Research Project

Personality Traits and Job Performance: A Novel Approach Using Short Games

Erik Brynjolfsson, Hossein Ghasemkhani, and George Westerman


Many companies use paper assessments and structured interviews to screen new job applicants or to help employees improve their performance. These instruments, while useful, have limited validity.  In particular, they can be subject to employee manipulation and unconscious rater biases, and do not measure actual behaviors.  A new class of assessments attempts to reduce potential biases by measuring a large number of difficult-to-measure traits, such as persistence and creativity, through actual behavior in online games.  Our research project aims to investigate the relation between employee personality traits and performance in different occupations using these new digital games.  Research questions include: How do personality traits vary across job categories?  What personality traits are associated with performance in each job category?  How do digital behavior assessments compare with more traditional assessments such as Myers Briggs?