Interest Assessment

Interests Indicate preferences for work environments. We use the O*NET taxonomy that uses the six interest category of Holland (1997) model of personality types and work environments, though does not follow its theoretical career recommendation model. The six interest categories, used to describe the work environment of occupations and also for individual preferences for such occupations are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional ( RIASEC in short based on the first letters of the different types ). It is an interesting aspect that Realistic people like working with things (e.g. gadgets etc.), while investigative and artistic people like working with ideas . Social people are relationship oriented , while conventional and enterprising type like working with data.

Important to recommend to individuals taking the interest assessment is that these are things that we may like or dislike doing, and not necessarily activities we have experienced personally. The assessment thus helps match individuals with careers that offer work environment (e.g. preference for working with things, people, data or ideas) that is most suited based on their interests.

Let’s look at this with an example. The assessment may ask to rate if you would like to"Sell computer equipment in a store". So an individual may choose to like or dislike (or strongly ) doing this activity. Please note that one will not be recommended a career in selling computer just because he/she choose to indicate a preference for doing this activity. It just indicates that the individual is Enterprising and likes influencing the decision of other people. Another question asked is whether one would like or dislike playing a musical instrument. An individual may not know how to play one, but it’s something one may have wanted to do or would like doing in the future, indicating preference for creative activities. Again one will not be recommended to become a musician just based on this one answer, but a holistic RIASEC profile is build and compared to different occupational requirements. Note that the Tucareers framework matches accurately the complete profile ( likes and dislikes as well), and hence produces better recommendations than produced by just looking at top 3 matching codes as being done in conventional tests.

The details of the 6 types of individuals are provided below

  • Realistic - Realistic individuals like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations where realistic individuals work require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative individuals like to work with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These individuals often involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Artistic - Artistic individuals frequently work with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and need work that can be accomplished without following a clear set of rules.
  • Social - Social individuals frequently work with, communicating with, and teaching people. These individuals prefer occupations that often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising individuals frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These individuals like working in occupations that involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional individuals like work that involves following set procedures and routines. These individuals like occupations that can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually they prefer work environments where there is a clear line of authority to follow.

You can browse the different careers requiring the different interest on the ONET site and can use examples of suitable careers while interpreting report to candidates.

In the next post we look at different types of personality tests in more details.


  • Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments.