RIASEC Personality Model

RIASEC Personality Model – Holland Codes

The RIASEC Personality model (also known as the “Holland Codes”) is a type theory of personality, which was introduced by the American psychologist Dr. John Holland, an instructional psychiatrist, as eraly as in the 1970s. The Holland Codes are one of the most popular models used for career tests today. Holland argued that the choice of a vocation is an expression of personality. The abbreviation RIASEC stands for 6 characteristics:

  • Realistic – practical, physical, concrete, hands-on, machine, and tool-oriented.
  • Investigative – analytical, intellectual, scientific, explorative, thinker.
  • Artistic – creative, original, independent, chaotic, inventive, media, graphics, and text.
  • Social – cooperative, supporting, helping, healing/nurturing, teaching.
  • Enterprising – competitive environments, leadership, persuading, status.
  • Conventional – detail-oriented, organizing, clerical.

Match between Personality and Work Environment

Dr. Holland reasoned that people work best in work environments that match their preferences. People and work environments can be matched for a best fit. The key to finding a satisfying career is to match one’s fundamental interests with occupations. Most people are some combination of two or three of the Holland’s interest areas. A Holland Code is really a three-letter code that consists of an individual’s three dominant personality types from six choices.

By finding work environments that match one’s personality, a human being is more likely to thrive, succeed, and flourish. All personality types are equally important, and every industry will require people with each personality. So, one just needs to find the specific career in that industry that matches his/her unique personality. Every person is likely to share interests with more than one personality type, meaning there is a need to explore a few possible career paths in each case.


The RIASEC model is particularly well-suited to helping individuals choose a career – in fact, that’s exactly what it was designed to do. Indeed, taking a RIASEC test is a great initial step in the journey of career discovery. This test is intended for:

  • Senior secondary school students who are going to enter colleges and universities.
  • People who would like to change their occupation, but are not sure what profession to choose, so as not to make a mistake again.
  • Enterprises and organizations consistently implementing a responsible approach to personnel search and selection.

The RIASEC Inventory is a quick and informative method to explore jobs according to one’s interests. The inventory is really a valid method to explore different career options. It is comprised of 72 questions about aspirations, activities, skills, and interests in different jobs and takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

The RIASEC test is similar to other aptitude tests. It has no time limit, and there are no “right” or “wrong” answers as long as the questions are answered truthfully. It helps to discover suitable careers and fields of study; assess current skills, interests, and aspirations; and receive a list of possible occupations. A person is asked to mark how much certain activities would interest him/her. The test helps to group the results into six categories based on John Holland’s six types of personality. Each type has their own values, motivations, and preferred career fields.

720 Personality Combinations

Dr. Holland did not say that we are simply just one of the types mentioned above… That would mean that there are only six types of people in the world! Instead, the RIASEC model proposes that any one person can have interests associated with all six personality types. Our interests of these are then ranked in order to give us each a unique Holland Code. For example, if IRCAES was your Holland code, this would mean that your interests would align most with the Investigative personality type and then the Realistic followed by Conventional, and so on. In total, there are 720 different combinations of personality types. When you take a RIASEC test you should get a score weighting your preference or dominance across all 6 types. However, only the first three letters are focused on for assessment of career choices.

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