ORG 3520 Individual Differences, Recruitment and Selection

ORG 3520 Individual Differences, Recruitment and Selection

Course code: 
ORG 3520
Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Course coordinator: 
Mats Glambek
Anne Gjertrud Fure
Course name in Norwegian: 
Personlighet, individuelle forskjeller og seleksjon
Product category: 
Bachelor of Organisational Psychology, HR and Leadership - Programme Courses
2025 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Ultimately, organizations comprise unique individual employees, and knowledge about the skills and abilities that make people different is relevant regarding several organizational processes and outcomes. Ideally, it can help the organization to select the best candidate for a vacant position, and to ensure that leaders and co-workers reach their full potential. In contrast, the lack of such knowledge can bias the selection process, possibly entailing undue costs and significant limitations to organizational performance and competitiveness.

In this course, you will learn about individual differences (differential psychology) as well as personnel selection. Regarding individual differences, the course emphasizes personality psychology, including the nature/nurture debate, key theoretical perspectives on personality and personality assessment. The course also emphasizes the terms intelligence and emotional intelligence as forms of individual differences, and discusses these terms against criteria for psychological assessment (psychometrics). Furthermore, the course stresses personality and individual differences regarding personnel selection, and discusses how different selection methods such as interviews and psychological tests can help the organization in covering its competence needs. The overarching aim of the course is to aid students in attaining broad as well as nuanced and practical insights within the topics of personality, individual differences and personnel selection.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Upon completion of the course, students shall hold knowledge about:

  • Key theoretical and scientific perspectives on personality
  • Intelligence and emotional intelligence
  • The role of nature versus nurture in the development of individual differences
  • The five-factor model for personality, and the use of this model in selection processes
  • Key terms associated with assessment methods (psychological testing/psychometrics)
  • The job analysis and competence potential
  • Interviews as a selection tool
  • The utility and necessity of different approaches to personnel selection
Learning outcomes - Skills

Upon completion of the course, students shall be able to:

  • Explain the term personality traits, and discuss and exemplify the dimensions of the five-factor model
  • Discuss and explain different perspectives on human personality, and their relevance in working life
  • Discuss personality (especially the five-factor model) in light of the theory of evolution and the nature/nurture debate
  • Discuss and explain the significance of personality for health and resilience in working life
  • Differentiate between different forms of work psychological tests, based on knowledge about psychometrics and relevance for a given position
  • Discuss and explain whether the measurement of intelligence and emotional intelligence is relevant in personnel selection
  • Discuss and explain the significance of the terms job analysis and competence potential in personnel selection
  • Produce competence based interview questions, and discuss possible strengths and limitations to the use of selection interviews
General Competence

The study of individual differences is fundamental to psychology, also regarding work- and organizational psychology.

In Norwegian working life, personality assessment is the most common approach regarding the use of testing in recruitment processes. However, intelligence tests is also increasingly in use. More generally, knowledge about different forms of individual differences is valuable, including knowledge about how inheritance and environmental factors contribute to our understanding of who the individual is as an adult.

Against this background, students shall develop a basic understanding of individual psychological attributes throughout this course. Further, the students shall understand how these attributes affect professional roles in working life, and independently be able to discuss how individual differences affect aptness and competence in specific professions or positions.

Course content
  • The trait perspective on personality
  • Other perspectives on personality, including the psychodynamic, the cognitive and the humanistic-existential perspective
  • Evolution, genetics and personality
  • Personality, health and resilience
  • The job analysis and competence potential
  • Interviews as a personnel selection tool
  • Tests and assessment methods in personnel selection
Teaching and learning activities

The course comprises 36 physical and/or digital, scheduled teaching hours, as well as 6 hours of digital teaching that are not scheduled (asynchronous teaching).

The physical teaching hours comprise lectures and workshops, and will last for either 2 or 4 hours.

In the lectures, basic knowledge relating to individual differences as well as applied perspectives are emphasized. In the lectures, learning activities include practical exercises, cases and other student-active teaching formats.

The workshops entail an even more practical and applied approach. In the workshops, two teachers will be present.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

Higher Education Entrance Qualification


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
School Exam
Form of assessment: 
Written School Exam - digital
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Support materials: 
  • No support materials
3 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
ORG 35201
Grading scale: 
Examination every semester
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
36 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
30 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
125 Hour(s)
3 Hour(s)
Digital resources
6 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.