memo©, personality and employability

96% of 650 employers surveyed consider Curiosity important for recruitment and career success.

The Erasmus Impact Study (EIS) developed by CHE Consult for the European Commission in 2014, and based on the memo© methodology, revealed that 92% of employers consider personality traits relevant in recruitment (with five of the six memo© factors being on or above this level, led by Curiosity at the top), which is more than for field-specific skills and job-related experience. In other words, recruiters pay attention more often to personality than to traditional learning outcomes.


As recent research shows, the personality of a student is crucial to his or her career success. In the labour market of the 21st century, information quickly becomes out-dated and job-specific skills can in most cases be trained on demand – and even have to be, since many of the top job positions of tomorrow do not even exist today yet and, as confirmed by EIS as well as other research, job volatility and position-switching is absolutely common among young people nowadays.


Among the ten memo© factors, six are most closely related to employability:

  • Confidence (trust in one's own competence),
  • Curiosity (openness to new experiences),
  • Decisiveness (ability to make decisions),
  • Problem-solving (positive attitude towards challenges),
  • Self-assessment (awareness of one's own strengths and weaknesses),
  • Tolerance (acceptance of other people’s culture and attitudes and adaptability).

These factors were developed based on state-of-the-art research in psychometrics and studies dealing with important skills and traits for employability, including the VALERA study and Eurobarometer surveys (read more).


The relevance of the six factors to employability was revealed by an extensive survey covering 56 733 students, 18 618 alumni, 4 986 staff, 964 higher education institutions and 652 employers. The results from the quantitative study were further verified in qualitative research, which aimed to provide more insights into questions that arose from the study and to confirm or reject the findings. For this purpose, focus group meetings were held in eight countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.


The team had designed an innovative methodology that combined diverse qualitative methods for the various target groups. The qualitative study was conducted through a series of site visits to each of the selected countries, supplemented by online, telephone or face-to-face interviews.


Anna GehlkeWrite e-mail

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