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.
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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.
Purpose Highest Attribute
With purpose high in your results, you should look for opportunities to connect your efforts with the employer's mission, or even to a deeper purpose. You will likely find the greatest satisfaction in your work if you are part of a cause or have a clear sense of who you are serving and are not just collecting a paycheck or working up the corporate ladder. Focus on what matters most to you and look to connect with organizations that share your passions. Realize that you can find purpose in many different areas, including in your contribution to clients, your co-workers/team, or the overarching goal/mission of the organization.
The trend over the last decades has been for people to come into the workforce hoping to receive more purpose from their jobs than previous generations did. This is tricky because satisfaction is based on expectations, and high, but unmet, expectations can lead to disillusionment, which is devastating to intrinsic motivation. Your labor and your life are intrinsically valuable, so you want your hours of effort each day to contribute towards making a difference in something you care about. Of course, you can make a difference in your relationships and hobbies outside of work. But if you scored high in purpose, you want to feel that the work you are doing is making a difference in the world.
Making a difference comes down to our humanity. We are social creatures which is one of our greatest strengths. This means that making a difference comes from usefully serving other people, or even things (such as the environment, trees, or stray animals). The more you can draw a connection to how the work you do serves others the happier you will be. There’s not just one way to do this either. Find what works for you. Surprisingly, many accountants feel high levels of meaning in their work. An in-depth study discovered more than 10 different ways that they found that meaning. Some felt meaning in their role as the referee for the financial marketplace, others found great meaning in helping their companies organize their resources, while others loved contributing to their team and coworkers.
It is worth knowing that not everyone is like you. Many people won't feel deeply connected to the mission or will simply consider it just a nice side benefit to the job. Their approach is just fine. Try to avoid being frustrated by those whose passion for their work is not equal to yours.
In the end, there are more ways to find meaning in your work than most realize. However, almost no jobs will feel that way all the time. Doctors spend a lot of time doing paperwork, and firefighters spend a lot of time on false alarms and waiting in the station, so temper your expectations a little bit. In the end, purpose comes from relationships and service. Even in the best jobs you won’t feel it all the time but try to find a position that resonates with the contributions that you want to make.
Finding purpose in your job is more like feeling healthy. It takes work that is sometimes disruptive and unpleasant, and that doesn’t mean you’re spending every second basking in ecstasy and pleasure because of your health. Instead, it will infuse your entire life and upgrade everything a little bit. It will make the hard/sick/unhealthy times a little better. It will also give you moments from time to time that are rich and powerful, where all of the meaning of what you are doing comes rushing in on you. Savor these. But remember, even if you have a very fulfilling job, don’t forsake your life and relationships outside of work; research shows that longer-term purposes and life-satisfaction almost always relies more heavily on how we prioritize the “life” part of the work-life balance.
- Can you tell me more about the people your organization serves?
- Why did you (the founders) start the company?
- How do you (the interviewer) feel about the mission of the company?
Job Search Tips
- Look at the company mission statement. It will tell you what the company values. Try to find a company that is aligned with your values.
- See if you can find customer testimonials that speak to the impact the company has made.
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.
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.
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.
With location in your bottom results, you can confidently pursue the best opportunities regardless of their location. You are highly adaptable and can adjust to life in the big city, small town, near family, or far from it. This does not mean that you don't have preferences, just that those preferences don't strongly determine your level of satisfaction at work.
Agility can be a very powerful advantage when job hunting but if overindulged can prevent you from developing the deep roots that are often essential for advancement. Stay flexible on location but keep an eye out for aspects of your location that really resonate with you and try to maintain and maximize those going forward. (Note: Location preference is a domain that often changes over the course of a career. It may be in your top three at one stage of your career and in the bottom at another. Don't assume because it’s at the bottom now, which suggests that you can be happy working anywhere, that you will always be geographically versatile).
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.
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 variety in your top attributes, you should consider jobs that don’t necessarily look the same from one month to the next, or even from day to day. One option could be project-based jobs. You may also enjoy working on a team where everyone needs to wear multiple hats from time to time (for instance, most startups). Variety comes with unpredictability, which for some is a perk. You get to solve problems, and you’ll often be thrown into situations in which you are not yet an expert. This is a fast track to gaining competency and experience across many different areas.
Variety doesn’t necessarily mean a chaotic or unpredictable workplace (though it can in some fields if that’s what you want). Some jobs, such as K-12 teaching, coaching, and construction, have variety built into them because of the different topics, lessons, projects, and people you interact with every day.
To find a job that’s high on variety, look for positions that have structural reasons for why your work would vary. Does the position entail working for diverse clients on their various needs? From consulting to accounting to home remodeling, working with clients is one way that variety can be built in. Another often overlooked source of variety is working on a small team or in a small company. As part of a smaller firm, relatively few people must address the day-to-day tasks and problems. Everyone has to pitch in for the venture to succeed. This is a good way to avoid boredom.
- How many clients do we work with at any given time, and how different might the jobs be for various clients?
- What will my day-to-day work look like? (Often, in positions with high variety this will be a hard question for them to answer, which is a good thing in this case)
- How big is the team I will be working on and how do job assignments get handed out?
Job Search Tips
- Look for the words “client” and “project” or “project-based” or “many/multiple/different hats.” These are not the only ways to find jobs with high variety, but they’re a great start.
- Want variety? Go work for a startup. There are job boards that post positions specifically for startups and you will likely end up doing work across all sorts of areas in a fast-paced environment.
Specialization means that you value becoming very good at something. Virtually every superhero story (Avengers), crime procedural (Bones), or heist movie (Oceans 11) features a team of highly specialized individuals. These teams work because the group is made up of people who are incredibly good at their individual specialties. That is their calling card. It’s exciting, satisfying, and meaningful to be the resident ‘expert’ on something. The fact that specialization is in your top three means that this is something that will be particularly enjoyable to you.
Scholars often delineate between generalists and specialists. You want to be a specialist. To be a specialist, focus on hard skills that are easy to quantify. That doesn’t mean you have to be a coder (though that’s a great job), but you’ll want to find a position in which you can measure and show your progress.
Perhaps surprising to some, specialization often dovetails nicely with low-variety jobs. This does NOT mean boring jobs. It means jobs that you have a chance to become very good at because you are allowed the time and opportunity to become excellent. Professional video gamers have extremely low-variety jobs that are almost impossible to attain because so many other people would love to be paid to play the same thing over and over for so long that they get extraordinarily good at it. Most areas of specialization have far less competition than video-game streaming, so even a little expertise can make you the best in the room, the best in the company, or even beyond.
Becoming a specialist is very fulfilling because you can see that you are getting better at something. It’s also clear how important your work is because often you’re the only one around who can perform a particular task. This also comes with some social status. Expertise can be achieved in any job or at any education level. Master’s degrees and trade certifications are, by definition, paths to mastery in a specific area, and a great way to show your expertise.
- What hard skills are vital for this job?
- Are there any company-sponsored trainings/certifications that are part of this job?
- Does the company offer any education programs to help employees gain more skills?
Job Search Tips
- When considering a specialization, ask yourself, ‘how many people could put this on their resume?’ If the answer is very few, you’re on the right track.
- Imagine a current or future supervisor introducing you as “This is (your name). They’re our _______ expert!” Are you working on something that could fill that blank? Does this job provide you the opportunity to learn skills that would lead a future employer to say this about you?
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.
Sociability relates to the importance of your relationship with others, whether they are your coworkers, clients, vendors, or customers. The people that we work with are often those with whom we spend the most time. As someone with sociability high in your results, you are particularly attuned to these relationships, whether positive or negative. It is therefore important that you do your best to choose an environment that suits your personality and your social needs.
Everywhere you work will have a company culture. Even within the same industry, one firm might be very professional and another more laid back. Your ability to fit in and be a valuable part of the team may depend on your innate connection to the company’s culture and the team. There is nothing wrong with you if you don't fit in at a particular business. Like romantic relationships, sometimes it just doesn't work out.
You would like to avoid negative social situations and for good reason! Studies have estimated that between turnover, loss of productivity, loss of commitment to the company, and decreased creativity, having one major jerk on staff can cost a company over $100,000 annually.
There are situations, such as highly competitive jobs/cultures, where being intimidating or putting others down can appear to help people gain power. The effectiveness of the organization and team, however, will suffer as those individuals have built no goodwill or trust, yet they will carry on thinking that their cutthroat ways are the key to their success. Numerous studies show that this is false, but they still believe it, and so will others. You will often run into some amount of competitiveness in your workplace, and that’s ok, but look for red flags that the entire culture is competition-based.
Being high in sociability does NOT mean that you are emotionally dependent; it means that you desire and appreciate the relationships you have with people at work. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t handle having a jerk around. The world’s top researcher on dealing with workplace jerks suggests that his favorite way to cope with them is emotional detachment, or teaching yourself not to care about negativity from that person. It’s their problem, not yours, and you don’t have to play their game. This is also a useful life skill in general.
You aren’t necessarily doomed because of less ideal social situations at work, it’s just harder. It’s even possible to gain great satisfaction from being a force for goodwill, forgiveness, and service in a previously less-functional group. You’re never going to find a job with perfect people who are always kind to each other. So just do what you can to be a force for good, foster a healthy relationship with your coworkers, and then go from there.
Studies show that if you work for a jerk, you are more likely to become one. So, no matter who ends up around you, take control of your own choices and choose to be a decent human being first. As someone who prizes sociability, you’ll appreciate the friendships and goodwill that come from being kind at work.
And finally, take this mantra to heart: Be slow to label others as jerks, be quick to label yourself as one. Being quick to label yourself the jerk, or at least pausing to consider how you might be contributing to the problem is vital. All humans tend to deny and downplay their imperfections. Just because you highly value sociability doesn’t necessarily mean you’re good at it (sorry!). But knowing that you value your workplace relationships means that you have the advantage of knowing what to get good at. You may benefit more than anybody else by learning and practicing the skills of sociability, teamwork, peacemaking, and friendship-building.
- Can I meet a few other members of the team?
- Could you describe the company culture to me?
- Can you describe your ideal coworker?
Job Search Tips
- When considering opportunities, pay special attention to how the employees interact with one another. Try to even sit in on a meeting. Can you see yourself contributing to their conversations?
- Try to find someone who has worked with or for the company you are considering. Often the impressions others have of an employer and their team can help us determine how we might fit in.
- It doesn’t take many jerks to affect a workplace. Feel free to ask employees if any such people are working there. A word of caution, don’t ask for WHO they are—that’s gossip, and it sets everyone up for trouble. Instead ask something like, “I don’t want any names, but are there some workers here that you feel generally make your life difficult/miserable?” If you get a couple of people who say yes, realize that there is a decent chance this will be more contagious than it might seem upfront.
With training at the bottom of your results, you are likely comfortable figuring it out as you go. Many companies, particularly startups, do not have formal training and mentorship programs. This lack of structure and process is frustrating for many people and can lead to turnover. But, for someone who can cope or maybe even thrive with a lack of direction, there is an opportunity to provide value and find success. Since you can compromise on training, you will have more options. If you’re happy with your job position, but don’t feel a great need for new training, there’s a good chance you are starting to turn more of your creative attention towards projects and relationships outside of your work. This is very healthy.
Opportunities for training become fewer and fewer as your responsibilities increase and when you work independently. A word of caution, don't run before you can walk. We all need training. Don't be too eager to reject the voice of experience. However, with training low on your list of professional needs, you could be ready to consider more of a senior role.
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 equally effectively but approach their work entirely differently. Their success and happiness depend largely on their ability to work in the most effective way for them.
Scoring low on autonomy doesn’t mean you aren’t self-motivated or independent. The opposite of autonomy is coordination. This indicates that you like being part of a team. You enjoy the interactions and the feeling of being an important part of a multi-faceted team or process. Many high-profile careers are relatively low autonomy (acting, professional sports, politics, etc.) because their outcome and processes are deeply intertwined with the work of others, and that’s great! Don’t look at low autonomy as a negative.
That said, nobody likes to be micromanaged. Even in the most interdependent positions, find out how managers oversee and correct the work of people in positions you are considering. Micro-managing drives everyone crazy and makes it harder to do great work, so ask a current employee if management is respectful of individuals and their work. Also, when you become the manager, remember that giving people as much discretion as you can within the needs of the project has vastly better outcomes than micromanaging. Unnecessarily reducing autonomy can obliterate intrinsic motivation.
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 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.
Having predictability toward the bottom of your test results means that structure and clarity are less necessary for you to succeed. You should consider a wide range of options, even those with no formal structure. People with low predictability demands thrive in startups or relatively new and fast-growing companies. In these situations, everyone comes into work every day prepared to help pitch in on just about anything. Done right, this can be very exciting.
Although predictability is low in your values, it does not mean that you can thrive in a situation with terrible communication and vague expectations. For instance, being an author comes with very low levels of predictability. There is no set work schedule, and it is very difficult to know if your book will be successful. Unpredictability is built into the job. Imagine you have an editor that gives you the feedback to “make this better.” This is unhelpful and can even be counterproductive. Even if your job is unpredictable, work with your managers to make sure you have a good sense of what they’re looking for.
While having predictability toward the bottom of results will allow you to trade formal expectations for qualities that are higher on your list, understand that you will still need to demonstrate how you bring value to your employer. Without clear expectations, it can be challenging to prove your value. Think about ways you might demonstrate how you are contributing.
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