The personality characteristic of conscientiousness has been shown for decades to predict the success and failure of employees (eg Robertson and Smith 2001).  It has been shown that employees high in conscientiousness:

  • Are more resilient
  • Try harder and persist more
  • Be more engaged in their work
  • Get better work results – more work of better quality
  • Do less bad things such as take sick days when they are not really sick, etc.

But what exactly do we mean by conscientiousness?

Conscientious employees: who they are, how to hire them

A modern definition says that conscientious employees have four key characteristics (Lee and Ashton 2007):

  1. An inclination to well-planned and well organised work.  People with this characteristic are good at getting their acts together.  They tend to make deadlines because they plan to do so.  People low in this tend to have very messy offices!
  2. A tendency to work hard and to commit to stretch goals.  These people are inclined to keep trying when things get tough.
  3. A preparedness to dot the Is and cross the Ts.  We also believe that if people are too high on this it can be career hindering because it can indicate difficulties in leaving the minutiae behind.
  4. A tendency to self-control and an ability to self-manage.  People with this characteristic are much safer to be around because they tend not to act on impulses.

All things being equal it is much better to hire conscientious employees. 

It is very easy to measure these characteristics in job candidates with psychometric testing and assessments. The testing we provide in this area can provide a distinct advantage for your hiring process.


Andrew Marty
Managing Director


Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2007). Empirical, theoretical, and practical advantages of the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11, 150-166.

Robertson, I.T., & Smith, M. (2001). Personnel selection. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, 441-472.

Andrew Marty