How To Better Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Whether you’re on the job hunt, preparing for an interview or you’re looking for the perfect new employee, it’s always a good idea to understand the strengths and weaknesses that comprise human nature. This can be achieved by utilising psychological techniques like the five-factor model, which is also known as the big five personality traits. The five-factor model was designed following in-depth study and factor analysis to help psychologists better understand the nuances of the human personality. 

If you’re interested in taking the test, there are many big five tests available for free online that you can take to find out more about yourself. Below, we’ve broken down the big traits, demonstrating how higher or lower levels of each could be beneficial or detrimental to your performance in the workplace.

The big five traits and what they mean in the workplace

Openness to experience

If you score higher in this trait, you’re more likely to be a curious person who is interested in art, appreciates unique ideas and original work, has a drive for adventure and exploration and prefers to engage in a wide variety of different experiences. It’s likely that you’ll be imaginative and will be involved in some form of creative pursuit. You’ll also enjoy working independently as this often gives you more time to explore whatever avenues you find yourself walking down.

If you’re higher in trait openness, you’ll do well in any position that enables you to be creative, to think on your feet and to engage with new ideas on a frequent basis. You may benefit from taking more time to limit yourself to schedules. People who are high in openness can become overwhelmed by the variety of potential career paths that interest them. Therefore, you should try to think pragmatically about a career path and stick to it once you’ve made a choice. 

If you score lower in openness to experience, it’s probable that you are more cautious in your behaviour. You will think pragmatically and prefer to refer to what you know. You won’t be enthused by art, culture and will be more interested in the world of the rational.

Those people who find themselves on the lower end of the openness spectrum are more likely to find fulfilment and enjoyment in a stable position that doesn’t require creative thinking and relies more on the cold hard facts. You may benefit from taking more time out of your day to listen to other people’s ideas, as people who are very low in openness can at times be considered closed-minded.


If you’re high in conscientiousness, you almost definitely own a calendar and a diary, which you actually use. You’re likely a very organised person who people can depend on. When you set a time to be somewhere, you will be there and not a minute late. You will be self-disciplined, dutiful, hard-working and will aim high whenever you set your mind on a task. You’re the sort of person who prefers a planned dinner to a surprise birthday party.

Having high levels of conscientiousness is a blessing in the workplace and will leave your employers smiling. You’ll enjoy demanding professions with a lot of structure. One thing to watch out for is getting too caught up in your work. High levels of conscientiousness can make people hyper-focused to the point where they are blinded from everything else around them. 


People who are lower in conscientiousness are more likely to enjoy spontaneity. You’re the person who decided to throw your best friend a surprise party in May when his birthday wasn’t until September. You’re the flexible and easy-going type.


Lower levels of conscientiousness can be problematic in the workplace. Whilst being flexible is definitely a good thing, when conscientiousness is too low, your easy-going nature can translate into sloppiness. This could include failing to dress smartly for work, turning up on time and staying organised. Try to work on your organisation by using a diary, calendar and weekly planning system. This should up your chances of success in the workplace.



If you’re high in extroversion, you’ll be energetic, positive and sociable and will enjoy spending lots of time with other people. High extroversion can be great for the workplace, as being out-going is a sure-fire way to make sure everyone (including your boss’s boss) knows your name. This is especially true in jobs that require a lot of networking. However, be careful not to be too attention-grabbing, talkative or assertive, as this can come off as over-doing it or even obnoxious if it’s not reigned in. 

If you’re low in extroversion (or high in introversion) you’re more likely to be reflective, reserved and enjoy your own company as opposed to the company of others. If you have lower levels of extroversion, you’ll be suited to jobs where you spend a lot of time working alone, which means you’d do fantastically in the tech industry. Making a conscious effort to socialise more at work will improve your chances of success. 


People who are high in agreeableness will be compassionate, empathetic types. High agreeableness is a great trait for any industries that revolve around care-work or working with vulnerable people. Be careful not to let your agreeableness do all of the talking, as you’ll need to be able to negotiate if you want to ask for a raise.

If you’re low in agreeableness, you’ll be highly competitive and argumentative. Low agreeableness can be fantastic for the workplace, especially in highly competitive environments like law firms. Make sure you take time to think about others and learn when to walk away from an argument.


Neuroticism refers to the amount of negative emotion you feel when bad things happen. If you’re high in neuroticism, you’ll be more susceptible to anxiety, anger and depression. This can be difficult to navigate in the workplace, so making sure you know how to take care of yourself when you’re feeling low is a great place to start.

People who are low in neuroticism will be calm and able to cope with difficult and stressful situations. This is obviously very handy at work, but can also lead people to seem aloof or uncaring, so make an effort to show empathy when others are struggling. 

About A and D Recruitment 

A&D Recruitment is a vibrant, independent employment agency specialising in Renewable Energy & Building Services sectors. 

Founded by recruitment experts Alessia and Darren Williams, A&D Recruitment has successfully placed candidates in a diverse range of roles over the last 12 years.  

To get in contact call 01743 247774 or email on 

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