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Holland Personality Codes and Career:

What is personality according to Holland?

Holland’s theory on personality and career emerged first in 1959. According to Holland, “The person making a vocational choice in a sense searches for situations which satisfy his hierarchy of adjustive orientations” (Holland, 1959) This means that individuals aim to acquire jobs that match and align with their personal needs.

He believed that occupation was more than just an act of the individual, but the choice inherently reflected one’s knowledge, ability, motivation and personality.

What is RIASEC according to Holland?

He defined six basic personality interest types namely;

Realistic: The Doers

People who have athletic or mechanical ability, prefer to work with objects, machines, tools, plants or animals, or to be outdoors. They like to work with their hands. They are often practical and good at solving problems.

For example, some careers can be - construction, engineering, building

Investigative: The Thinkers

People who like to observe, learn, investigate, analyze, evaluate or solve problems. They often like to work independently, tend to be good at math and science and enjoy analyzing data.

For example, some careers can be - business, market research analysts, and physicists.

Artistic: The Creators

People whose abilities are artistic, innovative or intuitive. They like to work in unstructured situations where they can use their imagination and creativity. They enjoy performing (theatre or music) and visual arts.

For example, some careers can be - fashion designers, actors, dancers, and photographers.

Social: The Helpers

People who like to work with people to enlighten, inform, help, train, or cure them, or are skilled with words. They enjoy training, instructing, counselling or curing others. They are often good public speakers with helpful, empathetic personalities.

For example, some careers can be - childcare workers, education teachers, and mental health counsellors.

Enterprising: The Persuaders

People who like to work with people, influencing, persuading, performing, or managing for organizational goals or economic gain. They like to lead and tend to be assertive and enthusiastic.

For example, some careers can be - bankers, credit analysts, customer service managers, and office managers.

Conventional: The Organizers

People who pay attention to detail and like to work with data, have clerical ability and follow through on others’ instructions. They have good organizational and numerical abilities. Conventional people also like working in structured situations.

For example, some careers can be - accountants, administrative assistants, business administrators

Holland Code. (n.d.). New York Health Careers. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from

In this hexagon, the personality types adjacent to one another are similar, while the ones across one another are the most dissimilar. Now according to these six personality types, there are also complementary model environments. According to Holland people tend to search for environments that match their attitudes and values, these environments coupled with individuals’ personalities make up their behaviour (Holland, 1997). The better the match, the greater would be the job satisfaction because the person would find the job more interesting.

His theory states that individuals resemble more than one, and in most cases all of the personality types to a certain degree. After taking the test, your top three personality types make up your Holland Code.

For example, someone could primarily be a Realistic personality type, but may also have a bit of Enterprising as well as Artistic abilities (REA). Most jobs also in fact reflect a combination of these types and aren’t solely based on an individual type.

Although recent research has found that there is a nonsignificant relationship between congruence (between the person and the environment) and sociability or self-concept (Spokane, A. R. 1985). It has also failed to find a strong link between congruence and outcomes of satisfaction and performance (J. Arnold, 2010). Holland understood the drawbacks that came with having only six personality types for every single person to fit into, although this simple classification would help garner a greater understanding of what one might be interested in.

But what does each of them imply? And what are the jobs typically associated with each type?


So is the Holland code a sure-shot way of figuring out what your future job is?

The Holland test has good validity scores, which means that the test does a good job at measuring what it’s supposed to measure. This implies that the test is shown to accurately predict possible career options for the test takers (O’Connell 1971).

You can take a free version of the Holland Code test to see what jobs are typically associated with your personality here! According to the three-letter code, you can use this site to look for more career options based on your interests. Furthermore, if you wish to learn in-depth about your career and personality, feel free to book a session here!


About the Author:

Hey there, I'm Tanvi!

A third-year Psychology student from Fergusson College, Pune, I've had a keen interest in all things psychology right from my school days. I aim to further take up Organisational or Clinical Psychology in the future. In my free time, you'd find me reading, baking, or walking my dog!



Holland Codes. Economic & Labor Market Information Bureau | NH Employment Security. (2020). Retrieved October 10, 2021, from

Spokane, A. R., Luchetta, E. J., & Richwine, M. H. (2002). Holland’s Theory of Personalities in Work Environments. In Career Choice and Development (4th ed., pp. 373–389). essay, Jossey-Bass.

The Pros and cons of the Holland Code. Bartleby. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2021, from

Holland Code. (n.d.). New York Health Careers. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from

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