By Nathan Page Ph.D.

The Power of Interests

The Power of Interests

The unique interests of people not only guide many career choices, but can also play a large part in shaping the enjoyment and satisfaction that workers get out of their careers. Vocational interests are preferences to engage in certain work activities, preference for work in particular environments, and preference for work in particular occupations. Different jobs require vastly distinct skill sets, and vocational interests contribute to both how well a person can develop these skill sets and how much they will enjoy working in a specific environment.

Interest inventories are powerful tools that give people theory-based information about their pattern of interests and personality type. These inventories can lead to greater self-awareness and more purposeful selection of career pathways.  Interest inventories are focused on the content of the tasks employees will perform on the job, and intentionally do not assess some of the extrinsic job characteristics like desired outcomes (e.g., expected salary). They provide the test-taker with information about themselves and their potential fit with jobs in numerous career fields. These inventories also give professionals who provide counseling and guidance the same information about the individual’s underlying interests to aid in guiding the individual towards a career that they will find rewarding. Research has shown that congruence between individual’s interests and the environment they work in predicts subsequent job satisfaction across varied industries (Tsabari, Tziner, & Meir, 2005).

Benefits

Career Development. By providing valuable information about interest types and jobs that are in congruence with these types, interest inventories can facilitate developing a career pathway for those who intend on changing career paths or for those who have not yet entered the workforce. AAI’s Career Liftoff Interest Inventory (CLII) provides detailed information about unique interest-types and scores on 30 career fields.

Career Exploration. AAI’s interest inventory facilitates use of internet-based information from O*Net, providing detailed descriptions of jobs as well as skill and educational requirements. This information, as well as the interest-types, are useful for anyone deciding between different subfields within an already-chosen career pathway.

Structuring the conversation. Interest inventories provide an organized framework for both the test-taker and the guidance counselor for those seeking vocational guidance. Knowledge of interest-types and potential person-job fit aids in structuring the conversation of career choices when discussing career development or exploration.

Relationships to job outcomes. The matching of interests with job environments displays a relationship with individual’s satisfaction on the job. Supported by research, interest inventories provide a method for identifying preferences for engaging in work activities and environments that, in turn, contribute to how much people like their jobs.

CLII Advantage

RIASEC Model. The RIASEC model organizes six career interest areas displayed as a hexagon: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. The RIASEC framework is a widely-used and researched model of interests developed in John Holland’s Theory of Careers. The CLII provides test takers with normative standings on each of these six career interest areas and career fields congruent with these interest scores.

Appropriate for a diverse range of people. The CLII was developed for people with a large range of career experience: anywhere from a student just entering the job market to seasoned professionals.

Scores on 30 career fields. In addition to simply listing career fields that are likely to be of interest to the test-taker, the CLII provides scores on 30 career fields so that the individual can get a sense for how strongly the specific career field relates to their interest patterns. The 30 career fields comprehensively reflect the current world of work.

Assesses what people relate to: activities. Test-takers respond to their preferences for various, tangible activities.

Resources

Tsabari, O., Tziner, A., & Meir, E. I. (2005). Updated meta-analysis on the relationship between congruence and satisfaction. Journal of Career Assessment13(2), 216-232.