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.
Autonomy Highest Attribute
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Predictability Lowest Attribute
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.
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 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 excitement high in your results, you're looking for something that provides you a literal physical/psychological reaction, at least from time to time. Excitement and work are not often spoken of together because most jobs, even great ones that people really enjoy, aren't usually exciting. Luckily, there are plenty that are. Nobody wants a monotonous job, but you would probably prefer something beyond just “not monotonous.”
Excitement is mental, but it has effects on the whole body. It is motivating, thrilling, and can enliven your senses. Excitement is also associated with perceived danger, and there are many jobs with a risk of physical danger (firefighter, etc.). These important jobs require people who thrive in dangerous situations. Physical danger, however, is not the only form of perceived danger. Social danger can also be exhilarating. Virtually any type of performance in front of a crowd is exciting, from arts to athletics, to public speaking, sales, or even teaching.
Excitement at work often overlaps with unpredictability. A hallmark of exciting work is solving unexpected problems on the fly. Sometimes these will place you into situations that you weren’t prepared for, and to be honest, are not even fully qualified to handle. But you may be the best or only one available to do it. Done right, this can lead to a lot of growth and personal development. People who can make things happen AND make good decisions on the fly in high-stress situations are diamonds in the rough.
Forging a new path is also exciting. When you can go to bed at night knowing that something new was created today because of the work that you did, that's exciting. While some of the jobs listed above may provide obvious thrills, unpredictability and urgency go hand in hand with excitement and can be found in many positions. Others will often pass up on such jobs because they are unpredictable. It's their loss and your high.
- What parts of this job do you think will be the most exciting?
- Every job has some boring parts. What do you feel are the most tedious parts of this job?
- Why do you feel most of your employees enjoy working here?
Job Search Tips
- Sometimes excitement is a form of payment all by itself, so the most exciting jobs often don't pay as much as more monotonous jobs. Don't let that deter you! If your financial needs will be met, considering the excitement as part of your pay.
- What's exciting is different for everyone, so you may have a unique opportunity if you are excited by something that others are not. Find dog grooming to be very exciting? Great! Use that!
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.
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?
Having collaboration at the bottom of your results means you enjoy jobs that many others might find too isolating. This might be because you just happen to like it that way, or perhaps because you feel that your social needs are being met outside of your job through your bowling team, chess club, seven kids, partner, or the hobby farm you come home to every day. Great! Organizations need people who can thrive in jobs where they are self-directed and largely independent. Working successfully with minimal oversight can often lead to opportunities for promotion.
Although you enjoy captaining your own boat, that doesn’t mean that you (or any human) will thrive in isolation. So, even if you can succeed as a lone wolf, make sure you find ways to connect with others in meaningful ways. Having lunch with friends or coworkers, getting a coffee, drinks, or some food outside of work, invite a coworker to join you or your family for a hike on the weekend, or even participating in a thriving meme-sharing culture on Slack can help you build worthwhile professional relationships.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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