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The 5 Personality Traits That Can Reveal Your Political Ideology: New Cangrade Research

How much do you think you differ from your opposing political party? At first glance, it seems fairly obvious – a slew of social and economic features separate the Democratic and Republican parties. 

People on the other side of the aisle also seem entirely different in other domains. Two years ago, Forbes posted an article stating that Republicans and Democrats even prefer different kinds of cars. 

But why are we, an AI-based hiring software, talking about politics? 

Unlike choosing a car, work is usually a collaborative effort. This means that coworkers’ differing political views sometimes get in the way of a good team dynamic. In extreme situations, it can even lead to a toxic work environment and a dysfunctional team. 

So should we strive to create teams that hold similar political views? Definitely not. Liberal and Conservative-leaning folks have qualities that can be critical to team success, as you’ll see in our results. Diversity of thinking allows teams to avoid echo chambers and approach challenges from multiple angles, which is why it’s critical to company success to hire politically diverse teams. It ensures an environment rich in critical thinking.

So, given the recent election cycle, we investigated if our personality traits could predict political ideology and if our AI could perpetuate hiring biases against members with different political beliefs. 

AI can rapidly scale bias, which subsequently can affect people in all areas of their lives. Making it essential to stay on top of new ways artificial bias can creep into our lives. As part of Cangrade’s mission to build hiring equity and diversity, we aim to protect as many groups as possible in our AI. This commitment extends, among many other groups, to political affiliation.  

The 5 Personality Traits That Predict Political Views 

Cangrade research reveals the personality traits correlated with political identity
Cangrade’s recent research displaying the 5 personality traits correlated with political identity.

Here are the top five personality traits we discovered differentiate Liberals and Conservatives:

  • Abstract thinking: the tendency to recognize or infer patterns and understand abstract ideas quickly and easily.
  • Ambition: the tendency to value and prioritize excellence and success, focusing on goals related to status or personal achievement.
  • Individualism: the tendency to value individual freedom and to believe oneself is self-reliant. 
  • Precision: the tendency to be controlled, precise, and attentive to small details.
  • Sales Orientation: the predisposition to enjoy the challenge of a sale. 

We found that our Abstract Thinking trait was strongly correlated with the Big Five “Openness to Experience,” confirming the existing body of research as Liberals in our sample rated themselves high in Abstract Thinking. Similarly,  our Precision trait is strongly mapped to “Conscientiousness,” which, again, mirrors the literature – Conservatives rated themselves significantly higher on Precision than Liberals. 

We also found that Conservatives rated themselves highly on traits related to Individualism and Sales Orientation and, to a less significant extent, Precision. Thus, it seems our findings are consistent with the widespread research in the scientific community – that Conservatives are generally more diligent, structure-seeking, and individualistic. Whereas Liberal respondents were more creative, community-oriented, and less averse to risk. 

What This Means for Hiring AI

Anyone is at risk of algorithmic political bias. People may face discrimination regardless of where on the spectrum they fall. This discrimination is widespread and can manifest in a number of ways. In fact, researchers recently reported that facial recognition can accurately classify political affiliation. The increasing capabilities of AI coupled with rampant political polarization makes it imperative to ensure the hiring AI you use is not biased. 

While Germany and the E.U. require protections for political affiliation, it has yet to be formally classified as a protected group in the U.S. Given our commitment to protecting as many groups as possible (we protect more groups than the EEOC), we are working to ensure political affiliation is a protected group in Cangrade’s AI.

While our AI could identify significant patterns between the two political groups (i.e., the traits are more correlated with liberalism), it couldn’t actually predict political affiliation. Thus, our candidate Fit Scores do not reliably indicate party affiliation. 

About Our Approach

For this research, we surveyed hundreds of people who identified as “Very Conservative” or “Very Liberal.” They answered our flagship assessment in addition to basic demographic information. For those unfamiliar with our assessment, it’s a 14-minute psychometric survey that gauges varying aspects of your personality. Survey takers respond using a Likert Scale. Here’s an example:

“I almost always plan what I want to get done at the beginning of the day.”

  • Strongly disagree
  • Slightly disagree
  • Neutral
  • Slightly agree
  • Strongly agree

We then analyzed the data using our patented AI to uncover which personality traits predict political ideology. 

Ready to try our bias-free hiring AI? Contact us for a demo today.