When making significant career decisions, it is important to recognise a few key characteristics about ourselves so that we make choices that are well suited to us. It is helpful to clearly understand what we are interested in, what our strengths and abilities are and what our personality type is. Having self-awareness about these attributes will help us to choose a career that will bring a sense of satisfaction.
There are now many assessment tools on the market. One type of testing that is becoming increasingly popular is personality assessment. Personality tests are effective tools to employers for screening out candidates with undesirable characteristics, such as those with a bad attitude or poor work habits. It is also a valuable self-assessment tool for job seekers or those whose interests have changed in career directions and who is planning for his personal development.
Personality traits cannot be accurately determined through interviews and cognitive ability test. They need to be assessed using instruments designed to measure the different aspects of personality that are job-relevant. Two of the most well-supported and well-documented classification systems are “Big Five” and Dr. John Holland’s “Career Personality Theory”.
The Big Five is generic model with five characteristics: Openness to change, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism (also known as emotional stability). Of these five traits, only Conscientiousness, Extraversion and Neuroticism have been consistently associated with job performance. Unlike “Big Five” personality tests that measure broad job performance related traits, Holland’s Career Personality Theory is best
known for matching personality types to different jobs. Holland’s Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional model is widely used for career counselling, fitting people with interests and compatibilities to over 1,300 jobs (Sarkar-Barney and Williams, 2003).
The six personality types and career categories of John Holland’s are:
- Realistic category includes skilled trades, technical and some service types.
- Investigative category includes the sciences and some technical types.
- Artistic category includes the creative arts, musical and literary types.
- Social category includes educational and social welfare types.
- Enterprising category includes managerial and sales types.
- Conventional category includes office, clerical and those working with numbers and data.
An analysis of handwriting can most accurately determine which of Holland’s six types or combination of types a person actually belongs to. It is used in conjunction with psychometric testing to create character profiles and can be the final arbiter for a job position. The following illustrations are the sample handwritings typical of each personality type:
Realistic Type—Simple and Plain Printing Style
Investigative Type—Tiny Script, Illegible and Stripped Down Letters
Artistic Type—Tiny Script, Illegible and Stripped Down Letters
Social Type—Rounded, Forward Slant and Long Ending Strokes
Enterprising Type—Large Letters, Forward Slant and Bold Appearance
Conventional Type—Meticulously Made and Carefully Constructed Letters, Consistent spacing Between Words and Lines