Personality trait analysis may improve success rate in selecting medical students
In an article published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, Oakland University Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew J. W. McLarnon, Ph.D., and colleagues, addressed the question of “How important is personality in the selection of medical students?”
The results suggested that medical school candidates selected, in part, on the basis of certain personality traits were more likely to succeed. These medical school candidates performed better in class and during clerkship rotations. This finding means that specifically-chosen personality traits could help improve selection of medical students and suggests that personality could function as a complementary selection tool in addition to the traditional methods like the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and grade point average.
“By using the identified personality traits in addition to the MCAT scores, grade point averages and candidate interviews, we found about an eight percent increase in the likelihood for success among students who also possessed the traits deemed as important to medical school performance,” said Dr. McLarnon. “This was a statistically significant improvement, and I would argue that, as in the case of many jobs, helping improve candidate selection even by modest amounts has strong practical significance.”
|Oakland University Assistant Professor of|
Psychology Matthew J. W. McLarnon, Ph.D.
McLarnon’s article was based on results of a personality-oriented job analysis where current medical students and experienced physicians provided insight into the personality traits that might be most critical to success during medical school. Then, using the personality traits determined by the personality-oriented job analysis of conscientiousness, achievement, calm-relaxed demeanor, social confidence, tolerance and responsibility – the effects of these personality traits and the effects of the traditional selection methods were compared using a sample of 297 medical students.
Dr. McLarnon is an industrial and organizational psychologist who looks at resiliency in the workplace. He thinks the approach and methods demonstrated in this study may transfer to other areas and could improve the probability for matching successful job candidates in a wide range of workplace applications.
Dr. McLarnon plans to continue his research on the influence of personality on workplace behaviors, looking at job hiring areas that have standardized selection processes to see if by implementing the personality-oriented job analysis technique, he may find similar results. If so, adding personality screening to the mix could turn out to be a long-term time- and money-saving opportunity for human resource departments and an outcome that benefits employees by setting them up for greater success.
This study was done in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Western Ontario, the University of Guelph, the University of Prince Edward Island and the Anderson Group of Leadership Advisors and Researchers of Canada.