Psych Tests to Keep Your Turnover Low

Last Updated Jun 4, 2008 2:00 PM EDT

The Takeaway: On BNET recently, the topic of whether you should hire a job-hopper stirred up a storm of comments both defending and denouncing those with employment ADHD. Many commentators pointed out that job hopping can be a result of everything from being unlucky enough to go through a downsizing to the ability to achieve the goals you set out for yourself in a new job more quickly than expected. But recent psychological research out of Texas A&M University suggests that job-hopping and the resultant high turnover rates may be less a function of circumstances and more a function of individual personalities.

Ryan Zimmerman examined the results of 86 previous studies and concluded that psychological measures of employees' agreeableness best predicted turnover, that those with a high degree of openness were most likely to say they intended to leave, and that the personality of employees factored into turnover more than the complexity or characteristics of the job.

So what's the takeaway? First off, attempts to reduce takeover by changing the environment (add some plants, etc.) or the demands of the job (more flexible working arrangements) are unlikely to get you the dramatic reductions in turnover you want. It's more a matter of who you hire in the first place. Which, brings us to...

The Question: Would giving job candidates personality inventories help reduce turnover?

(Image of Rosie the riveter v. Sigmund Freud by huxleyesque, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.