Why Openness to Experience is not a Good Predictor of Job Performance



Recent meta-analyses investigating the relationship between personality and job performance have found that openness to experience is the least predictive of the Big Five factors. Unlike other research that has sought to explain the low criterion-validity with relation to job performance, this study explores the actual construct of openness to experience, suggesting that it consists of two dimensions that relate differentially to job performance thus reducing correlations between overall measures of openness to experience and performance criteria. Exploratory factor analysis of the six sub-dimensions, or facets, of the NEO PI-R (a popular measure of the Big Five factors) produced two factors of openness to experience corresponding to different areas to which people are open. A confirmatory factor analysis on a second set of data provided some support for this result. A pattern of differential relationships between the two factors and other variables including personality, biodata and supervisor-rated performance offered further support for the multidimensionality of openness to experience. The implications of these findings for future research in the selection context are discussed.