Bandwidth-fidelity dilemma in personality measurement for personnel selection

Deniz S Ones, Chockalingam Viswesvaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

424 Scopus citations


This paper presents a discussion of the bandwidth-fidelity dilemma in personality measurement for personnel selection purposes. Should job applicants be assessed on fine-grained personality variables or on broader personality variables, such as the Big Five dimensions of personality? Most human resources practitioners and researchers appear to assume that more specific and narrow measures of personality traits result in better and more fine-grained understanding of the person, and therefore ought to be preferred over global measures. We review evidence that when the criterion of interest is job performance broader personality measures may be preferable over narrowly focused ones. It appears that the alleged advantages of narrowly defined traits and narrowly constructed measures are mainly due to erroneous conventional beliefs predicated upon statistical artifacts. In personnel selection research and practice, we advocate the use of broader personality traits for both better prediction and explanation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-626
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996


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