POJA, An Aid to Hiring


Personality Oriented Job Analysis (POJA) can be an aid in the hiring process. Personality assessments are widely used tools for employee selection and can have significant positive impact on hiring decisions. With that said, there is some debate regarding their utility as a selection procedure. Much of the variance in the predictive power of personality can be attributed to poor conceptual linkages to performance criteria and the unreasonable assumption that there may be a pattern of traits that is “universally” linked to job success. The desirability of a given pole of a given trait is rarely universal. A personality trait (e.g., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, emotional stability) can have a positive or negative relationship with performance criteria depending on the job task set, work group, or culture. Politeness and sensitivity may be rewarded in a customer service role. These behaviors could be expected from someone who has a high level of “agreeableness.” However, agreeableness may be seen as counterproductive for a security or protective services role. Differences are also possible within jobs, between settings. Assertive sales tactics may be valued in one organization, while another might prefer a more conservative approach. These differences present challenges to personnel decision makers, and require careful analysis of both the job and person (Tett, Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991).

While job analytic processes to identify traditional requirements of jobs (e.g., knowledge, skills, abilities) are commonly utilized, POJA is more rare (Murphy & Dzieweczynksi, 2005). This is problematic considering the potential utility of pre-employment personality assessment. POJA results can help personnel decision makers identify relevant measures of personality and provide a profile (or benchmark) to which candidates can be compared. 

To conduct a POJA, a panel of subject matter experts (presumably the same group who identified the knowledge, skill, and ability requirements of the job)  is provided with a list of traits and concise descriptions. The trait descriptions should be carefully developed construct definitions that clearly distinguish each trait and minimize redundancy with other traits (Jackson, 1999). The panel would then rate the traits’ relevance to performance of the job in question. This process should allow for the possibility that a particular trait may relate positively or negatively with performance depending on the nature of the job (Tett, Jackson, Rothstein, Reddon, 1999). The goal is to narrow the choice of traits to those with the highest potential for prediction of performance by evaluating the consistency of the trait ratings across subject matter experts (Goffin, Rothstein, Rieder, Poole, Krajewski, Powell, Jelley, Boyd, & Mestagh, 2011). Once the list of traits has been narrowed, the data can be used to identify relevant measures and create a profile to predict successful job performance. Such information should significantly enhance the criterion validity of your personality measures and ultimately the effectiveness of your hiring system.