Based on an earlier policy‐capturing study of the Big Five personality traits and general mental ability, this paper explores and analyzes the hiring preference of Hong Kong employers across five important personal attributes, including not only personality but also practical skill dimensions. The preferences and trade‐offs of 300 experienced recruiters were obtained via conjoint analysis, a theoretically grounded statistical tool that is used to discompose and analyze decisions, for assessing the hiring decisions for entry‐level professional positions. Among knowledge, skills, abilities, and personality, the personality of a candidate has a relatively greater impact on the hiring decision. Three of the Big Five personality traits were elected from among five major hiring attributes for effective performance, with conscientiousness being the most dominant attribute across all eight major industries. The other attributes, in order of importance, include English communication skills, openness to new experiences, academic performance, and agreeableness. Discrepancies between intended and actual decisions were also addressed by comparing the results with self‐reported ratings.
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