion, and openness.