The 6 Personality Types and How They Impact Your Career Choice

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on July 29, 2016
Future of The Employee Experience

People are happier and most productive when their career choice matches their personality, a theory developed from The Holland Codes.

Researcher, John Holland, believed certain types of people work best when paired with jobs that not only utilize their strengths but are then tailored to how they work best, resulting in more work getting done and higher quality work.

How does this fit into managing a workspace? How your employees feel while at the office and about their working environment will impact everything they do.


According to John Holland, there are six key categories that define the modern worker.  His assessment offers a framework that considers interest in career choice and pairs ideal environments for certain personalities that also play a role in job satisfaction and performance.

The six types are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. The theory classifies people into their respective categories by evaluating how a person approaches life situations — and most people fall into more than one category. It should also be noted that people with the same personality type tend to work best with others of their type, but certain types work best alone or with specific groups over others.

Read through the six personality types and take into consideration the employees at your workplace. In the future, when creating teams or hiring new employees it could benefit everyone to pair individuals with others they are most likely to succeed within their “chosen” environment.

The Six Personality Types

Realistic (Doer)

Someone who likes to work mainly with their hands by making and fixing things, assembling or operating equipment. They sometimes prefer working outdoors and find joy with a career choice that performs varying types of manual labor. The Realistic individual works well with tools, machines, and mechanical drawings. Valuing practical things they can see and touch, they often see themselves as being practical and mechanical.

Best when working: Alone or with others in the Realistic category

Compatible with: Investigative or Conventional Holland_Career_Theory_R.jpg

Best career choice for the Realistic type:

  • Carpenter
  • Electrician
  • Pilot
  • Engineer
  • Mechanic

Investigative (Thinker)

The most analytical of the six personalities, this group loves to study and solve math or science-related problems. They aren’t skilled negotiators but work best in a career choice that lets them work with others who are grounded. They see themselves as precise and intellectual and like to be acknowledged for their achievements.

Best when working: Alone or with other investigative individuals

Compatible with: Realistic or Artistic

Best career choice for the Investigative type:

  • Biologist
  • Mathematician
  • Computer Programmer
  • Surveyor
  • Pharmacist

Artistic (Creator)

This group of individuals values others who are expressive and independent. They naturally admire the creative arts including writing and music. They see themselves as expressive and original and prefer to avoid a career choice that requires highly ordered or repetitive activities.  They enjoy working in groups but only if they are allowed expressive freedom and are encouraged to share their ideas.


Best when working: In groups that allow creative expression and unsystematic teams

Compatible with: Investigative and Social

Best career choice for the Artistic type:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Musician
  • Book Editor
  • Art Teacher
  • Actor

Social (Helper)

Those with a Social personality type like to “dominate” their environment. This is the most common category of the six, and many people have traits of this category along with their others. They particularly value providing services for others and enjoy a career choice that enables them to work closely with people. Their ideal working conditions are with other people who are also trustworthy, helpful, and show appreciation.

Best when working: In group and team situations where they feel needed


Compatible with: Artistic and Enterprising

Best career choice for the Social type:

  • Counselor
  • Librarian
  • Social Worker
  • Physical Therapist
  • Nurse

Enterprising (Persuader)

Most likely to lead and persuade, this group was born to sell and tend to value business or politics. They see themselves as being social and ambitious and these folks really have the skill for getting a group of people to lean a certain way. They are careful to avoid people who are too scientific and analytical but are definitely drawn to a career choice where working in groups is common.

Best when working: In groups and with all types of people in a leadership position


Compatible with: Social and Conventional

Best career choice for the Enterprising type:

  • Sales Manager
  • Real Estate Agent
  • School Principal
  • Attorney
  • Hotel Manager

Conventional (Organizer)

A member of this group would probably prefer a career choice where they can work with numbers, records, or machines. They enjoy repetitive tasks done in an orderly fashion and like to avoid ambiguous activities. They see themselves as organized and good at following directions. They value success in business and enjoy working with other people, but do best in small, systematic groups where they know their responsibilities.

Best when working: In groups that have defined duties assigned to all


Compatible with: Enterprising or Realistic

Best career choice for the Conventional type:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Secretary
  • Bank Teller
  • Mail Carrier
  • HR Consultant

What This Means for Workplace Managers

When planning your office’s environment, consider the variance in career choice these six categories tend to enjoy working in.

Artistic and Enterprising individuals are probably more drawn to a career choice in marketing and sales, and would likely enjoy interacting if grouped together.

Be sure to give your Investigative and Realistic groups space to work alone, but consider offering them smaller more private gathering spots for them to choose if their career choice requires them to work with others.

Your Conventional and Social departments — most likely those whose career choice is in HR and possibly security — should be placed where they’ll have lots of interaction with people and opportunities to help others.

You also might want to consider placing Conventional near your Artistic and Enterprising groups considering these individuals are likely to make a career choice that lets them enjoy working in teams.

Taking it a step further, when looking into design for your workplace, consider the career choice and types of environments each personality would thrive in.

Because they are prone to picking a career choice that involves working with varying groups of people, your Artistic and Enterprise groups most likely enjoy lots of color and movable space so they can stretch their creative talents. However, your Realistic employees may prefer a quieter tone in their workspace.

Knowing what works best for each personality and career choice is really important — however, the best way to gauge what people want is to ask. During your next office renovation, survey your employees to see what they want to see in the new workplace upgrade.



Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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