IQ seems to be an important predictor of job performance (close to 0.6 correlation coefficient), see here.

It is said that: "Evidence from more than 100 y of research indicates that conscientiousness (C) is the most potent noncognitive construct for occupational performance." (Wilmot et al. 2019)

Comparing directly IQ and personality traits, which of IQ or personality traits best predict job performance?


Wilmot, M. P., & Ones, D. S. (2019). A century of research on conscientiousness at work. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(46), 23004-23010.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Same comment here as on your question about career success. Who you measure matters, how you measure matters, how you determine "best" matters, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


You can find a recent updated review in Sackett et al (2022). It provides a range of validity estimates from r = .31 to to r = .36 for cognitive ability tests and r = .19 to r = .22 for conscientiousness, depending on what corrections are applied for measurement error for job performance and range restriction. Note that these are practical validities based on imperfectly measured conscientiousness and intelligence. The latent relationships are likely stronger.

A well-established finding is that the size of the correlation of cognitive ability and job performance increases as the cognitive complexity of the role increases.

So in summary, both cognitive ability and conscientiousness are important. Cognitive ability is typically more important, and this is particularly true for cognitively demanding jobs.


Sackett, P. R., Zhang, C., Berry, C. M., & Lievens, F. (2022). Revisiting meta-analytic estimates of validity in personnel selection: Addressing systematic overcorrection for restriction of range. Journal of Applied Psychology, 107(11), 2040. PDF


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.