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What is Openness to Experience?

Openness to Experience

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, explains what is openness to experience.

grey clock icon 1:12 Quickly understand what is openness to experience.

Openness to experience is a personality trait that reflects an individual's willingness to be open-minded, curious, and receptive to new ideas, experiences, and perspectives. People who score highly on openness to experience tend to have a broad range of interests, enjoy exploring new ideas and perspectives, and are open to change and new experiences. They are often seen as creative, intellectually curious, and open-minded individuals. People who score low on openness to experience tend to be more traditional, prefer familiar experiences, and have a narrower range of interests.

Openness to experience is a major constituent of the Big Five personality traits, alongside conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and extraversion. It also appears in other models of personality, such as the HEXACO model and the 16PF model. Openness to experience is therefore measured by a wide range of assessments, and is one of the more important psychological constructs in occupational settings.

In employee selection, openness to experience is often associated with job performance in creative and high-level jobs, as people who score high in openness to experience tend to be open-minded, creative and open to new ideas. They are more likely to excel in roles that require creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. They are also more likely to be successful in roles that require problem-solving, critical thinking, and innovation. Research also shows that openness to experience is particularly important in more complex work, including high-level managerial and professional jobs.

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