Follow Your Passion AND Your Personality for Job Success

passion, personality, job success

Would you continue at your current job if you were no longer paid to do it? If not, what would you be willing to do without pay? Finding one’s passion will inspire you even without pay, but it isn’t the only thing you need to be engaged and successful in your work. Over the next few posts, I’ll explore how personality analysis can help each person find jobs they love and that they are good at.

Helping Students Pick Careers

For hundreds of years, schools have given career aptitude tests to help students determine where they should put their focus of study. While they have fallen out of favor in the United States in the past couple of decades, they are still used elsewhere around the world and I think its time that they be improved and brought back for us here. Some people will surely cry that we are pigeon-holing students and taking away their “freedom”, but in reality the exact opposite is true. An evolved analysis would take into account their interests, their behavioral patterns, basic cognitive levels, and their career aspirations. An interview may go something like this:

“What do you love to do?”

“I love to build things, anything.”

“That sounds like you may want to do engineering. I also see that you are very creative with an appreciation for art, perhaps something with a design component to it.”

“What would those be?”

“Architecture, video game design, car and airplane design. Nowadays, you wouldn’t just be drawing figures, but building prototypes and testing hypotheses about how your designs affect the performance of the end product. The good thing is that these disciplines share most of the same basic requirements so taking your core math and science classes will set you on the path towards applying for any one of these majors while giving you more time to understand each field better before making your decision. Your high school calculus and physics grades are in line with other students who have enjoyed and performed well in these different fields.”

While this is an extremely simplified conversation between an imaginary career counselor and student, the basic elements will be the same of combining interests, personality, aptitudes, and aspiration to help the student discover the right path or paths for them to take. This process can then be repeated to find out what industries and companies the individual may want to work for. “Have a passion for the environment? Do you prefer a large corporation vs startup, how about graduate school?”

Person-role fit and performance benefits

In psychology there is a term called person-role fit, which looks at how suited a person is for a job based on their behavioral tendencies. In a report by Robert Hogan of Hogan Assessments and Rex Blake of MDA Consulting Group, they showed a direct link between the Five Factor Model (FFM) traits of personality and the Holland Occupational Themes. Their research and that of others like Dr Daniel Crosby of Suited Jobs and what we are now doing at jobFig show that a person’s personality can influence their enjoyment of and performance in a certain role. A greater use of FFM assessments would help in this cause and decrease the anxiety of students (and everyone else too) in choosing their career path.

With improvements in assessment technology and researchers using the common standard of the FFM, everyone can now use their own behavioral data to examine their career path. If they are unhappy with it, they can divert into new areas perhaps finding talents and aptitudes they never knew they possessed before.

Ravi Mikkelsen

Ravi Mikkelsen is the CEO and cofounder of jobFig, an HR focused behavioral analytics startup in San Francisco, CA. A lifelong entrepreneur and nomad, he has been involved with startups in three countries on two continents and has lived in 9 different cities. Connect with Ravi.


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