Outside interests key to job performance

A person's interests can be a useful indicator of whether or not they are likely to perform well in a job, new research has suggested. Published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the study found hobbies might act as a better suitability predictor than tests and questionnaires.

Christopher Nye, a Psychological Scientist at Bowling Green University, noted there has been a general misunderstanding of personal interests in personnel and organisational research.

Mr Nye and a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign found a key indicator of whether or not a person will succeed in a role is how their profile of interests across different types of work fits in with the kinds of tasks and skills demanded in a certain position.

"These findings are important because they suggest that organisations may benefit from considering applicants' interests prior to making hiring decisions," Mr Nye added.

Chartered Psychologist Philip Wilson adds:

"There is no doubt that successful performance is often linked to what someone enjoys and is motivated by. This research supports that contention – interests predicting workplace achievement. I would, however, be a little cautious of using this as a selection tool – in particular, it may favour those from a higher socio-economic background who can potentially indulge in a broader range of hobbies and pursuits."