Reputation is key to predicting performance, but it's often
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Organizations spend significant time, money, and resources searching for the right workers. Yet, according to a new study, they may be overlooking the key ingredient in determining the success of future employees: reputation.

The research, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, asked 455 military cadets in South Korea to rate their own personality while also having their personality rated by three fellow cadets. The researchers also collected ratings on citizenship behaviors as well as academic and job performance.

Not surprisingly, the cadets who were conscientious (hard-working and reliable) and agreeable (friendly and cooperative) tended to be the highest performing. But the researchers found it was the cadets' reputation—not their personality traits or identity—that was the most accurate predictor of that success.

"There is overlap in the way you see your personality and the way others see your personality, and that overlap is important," the researcher says. "Reputation, on the other hand, is uncovering the stuff that individuals might not be seeing about themselves.

"Personality isn't fixed or uniquely 'owned' by the self—it emerges in the roles we occupy and the relationships we build with others."

"Our findings suggest that it's those emergent aspects of reputation that are the most important for employers and employees to consider."

Journal of Applied Psychology