The convergence on the Big Five in personality theory has produced a demand for efficient yet psychometrically sound measures. Therefore, five single-item measures, using bipolar response scales, were constructed to measure the Big Five and evaluated in terms of their convergent and off-diagonal divergent properties, their pattern of criterion correlations and their reliability when compared with four longer Big Five measures. In a combined sample (N = 791) the Single-Item Measures of Personality (SIMP) demonstrated a mean convergence of r = 0.61 with the longer scales. The SIMP also demonstrated acceptable reliability, self–other accuracy, and divergent correlations, and a closely similar pattern of criterion correlations when compared with the longer scales. It is concluded that the SIMP offer a reasonable alternative to longer scales, balancing the demands of brevity versus reliability and validity. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.