How Holland Code tests work: All you need to know

Apr 12, 2020 | assessment | 0 comments

There are many types of pre-employment tests candidates may be asked to do. You may want to know what peoples’ Myers Briggs types are or which DiSC category they fall into. The Holland Codes test, also known as RIASEC, is another great option.

If you are unfamiliar with the Holland Codes test, let us enlighten you. It was created by psychologist John L Holland in the 70s.

It is a personality test that you can do in order to see what types of jobs you may be suitable for. It divides people into 6 major job categories. These are also known as the Holland occupational themes or they most commonly referred to by the acronym RIASEC.

Read on to find out about Holland Codes candidate tests – all you need to know.


How Do Holland Code tests work?

You can get candidates to complete this test online. It is usually free to get a simple result, but you may have to pay to get a full report.

On some sites, respondents are presented with a series of statements. They tick the ones that apply to them. Some examples are ‘I like to teach or train people’ and ‘I enjoy science’. On others, they rate the statements on a scale, for example ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’.

Based on these answers, the participants are sorted into 6 categories. Keep reading to find out what they are.


How Can It Benefit You?

These categories cover a whole range of roles – we go into that below. As a recruiter, you could use this as a pre-employment test for job candidates. We are all familiar with the concept that employees are generally more satisfied when they are doing work they like or are good at. So, this is a good way to see if a candidate is one of the right personality types for the job on offer.

As an HR professional, you may be dealing with a staff member who is unhappy in their current role. If they aren’t engaged at work, offering them new career paths could be a good option. If you are not sure what type of role they may enjoy, the Holland code assessment could help. Maybe they will discover something they never realized about themselves. Try to encourage them to match their interests and strengths with their career and vocational choice and you may just find yourself with a more motivated staff member on your hands.


The Holland Code Tests Categories – RIASEC

The acronym RIASEC was developed to denote the first letter or each Holland Code category. Each category has a set of roles associated with it, which the person may be suitable for. Take a look at a summarized version below. Note that each role has numerous career options associated with it.

  • Realistic (Doers)

These people are practical and may suit roles such as carpenters, fashion designers or architects.

  • Investigative (Thinkers)

This category of people enjoys working with ideas and could flourish in jobs like being counselors, engineers, data analysts or lawyers.

  • Artistic (Creators)

People who are creative and enjoy self-expression. They could be the next great dancer, psychologist or writer.

  • Social (Helpers)

Social types enjoy helping others through roles such as a nurse, social worker or vet.

  • Enterprising (Persuaders)

Enterprising people like to get others on board with their vision. They can be entrepreneurs, sales people, HR professionals or politicians.

  • Conventional (Organizers)

These types of people generally like rules and organization. They could enjoy occupations like computing, finance or web development.


Implementing the Holland Codes Test

The final step is learning how to incorporate the test into your recruitment practices. 

When dealing with job candidates, you can ensure that they are a good fit for the job in question. This test may not be the deciding factor in who you hire but it does give you an indication of the job/person fit.

If you have a staff member who doesn’t know what their next move should be, try directing them to this test. It was designed by John Holland to help people such as these. Rather than offering career counseling yourself, this test may help them discover what they want to do.

Alternatively you can try assessment tools that incorporate the Holland Codes in order to measure a candidate’s match for your company’s job roles making your external recruitment process more efficient. Similarly, you can assess your internal candidates for positions within the company making your internal talent matching simpler while, at the same time, increasing your employee job satisfaction. 


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