Selecting for extroversion but rewarding for conscientiousness

Uco J. Wiersma*, Rutger Kappe

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The causal effects of extroversion and conscientiousness, two Big Five personality dimensions, were assessed on both selection and work success in a naturally occurring field study. College students (N = 96) completed Neuroticism-Extroversion Openness Five-Factor Inventory personality scales during their freshman year and subsequently provided starting salary and salary growth measures after graduating and joining the labour market. The results revealed that extroversion and conscientiousness had opposite effects: Extroversion was related to starting salary but not salary growth whereas conscientiousness was unrelated to starting salary growth but significantly so to salary growth. An explanation is that extroversion is easily observed during selection because it indicates warmth and high energy whereas it is less helpful on the job because social vitality does not affect work goals and dominance is counterproductive, especially in nonmanagerial, entry-level jobs. Conversely, conscientiousness is difficult to observe during selection, and grade point average (an excellent proxy for conscientiousness) is not requested. However, conscientious employees grow their salaries quicker because they are intrinsically motivated and well organized.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)314-323
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


    • Big five personality
    • incentive-enhancing preferences
    • job performance
    • salary growth
    • selection


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