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Understanding Cultural Differences in Personality: The Route to a Global Mindset

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SINGAPORE, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Global corporations nowadays report talent shortages despite growing unemployment. Talents become one of the major challenges Human Resources (HR) professionals face. With increasing globalisation and pan-geographical operations by many of today’s companies, assessment has become increasingly international. To have a truly global workforce, it becomes vital to understand cultural differences and their impact on behaviour. Consequently, SHL looked at the personality profile of candidates from different countries and recommended some best practices for conducting global assessments.

The findings were derived from reviewing the personality profiles of our Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) of over 337,000 individuals across 19 countries and 15 different languages. Owing to the growing dominance of Asian economies, the focus is on Asia-Pacific (ASP) countries.

There are some unique personality traits reported by candidates from different countries, thus highlighting the importance of acknowledging cultural differences in global assessments. Key findings are listed below:

Key finding 1: Asian countries share 3 common traits with consistent deviations from the international benchmark

Asian candidates tend to prefer a more steady pace of work rather than thrive on activity.
They tend to feel less comfortable with building initial rapport and need more time to establish a relationship with people.
They are likely to focus more on the longer term than the immediate situation.
Key finding 2: Thailand, Japan and Korean candidates have a similar profile with 3 common traits, which distinguish them from other ASP countries

They tend to get more nervous before important events and worry about things going wrong.
They prefer a more flexible working environment and tend to change their behaviours to suit the situation.
They also tend to follow their own approach rather than go with the majority.
Key finding 3: Chinese typically show large deviations from the international benchmark

Chinese candidates tend to take a distinctly longer term view and focus more on the future.
They are also more likely to dislike bureaucracy and excessive work demands.
Although they tend to hold strong views and be independent minded, they are less likely than most to express those views or openly criticise.
Key finding 4: Chinese and Indians report a higher competitive nature than others, which is not commonly seen in other ASP countries

Chinese and Indian candidates enjoy more competitive activities, dislike losing and have a stronger need to win.
Best practices SHL recommends:

Be aware of cultural differences and the impact on behaviours of others
Reduce biased decisions by using objective assessments
Consider the behaviour observed and what it means rather than making immediate evaluation
Sense check and calibrate with fellow assessors
Note to editors

About Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ)

Designed to provide businesses with information on the aspects of an individual’s behavioural style that will impact on their performance of competencies at work. Underpinning performance on job competencies are 32 specific personality characteristics.

About SHL

SHL is the global leader in talent measurement solutions, driving better business results for clients through superior people intelligence and decisions – from hiring and recruiting, to employee development and succession planning. With a presence in over 50 countries, SHL delivers more than 25 million assessments annually in over 30 languages – allowing over 10,000 business customers to benefit from both global expertise and local insight. Along with its world-class consulting practices and 24-hour support centre, SHL clients can access over 1,000 assessments through an easy-to-use technology platform. Headquartered in London, UK, the company has offices in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. For more information, please visit


Written by asiafreshnews

July 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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