By Nathan Page Ph.D.

Why Career Interests are Important!

Career interests reflect stable preferences for certain work activities and work environments. According to the most popular theory of career interests, Holland’s RIASEC model, interests can be organized into six areas: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Not only can a person’s interests profile be defined by these six types, but work environments can also be classified into the same six categories.  Aligning one’s work environments with his or her interests will not only increase satisfaction at work but also enhance the potential for achieving career success.

Research has demonstrated that congruence between interests and work environments impacts important workplace outcomes, such as job performance and turnover (Van Iddekinge, Putka, & Campbell, 2011; Van Iddekinge, Roth, Putka, & Lanivich, 2011). When a career is aligned with one’s interest, there may have more motivation to devote effort into developing relevant knowledge and skills, set higher career-related goals, and take actions to achieve those goals. All of these behaviors can help individuals improve their performance at work and enhance their career potential.

The benefits of matching careers with interests are not limited to individual employees. From an organizational perspective, choosing employees with the best fit not only contributes to higher job performance, which ultimately influences organizational effectiveness, but also helps to control turnover rates. Employees whose career interests are congruent with their jobs are more likely to be satisfied with work and find intrinsic motivation to stay in the work environment longer (Holland, 1997; Schneider, 1987). Turnover can lead to a range of losses from valuable employees to time and resources invested in training these employees. Therefore, it is critical to ensure the fit between employees’ interests and their jobs in order to make organizations thrive.

So how can you make sure there is a best match between career and interest? The Career Liftoff Interest Inventory (CLII) is a state-of-the-art career inventory that assesses career interests of individuals and provides guidance on potential careers that are most congruent with their interest profiles. Whether you are a beginner looking for help on career planning or a seasoned professional considering career transition, the CLII can help you identify where your interests lie and choose the right career to pursue. For more information, please refer to the Career Liftoff Interest Inventory page.


Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437– 453.

Van Iddekinge, C. H., Putka, D. J., & Campbell, J. P. (2011). Reconsidering vocational interests for personnel selection: The validity of an interest-based selection test in relation to job knowledge, job performance, and continuance intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 13–33.

Van Iddekinge, C. H., Roth, P. L., Putka, D. J., & Lanivich, S. E. (2011). Are you interested? A meta-analysis of relations between vocational interests and employee performance and turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 1167–1194.

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