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Pre-Employment Assessments and You: A Purr-fect Match

by Dan Ranbom
on 2015-12-01

Dominance. Impulsiveness. Neuroticism. The characteristics of a C-suite executive?  Alec Baldwin’s character in the film Glengarry Glen Ross? Not quite. Actually, according to a recent study conducted by the Bronx Zoo and the University of Edinburgh, these traits describe the personality of a far more dangerous, cunning creature: the domestic cat.

The study, published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, examined captive specimens of the domestic cat, Scottish wildcat, clouded leopard, snow leopard, and African lion in an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the evolutionary relationships between these species. Researchers assessed each species on the basis of a human personality scale, the Five-Factor Model (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeable, and Neuroticism), with the addition of a Dominance factor.

They identified Dominance and Impulsiveness as factors in all five feline species, but also some interesting nuances: Scottish wildcats and clouded leopards, for instance, were found to have an Agreeableness factor, in contrast to the snow leopard, lion, and domestic cat. Considering the personality differences, maybe prehistoric humans should have looked more closely at partnering with the Scottish wildcat.

By comparison, if you’re a hiring manager who needs a true team player, maybe hiring the equivalent of an African lion is not your best bet. When you hire an employee, it’s important to know what you’re getting. Uncovering the nuances of personality strengths and challenges that each individual applicant brings to a role through the use of a pre-employment assessment can help you to clarify potential for success, make optimal hiring decisions, and formulate plans for onboarding and development.

The authors of the study suggest that personality factors may impact how we address these animals’ welfare in captivity and influence our approach to their care. In the workplace, the same is true for using pre-employment personality assessments to help people reach their fullest potential.

Link to the original study: http://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/files/17472323/Personality_Structure_in_the_Domestic_Cat.pdf