Bryq Guide to Holland’s Theory and Holland Codes

Thanks to Holland's theory, Holland codes are able to help both job seekers and employers match people to their perfect roles.

Everybody wants a job that they are both happy and confident doing. There’s a reason we call it a ‘dream job’! What if we told you there was a scientific way to find the perfect job for you? Something called Holland’s theory helps match people to the perfect jobs. While personality assessments like Myers-Briggs are often found within the hiring and cultural benchmarking processes of companies, research shows that these assessments aren’t proven to be valid nor reliable. Holland’s theory not only allows job seekers to discover the perfect roles for them, but it allows employers to find the best fit for any given job role they might have open.

In this blog, we are going to discuss the history and science behind Holland’s theory, how Holland codes work, and the many benefits of using this theory to assess candidates.

The History of John Holland’s Research and Theories

Holland’s Theory was developed by none other than Dr. John L. Holland, an American psychologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University. He believed that occupations could be classified in the same way that personality types could. He also believed that they could be matched in a way that helped people discover jobs that they’d thrive in. The origins of Holland’s theory can be traced as far back as the 1970s. Since then, extensive research has been conducted that proves that occupational choice is often an expression of one’s own personality. The research has confirmed its validity across gender, race, and culture. It has changed the way career development works, and has places millions of individuals in jobs that fit them perfectly.

The Holland Code Test Categories (RIASEC)

Holland theory is based on six proposed personality types – Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Together, these personality types create the acronym RIASEC. Let’s break these types down…

Thanks to Holland's theory, Holland codes are able to help both job seekers and employers match people to their perfect roles.

Realistic – these types are doers. They are practical thinkers who prefer taking a realistic and proven approach to problem-solving rather than using theory. These types don’t like to waste time. They prefer to act on a problem rather than just talking about it. These types may be architects, carpenters, or even fashion designers.

Investigative – these types are thinkers. While realistic types prefer to act first and think later, the investigative type thrives on observing and considering ideas before acting on them. Great job matches for these types include counselors, engineers, data analysts, or even lawyers.

Artistic – these types are creators. They are self-expressive and don’t enjoy the confines of structure or rules. They think outside the box and are highly emotional. A creator might thrive being a dancer, a writer, an artist, or even a psychologist!

Social – these types are helpers. They don’t feel the need to be the smartest person in the room or the handiest with physical tasks. These types find satisfaction through making connections and helping others. These types make great nurses, social workers, or veterinarians.

Enterprising – these types are persuaders. They truly know how to ‘talk the talk’, and know what they need to do in order to get the job done. Getting others on board with their vision is their greatest gift. These types are often entrepreneurs, salespeople, or politicians.

Conventional – These types are organizers. They live by the rules and organization is the key to their success. These types typically enjoy working with data and really understand the art of self-control. These individuals often enjoy occupations like computing, finance, and web development.

How the Codes Work

Note that people do not just fall into one of these six categories. Test takers will often fall into all six! People have multifaceted personalities, and some parts of their personalities are stronger than others. Candidates will be a mix of the above categories, and their Holland Code will be based off of their three strongest traits.

For example, when taking a Holland Code (RIASEC) Test, a candidate might score the highest in the Artistic, Enterprising, and Investigative occupational categories. These three categories create the Holland code ‘AEI’. So what does this mean? Having the Holland code ‘AEI’ means that these strengths and interests are great for careers such as film editing, business psychology, and journalism.

Not only does Bryq use these codes to help pair employers with great talent, but the federal government also uses Holland’s theory. The U.S. Department of Labor has sponsored O*NET OnLine. Standing for Occupational Information Network, it is the primary source of occupational information for jobseekers. Their database has nearly one thousands different job descriptions, and continues to grow with the economy. Through O*NET, job seekers can find out their Holland Code through the O*NET Interest Profiler. From there, they are able to type in their Holland Code to see what careers they would be great fits for based on their personalities and interests. Holland’s theory allows job seekers to discover their next move. If the U.S. Department of Labor can trust the theory, so can we!

Benefits of Holland Codes

Holland codes help match people to roles that they’re likely to perform well in. They’re able to assess an individual’s interests and key aspects of their personality in order to point them in the right direction towards career fulfillment. They’re easy for job seekers to understand, and they allow job seekers to explore possible career options without overwhelming them.

Holland codes also offer great benefits to employers. They are a great tool to utilize throughout the recruitment process. They allow for a deeper look into the personalities and interests of your job candidates. With Holland codes, employers are able to ensure that candidates are great fits for the roles they’re applying for. While this shouldn’t be the only factor being considered while hiring somebody, it really does help find the best match.

Not only do Holland codes offer great benefits throughout the recruitment process, but they’re a great tool in the career development of your current employees. You may have a staff member who isn’t sure what their next move within the company should be. This test will help them discover what role their interests and personality traits aid themselves best to. It eliminates the need for career counselling and will help improve employee retention. These tests help employees discover their passions and keep them happy at their jobs. Happy employees don’t leave the companies they’re working for. These tests give employers great insight into the employees they already have.

How Bryq Uses Holland’s Theory

Holland Codes are a really important part of Bryq’s talent management system. While Holland Codes are often used as an employee tool to help them decide what career field would suit them best, Bryq uses these codes to help employers find the candidates that match roles best.

We have done the alignment. We know each key personality trait for each Holland Code. When somebody takes the assessment, we say which type they belong to depending on their result. Our assessment is based on the 16 Personality Factors (16PF) framework, and in combination with Holland’s theory, we’ve developed an assessment backed by science that is proven to work.

Interested in the science behind Holland codes? Try out the science we trust today by signing up for a free 7-day trial of the Bryq talent management system. See for yourself how Bryq is able to find the most promising candidates within your hiring pool. Are you having a hard time wrapping your head around Holland’s theory? If so, let the Bryq Customer Success Team explain it better in a free product demo. We love helping clients navigate through the Bryq platform!

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Book a meeting with our team today to find out!

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