Personality Fit: Holland’s Typology of Personality and Types of Personality

Person-job fit is defined as the compatibility between individuals and the job or tasks that they perform at work.

This includes compatibility based on employee needs and job supplies available to meet those needs, as well as job demands and employee abilities to meet those demands.

According to Holland, workers are not victims of their environments but actively seek potentially compatible work environments. If an individual’s personality and the work environment fit then the individual will enjoy the work and develop and grow in the career.

Matching people to the organizational culture at the time of hiring should result in higher employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Holland has proposed six themes of people and work environments, within which all jobs can be classified as realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional.

The key points of this model are there do appear to be intrinsic differences in personality among individuals, there are different types of jobs, and people in job environment congruent with their personality types should be more satisfied and less likely to voluntarily resign than should people in the incongruent job.

Holland’s Typology of Personality

According to John Holland’s theory, most people are one of 6 personality types;

  1. Realistic,
  2. Investigative,
  3. Artistic,
  4. Social,
  5. Enterprising, and
  6. Conventional.

Holland's Typology of Personality

The characteristics of each of these are described below:

Realistic – “Do-er”

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working
closely with others.

  • Likes to work with animals, tools, or machines; generally avoids social activities like teaching, healing,
    and informing others;
  • Has good skills in working with tools, mechanical or electrical drawings, machines, or plants and
  • Values practical things you can see, touch, and use like plants and animals, tools, equipment, or
    machines; and
  • Sees self as practical, mechanical, and realistic.

Investigative – “Thinker”

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for the facts and figuring out problems mentally.

  • Likes to study and solve math or science problems; generally avoids leading, selling, or persuading
  • Is good at understanding and solving science and math problems;
  • Values science; and
  • Sees self as precise, scientific, and intellectual.

Artistic – “Creator”

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require
self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

  • Likes to do creative activities like art, drama, crafts, dance, music, or creative writing; generally
    avoids highly ordered or repetitive activities;
  • Has good artistic abilities — in creative writing, drama, crafts, music, or art;
  • Values the creative arts — like drama, music, art, or the works of creative writers; and
  • Sees self as expressive, original, and independent.

Social – “Helper”

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These
occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

  • Likes to do things to help people — like, teaching, nursing, or giving first aid, providing information; generally avoids using machines, tools, or animals to achieve a goal;
  • Is good at teaching, counseling, nursing, or giving information;
  • Values helping people and solving social problems; and
  • Sees self as helpful, friendly, and trustworthy.

Enterprising – “Persuader”

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting and carrying out projects. These occupations can
involve leading people and making decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with

  • Likes to lead and persuade people, and to sell things and ideas; generally avoids activities that
    require careful observation and scientific, analytical thinking;
  • Is good at leading people and selling things or ideas;
  • Values success in politics, leadership, or business; and
  • Sees self as energetic, ambitious, and sociable.

Conventional – “Organizer”

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedure and routines. These occupations
can include working with data and details more than ideas. Usually, there is a clear line of authority to

  • Likes to work with numbers, records, or machines in a set, orderly way; generally avoids ambiguous,
    unstructured activities.
  • Is good at working with written records and numbers in a systematic, orderly way;
  • Values success in business; and
  • Sees self as orderly, and good at following a set plan.

Let’s compare all 6 Holland’s Typology of Personality;

TypePersonal OccupationCongruent Occupation
Prefers physical activities that require skill, strength, and coordination.
Shy, genuine, persistent, stable, conforming, practical.Mechanic, drill press operator, assembly-line worker, farmer.
Prefers activities that involve thinking, organizing, and understanding.
Analytical, original, curious, independent.Biologist, economist, mathematician, news reporter.
Prefers activities that involve helping and developing others.
Sociable, friendly, cooperative, understanding.Social workers, teacher, counselor, a clinical psychologist.
Prefers rule- regulated, orderly, and unambiguous activities.
Conforming, efficient, practical, unimaginative, inflexible.Accountant, corporate manager, bank teller, file clerk.
Prefers verbal activities in which there are opportunities to influence others and attain power.
Self-confident, ambitious, energetic, domineering.Lawyer, real estate agent, public relations specialist, small business manager.
Prefers ambiguous and unsystematic activities that allow creative expression.
Imaginative, disorderly, idealistic, emotional, impractical.Painter, musician, writer, interior decorator.


Person-Organization fit is generally defined as compatibility between employees and their organizations. Compatibility can result from one party supplying, a need of the other party, similar values across parties, or both.

Based on the interactionist perspective, in which both personal and environmental characteristics interact to predict individual outcomes, P-0 fit gained the greatest prominence in the early 1990s.

Since that time more than 100 studies have been conducted that emphasize the match between individuals and organizational cultures, not just the jobs within those organizations. P-O fit has established relationships with three very important outcomes like- work attitudes, turnover, and Job Performance.

The person-organization fit essentially argues that people leave jobs that are not compatible with their personalities.

Using the big Five terminology, for instances we could expect that people high on extroversion fit better with aggressive and team-oriented culture; that people high on agreeableness will match up better with supportive organizational climate than one that focuses on aggressiveness; and that people high on openness to experience fit better into organizations that emphasize innovation rather than standardization.

Following these guidelines at the time of hiring should lead to selecting new employees who fit better with the organization’s culture, which in turn, should result in higher employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

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