With high expectations placed on executives and the trend of high failure rates of executives recently, there has been more focus placed on understanding what defines a successful executive. The Harvard Business Review identified an executive’s ability to form deep, trusting relationships as one of four key dimensions that separate successful executives from unsuccessful executives. Forbes notes that as the global trend of flattening company structures continues into 2018, leadership behaviors that define successful executives will continue to change as well. Executives will be asked to do less “command and control” and more “inspire and mobilize.”

So how do we find tomorrow’s executive leaders who have these qualities?

While the knowledge, skills, and experience of a candidate can be determined from their resume and reviews of past work, personality and motivating values are not directly observable this way. Reference checks and interviews can provide qualitative information on these characteristics, but are subject to bias and are difficult to compare across candidates.

To provide the missing piece of the puzzle in predicting executive success, organizations are turning to personality assessment. Personality assessments used in selection often focus on the Five Factor Model of personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability.

How can we use personality assessment results in our selection decision?

All of the Five Factor Model traits except Agreeableness have been shown through research to predict executive leadership effectiveness. Matching specific traits, such as openness, to specific job requirements, such as ability to adapt to dynamic market conditions, allows for prediction of how well each candidate will perform that role. The results of these assessments can be used to compliment information gathered from other commonly used selection techniques such as resume reviews, reference checks, and interviews in order to find an executive that will excel at leading your organization.