What Your Scores Mean
These scores are calculated as a percentage of the possible points you could have scored for each attribute. This can help you understand how strong your leanings are towards a specific trait. As you might guess, a higher score means you identify with an attribute more. This isn't a right-or-wrong type of score- just an extra indicator of your preferences!
What is the Domain Breakdown?
This is a snapshot of what form of compensation matters most to you and the balance between them. The report is intentionally broad and should be used only as a guide as assess your fit with an opportunity. The three domains (Approach, Environment, and Outcomes) are presented as a diagram proportionally divided to correlate with your responses. We find it helps to see the forest before we focus on the trees.
Your results have been compiled below! With the Comprehensive Career Guide, you will see your High-low Report, which includes breakdowns of your top 3 and bottom 3 key indicators, as well as your Mid Report, which shows which attributes fall in the center of your workplace preferences.
Check out our guide on How to Read Your Results.
Domain BreakdownWhat's this?
The strength of our Domain scores indicates what domain and category of attribution we value most. While not as specific as the individual results that follow, these results help us better understand our priorities and enable more productive conversations with our employers. Consider focusing negotiations and team-building discussions around the Domains that are strongest, even if you need to give a little on the side of the circle that is smallest. (For more tips on developing Domain-based strategies, contact a Career Placement Specialist.)
The following results represent the Attributes that contribute most to your fit with employment opportunities. With the insights shared below, you should be able to develop a strategy that will effectively support career selection, contract negotiation, employee evaluation, and self-discovery.
Predictability Highest Attribute
Valuing predictability means that you are likely a planner. You get more done when you know what is expected and probably often exceed those expectations. You are likely frustrated by a lack of structure or when there isn't clear guidance. Recognizing these qualities about yourself will help you make better career decisions.
Knowing in advance how you will be evaluated is crucial to your success at work. Unfortunately, most employers are rarely clear on what they need from their employees. This lack of clarity can lead otherwise talented employees to underperform. As someone who wants to go above and beyond, you may need to help your employer set expectations. Because you value predictability, you will likely see tasks that need to be done before others do. This ability to anticipate needs will make you very valuable to your company as an employee and a leader.
Regardless of the work you are doing, clear communication is the key to predictability and you recognize and value that. Some jobs lend themselves to this type of clarity more than others, which you can usually tell from the outset. Just ask yourself, “How easy would it be to know if I have done the job well, even if I never get any feedback?” If the answer is, “very easy,” that’s built-in clarity, which you value, and which allows you to plan for success instead of wading through chaos.
Predictability can also be a management decision, and you can help with this. If your manager has not given you a clear sense of what successful outcomes will look like and how to achieve them, you can and should ask clarifying questions. Just make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t come across as annoyed or accusatory. Say something like, “I have a few questions to help me make sure I give you exactly what you're looking for.”
A great way to ensure predictability is to take a job in the public sector. More than 15% of the entire workforce is working for the government in one way or another. Virtually every job in the private sector is also available in the public sector. Public sector jobs are known for their predictability. The workday ends at the same time each day, overtime is rarely allowed let alone demanded, there are great benefits, and you will know your schedule in advance. Many lawyers from even the best law schools take jobs in the government because the reliability of work hours, vacation days, and promotions makes having an excellent work/life balance and retirement plans essentially built in.
- Can you tell me what a typical day working here might look like?
- How will I know if I am doing a good job?
- I want to be a great employee. Can you tell me what makes an employee great in your organization?
Job Search Tips
- Seek out job listings in your industry that are detailed, specifically those that describe job tasks, not just required qualifications.
- Look online for employee feedback, particularly of the company's management team. Often, you can glean from past employees' comments if the leadership is good at providing structure.
With location high in your report, it is important that you consider not only who your employer is but also where you are working. The physical environment we work in can have a tremendous impact on our creativity, productivity, and even our mental health. Some people work best in big cities, other small towns. Maybe living near family, or having some physical distance, is critical to your professional success. A commute to work may help you focus, or it may be a burden. And all of this can change over time. As you evaluate opportunities, consider how the geographic and physical environment of your workplace affects your chances for success.
Another key, but often overlooked, aspect of our work lives is the aesthetic of our work environment. For individuals with location high in their results, how their workspace is decorated, the temperature of the office, or even the "vibe" might have a profound impact on their ability to thrive at work. Having some leeway to decorate your own space can also be a big boon.
Covid-19 is changing the calculus of work and location. A 2021 Harvard study found that of those working remotely, only 12% wanted to go back to working in the office every day as they did before. The rest (88%) want to either stay fully remote or end up in a hybrid situation where they work remotely a few days a week and in the office a few days a week.
Even before Covid-19, there was research showing that “homeworking” is associated with increases in employee well-being and more balanced work-home relationships. Another major study in the fall of 2020 found that 94% of employees reported that remote work was as good as or better than working in the office. While companies are currently grappling with what to do, this will have a profound impact in some sectors. The reason for this is simple. The companies that will allow remote work will increasingly get the best talent, while the ones demanding a return to the status quo will only be able to hire employees who live nearby and WANT to commute every day.
Scoring high on location does not mean that you have a strong preference for either remote or in-office work. You might enjoy either one and, because of the last few years, you are likely to have more options than you did pre-Covid. So now it’s not just whether you like your work location, it may be whether you like a work location at all. If you’re staying home, think about arranging your workspace to allow some bumpers between work and other aspects of your life. Spend some thoughtful time and effort on building a physical location that helps you achieve your work and personal goals.
For many in the youngest generation of workers, those in their teens and early 20s, there may be benefits to working in person instead of remotely, at least initially. A recent Microsoft study found that many (but not all) Gen Z employees are not as well served by remote work as those in the older generations. Networking, mentorship, and training are easier in person. Often, workers at this age don’t have enough money yet to build a good work-from-home location, and because of their age, many are still single. Remote work, therefore, can rob them of built-in social connections and be incredibly isolating. Everyone’s situation is different, but location is worth more thought than many give it.
Some may love the fast pace of a hectic and creative open office. Some may love the peace of their own office, with a door between them and the world. Others might rather live in a cabin with their family and get their work done over satellite internet. Even post-Covid, all in-person work offices aren’t going to die, you will just have more choices. You will increasingly have more opportunities to craft not just the career you want, but the location and nature of the life you want to lead. Taking a proactive approach to your location can be central to that.
- Would it be possible to get a tour of the office?
- Where do most of the team live?
- What is the commute like (train, walking, biking)?
Job Search Tips
- Visit the actual location you will be working from. You need to see how you like the space.
- Spend some time thinking about the places you have felt the most inspired and productive. Then try to find employment opportunities that match these places in pace, aesthetics, and geography.
Autonomy is an APPROACH
Satisfaction in our careers depends on how we do a job, not just the nature of the work performed.
Two people can fill a role effectively but approach their work very differently. Their success and happiness depend largely on their ability to work in the most effective way for them.
With autonomy high in your results, you value being trusted and appreciate having room to figure out your own way of doing things. The intrinsically motivated respond most positively to autonomy, and when given that autonomy they become more motivated.
Autonomy is the level of discretion you have over your work and how you do it and is deeply intertwined with ownership and trust. The higher the skill level needed for a job, the more autonomy you have. Being an expert at something has many perks, and one of them is higher levels of autonomy. Studies show that workers who have higher levels of autonomy in their job tend to have better job performance, satisfaction, organizational commitment, lower work-related stress, less fatigue, and more intrinsic motivation.
You can approach attaining high levels of autonomy from three different angles. Autonomy is largely decided by what position you’re in within the company, what type of work you do, and who your manager is. Some positions lend themselves to more autonomy, but a micromanaging manager can interfere with your independence.
One secret to finding jobs with high autonomy is to become a manager. Managers, however, are not always known for being particularly good at what they do, which is no wonder, because most of them have never had formal training in management (it’s been proven)! Professional management training is a great way to get a high-autonomy job in virtually any field you’re interested in. Consider an MBA or MPA, for example. People who complete these kinds of programs have very high starting salaries, learn skills that can be applied almost anywhere, and usually find jobs with very high levels of autonomy.
You will have success if you look for jobs where your performance is outcome-based and your work processes don’t rely on high levels of coordination. It’s also worth noting that autonomy doesn’t necessarily mean working alone (though it can). High functioning and close-knit teams can still have high levels of individual, and team, autonomy. You’re looking for a role where your tasks are relatively self-contained, and levels of trust are high.
- How is success measured in this role?
- Who else do people in this role need to work with to be successful?
- Who else in the company can do this role? (Often roles that cannot be done by others have higher levels of autonomy—whether that’s being the company data-wizard, tax accountant, or courier. If nobody else can/will do it, it’s harder to micromanage you.)
Job Search Tips
- One of your greatest assets here is current employees; they are often far more willing to share how things actually happen than those in charge of the hiring. You can ask the hiring manager if you can talk to a current employee, or, if you’re a little braver, just reach out to them yourself. Tell them you're considering taking a job at their company and that you’d like to ask them a few questions about working there.
- Jobs with high levels of autonomy often come with higher levels of reward (intrinsic or extrinsic), some can also come with higher levels of risk (for instance, pure commission sales). You now know that you care about autonomy, so think about applying that to your job search. Do an honest self-evaluation to determine how much you want social interaction with co-workers, and/or some level of oversight to keep you on task. That can help you narrow down the types of high-autonomy jobs you’re looking for.
These Attributes are the least relevant to your finding a professional fit. While not as important for you to recognize as the positively correlated Attributes, we have found that, because no job is perfect, it is helpful to know what you might be able to give in exchange for what you need from an employer.
Having remuneration at the bottom of your results table does not mean that you don't care about money. We all need money. What is suggested by this result is that after meeting your basic needs and personal financial goals, how much money you make takes a backseat to other forms of compensation. You might prefer to be “paid” with more time with family, a friendly work environment, or a prestigious title.
A study from Princeton University found that having a higher income increases happiness only up to about $80,000 per year. Beyond that higher pay doesn’t influence our happiness very much, and other things start to matter more. Most people think that being rich will make them happy. Relatedly, most people making $80,000 a year don’t feel rich, but studies show they are just as likely to be happy as people who are making much more money. With remuneration low on your list, you are free to prioritize other values.
Also, with remuneration low on your list, you may struggle to relate to people who are constantly chasing after more money. You may even be tempted to judge their pursuit of wealth. Try to fight this urge. Like you, they are looking for respect and self-worth, and their paycheck might be their measuring stick.
Scoring low on sociability does not mean that you are naturally bad at networking, nor does it mean that you work best alone. It just means that you do not require as much social interaction to be fulfilled at work. With sociability low in your rankings you might not be greatly impacted by relationships with your co-workers. Office politics can have little or no impact on your life unless they make getting the job done more difficult. You can confidently seek employment that is remote, or independent.
Sociability is one of the rarest attributes to find at the bottom, most people need to interact with others to achieve any degree of personal satisfaction. You may need to go out of your way to interact with others and to help them feel welcomed and valued as members of the team. This is particularly true if you are in leadership. Your progress at work will also largely depend on your ability to interact with others. Networking can be critical to advancement.
Status Lowest Attribute
Having status-seeking relatively low in your motivations means that you can more easily find value and meaning in your work without being constantly recognized by others, (though it virtually always feels good to be admired). It can also mean that even in less meaningful/enjoyable job you are getting enough respect and esteem in your life outside of work that you don’t need as much affirmation from your job and co-workers.
Not needing as much external validation opens up good opportunities that others might not enjoy and has the side benefit of helping to keep you away from some of the potential pitfalls and temptations of self-aggrandizement. On the flip side, you might not do a good enough job of self-promotion and might even downplay your accomplishments. You might want to look a little deeper and see if the work you have done is better than you are giving it credit for. Because you don’t get as much satisfaction as others from external affirmation, it might not occur to you how important it is to recognize your own achievements.
These key-indicators, while not as relevant to your personal strategy, should be studied and understood because over the course of your career it is likely that one or more of these results will increase in importance to you. There also might be an insight or question that will be of value to you.
With clarity high in your results, you should prioritize positions that have clearly defined processes, outcomes, and expectations. Many of the most satisfied employees are so happy because they see that they have become very good, even expert, at something. The feeling of mastery, and making progress towards mastery, is one of the greatest gifts work can offer.
This doesn’t mean that you need your hand held to succeed—far from it. It simply means that success is clearly defined. Through hard work, ingenuity, and brilliance you can become more successful in your role every day. Look for jobs where there is little mystery to how success is measured or achieved, then you can spend your time becoming great instead of guessing what you’re supposed to do.
One great way to add some clarity to your role is to seek careers that are marked with formal credentials and certifications. This helps you and others keep track of what you are capable of doing. It is easier to measure your skills in a credentialled field. (This is why credentialing is very difficult for painters and waiters, but much easier for doctors and accountants). Clarity in what you need to know lends itself to clarity in what you need to do, which is something you appreciate, and for good reason.
Remember that, as with predictability, you can help your manager provide you more clarity. Just do it in a humble and non-accusatory way. Say something like, “I have a few questions for you so that I can make sure I give you exactly what you're looking for,” are almost always going to lead to more clarity.
- What would a typical workday look like?
- What would your dream employee for this position become excellent at?
- How clearly is success is measured in this role?
Job Search Tip
- The interview is a great place to gain insight. Some clarity comes with the type of position you are applying for, but far more often comes from how clearly management lays out their expectations. Ask lots of questions about what is expected and pay attention to how precise or “squishy” the answers are. “Squishy” expectations often lead to high levels of uncertainty, making it harder to know what things to spend time on and undercutting mastery.
With collaboration high in your results, you should look for jobs where you get to be part of a team. In the sports world, you’re more basketball than cross-country. You’d rather be part of a band than a solo singer-songwriter. This is a useful thing to value because people who have jobs that people assume are mundane have some of the highest levels of job satisfaction. Why? It’s often because the people in those jobs get to work closely with others as part of a team, and that’s what they end up enjoying the most.
Having collaboration in your top three means that you are motivated by contributing to a team. Get beyond the tasks and figure out what the work is actually like. Is this really a team project, or is the team just a bunch of people doing their own thing with very little interaction? We’re social creatures and we love to achieve things together. So go watch Apollo 13 or Remember the Titans, and get ready to find a job where you achieve something by collaborating with others.
- Will I work by myself in this position or collaborate with a team?
- What do others who have this position seem to like most about the job? (see if they say anything about “the people they work with.” That’s a very good sign.)
- Could you tell me more about the team I would be working on? How often do team members see each other and work together?
Job Search Tip
- Again, look behind the curtain. Don’t be turned off by jobs that may look boring from the outside. Accountants, for example, tend to have very high levels of job satisfaction, in large part because of their team-based work. People in these roles often love their jobs because they are part of a team and collaborate on projects. You can leverage this to take good positions, often with higher pay, because you value how and with whom you get to work more than a sexy job title.
Earlier in our careers, as well as when we are changing industries or job functions, training can be one of the most valuable forms of compensation. Training is an investment. It can be valuable both monetarily and for our long-term progress. Professional training is, on some level, why we go to university and accept apprenticeships or internships. With training high in your results, you might be at a time in your career where gaining access to expertise could be of value to you. Consider a position where you will get quality mentorship and learn the "insiders' tricks" even if this training comes at the cost of a larger starting salary, an impressive title, or other desirable outcomes.
While many focus on the external benefits of their job, you can focus more on the internal. Rather than simply giving you things of value, you want a job that will make you more valuable. This pays great dividends in the future. Studies show that we are constantly seeing ourselves on a path towards our “ideal self.” Though we may not talk about it a lot, we do care about it, and a job that you feel is helping you to move in that direction is a job where you are happier and less likely to leave.
The extrinsic motivations for training are easy to explain. More skills generally equate to greater monetary reward for using those skills. Don’t overlook the internal benefits, however. When you feel you are improving in something, you feel better about yourself, and for good reason! You’re succeeding on your path toward a more ideal self! In a sense, when a job is helping you to develop, there is more to who you are today than there was yesterday. Training may be formal, through workshops, tuition reimbursement, or certifications, or informal, through challenging but (mostly) achievable goals that require you to learn new things to succeed.
Recognize that not all training or mentors are equally valuable to you. You've likely heard that "the advice is only as good as the person giving it." Be selective about who you trust to train you. The mentor-mentee relationship is one of the most powerful in business. Choosing the right mentor can accelerate your career rapidly. Just as selecting the wrong trainer can set you back.
- Can you tell me about any training programs you have for new hires?
- Are senior members of the company available to advise newer employees?
- If I have a question or want feedback on my performance, to whom should I direct my questions?
Job Search Tips
- Seek out positions with formal mentorship or onboarding programs for new hires.
- Identify the attributes of your ideal mentor and then seek out opportunities to work with individuals who possess these qualities.
With flexibility high in your results, you want to be able to blend your work life with the needs and desires you have for the rest of your life. Well, you're in luck! Research shows that those who value flexibility and free time tend to be the happiest and most satisfied with their lives. Why? Because they avoid the (un)happiness traps of spending too much time focusing on things that don't actually make them happy and might even make them miserable.
Consider looking for a job that is outcome-oriented, perhaps project-based, and where strict, in-person time is not highly prized. More and more employers are making it possible for people to be more flexible with their work. Flexibility can be found in hourly jobs, salaried positions, and production-based work. Management is the single most important factor in determining the flexibility of the company's operations—more significant even than the industry or company.
Covid-19 has led to some dramatic changes regarding flexibility and work. A 2021 Harvard study found that of those who switched to working remotely, only 12% wanted to go back to work every day in the office, the rest wanted to either stay fully remote or return to a hybrid situation with some days remote and some in-office every week. Why? The main reason: flexibility. It turns out that feeling like you are constantly under the watchful eyes of your employers and co-workers can dramatically curtail how much flexibility you feel your job has. Remote work has not impacted productivity. Rather, it has allowed people to prioritize other, often more important things, in their lives.
This is a fast-moving situation, but things will not go back to the way they were before because most workers who have tasted flexibility don’t want to give it up. Increasingly, the companies offering the most flexibility will be able to get the best talent. This is good for you. With a little legwork and flexibility on your part, you will have more choices to arrange work the way you want across the different stages of your life.
- Is there a set time that I am supposed to arrive and leave every day?
- Are there any employees who have taken non-traditional approaches to this position?
- What is the company's sick day/vacation policy?
Job Search Tips
- Don't be sneaky about this. If you're hiding what you really care about now, there are two things you need to realize. First, you're going to keep hiding these things once you're hired, which will not lead to more flexibility. Second, if you're applying for a job where you FEEL you need to hide these things, it’s probably a sign that the company won’t give you the flexibility you're looking for.
- Most jobs that are actually flexible are upfront about it during the interview process because it's attractive. So, speak openly about your priorities. To excel in flexible jobs, you need to earn trust. The better your work is, especially when it's done while utilizing flexible working arrangements, the more trust you will earn, the less your manager will worry about what you're doing, and the more freedom you will have.
We give a little more detail in this section than usual because sometimes people are concerned about getting a low score on leadership. Having leadership at the bottom of your results does not mean that you would be a poor leader. What it suggests is that you are someone who can succeed even if your supervisor is not the best. You are capable of being your own inspiration and are self-motivated. With your ability to work even without strong leadership, you don't need to edit your job search much based on the quality of the leadership team.
The most important roles management/leadership can fill for people are motivation, culture, training, and coordination. So, look for a situation where you are excited to work with those on your team, where the culture is already pretty good, where you can train yourself, and where you’re intrinsically motivated to do a good job. 80% of employees say they could do their work without a manager. You just know this upfront! If you’re signing up for a position with a leadership deficit, just make sure you can supply those four things for yourself.
A note of caution, you will probably have a manager so don’t resent them because you feel you don’t need them. They didn’t create their position and most managers have never had any formal training in management. Be dependable and they will appreciate not having to worry about you. Once you have proven yourself, if you feel there is more red tape, oversight, or reporting than necessary, feel free to have a conversation with them and see if some of that can be lessened if you maintain the quality of your work.
Finally, you may be capable of self-management but others around you may need more support. Someday you will likely find yourself in a supervisory role. When you do, make sure that you are offering support and direction to your team, even if you feel they should be able to manage tasks without direction.
First off, everybody likes a change of pace from time to time. Having variety low in the report says nothing about your personality. What it says is that you want to know what you’re going to do at work so you can prepare well and become good at it. High variety positions often preclude people from becoming particularly good at any one or a few things. More predictable positions allow you to become better at specific things than when you have little idea what you will be doing from day to day.
Predictable jobs are generally less likely to cause you anxiety. Expected outcomes are generally clearer, so you can look forward to what you're going to do at work with some surety, and you’ll have the chance to get quite good at it. There is a multitude of benefits to having stability in your work.
Low variety positions are where experts are forged. Virtually every single Olympian has a very low variety job. Yet it’s thrilling, they are extremely good at what they do, and they are openly admired by others for it. Low variety overlaps well with specialization. Many people are worried that they don’t know what they want to become experts in. Even if you’re not sure upfront, just pick something and move on it. Studies are clear, just the feeling that you are becoming an expert in something is more satisfying and fulfilling than the anxiety-inducing quest to pick a passion out of thin air. Over time you will discover things you enjoy and learn enough to become the expert you want to be.
Scholars often delineate between generalists and specialists. Because you care less about being a specialist, that means you can focus all of your efforts on being an excellent generalist. Great generalists are extremely valuable because they can “speak the language” of different areas of expertise and help them work together. The best generalists are excellent at making connections between different specialties because they have some familiarity with all of them. Specialists are generally less equipped to do this and must rely on generalists to work well with different groups. Generalists often become the best managers.
The generalists who thrive are often specialists in organization and social politics. What this means is that they are particularly good at helping teams work together, organizing their efforts, smoothing over social mismatches between various factions, and helping everyone get the most from their work.
Having purpose at the bottom of your list doesn't mean that your life is without meaning, nor does it mean that you aren't passionate. It means that you don’t cound on your job to satisfy your passions or give your life purpose. Very often it means that you use the resources provided by your job to facilitate the things that do bring you purpose. Despite all the “follow your passion” rhetoric you were taught about your future career growing up, you are using your work to allow you to find purpose elsewhere and facilitate your other passions. This is very healthy, and more likely to lead to a happy and fulfilled life than trying to find your purpose from your job.
As you search for opportunities, consider that people often make compromises to work somewhere purposeful. The good news is that you don't need to do this. You can look for a job that maximizes your other career goals, even if it means you aren't working for an organization with a mission about which you have deeply held feelings. Flexibility and free time are great tradeoffs to bargain for, and studies show they can help you find more meaning in your life than others who seek purpose primarily from their work.
First things first, scoring low on excitement doesn't mean you like boring work or that you are boring. There are plenty of very boring wilderness firefighters. What this means is that you don't need your work to provide that excitement for you. This is a great asset because it gives you flexibility where others, who really want to find excitement AT WORK, don't have it.
Because excitement is often the result of some amount of chaos, jobs that focus on making things run smoothly, creating steady growth, and organizing or arranging things can be very fulfilling even if they are less exciting.
Excitement is a whole-body experience, and day-in-day-out, excitement can be rough on a person. People who desire excitement at work often pay for it in other areas, like salary. They may also be more susceptible to dropping the ball in the less adrenaline-filled aspects of their life, such as personal development or their relationships. You can maximize your need for adventure and excitement elsewhere, and let work be work.
The Job-Hunt Guidebook
A collection of the most important myths and truths found in the last 20 years of academic studies on interviews, resumes, and applications.
The Truth Behind Job Postings
The great mismatch between how hiring managers view job postings and how applicants view job postings, and how that’s derailing applicants.
The Three Things Employers are Looking For in Applications
in Applications and Interviews and the central questions the interviewer is asking themselves about you.
The Four Lies Employers are Worried About in Your Application
- These affect how they view all applicants, even the 100% honest
- How this changes the way you need to present yourself
- Detailed and specific steps you can take to use this knowledge in your application, resume, and interviews to rise to the very top of the stack