What kind Of Job Is Right For Me?


Towards a Unified Model of Job Matching


Matching candidates to jobs is a complex task. Both an organization and a candidate are exposed to a large number of facts, impressions and stimuli. The two sides examine each other's advantages and disadvantages, and at the end of a complicated process, decide if they will be able to work together.

From the organization's standpoint, the variety of candidates, their individual characteristics, the complexity of the matching and the cost of an error in recruitment , make the decision to hire a worker very challenging.  Anyone dealing with recruitment faces great difficulty in evaluating candidates and assessing their suitability for a position.

On the other hand, candidates looking for jobs do not have an easy life either. They are meant to select suitable employment from an assortment of possibilities, find a position that meets their talents and personal needs, apply to different companies to market themselves and emphasize their relevant qualifications in interviews, assessment centers, etc.

The first section of this article reviews some of the difficulties facing organizations and candidates in the process of matching potential employees to jobs.

The second section deals with existing tools available to the organization and the candidate to cope with the situation, with a particular focus on the means at the candidate's disposal. A model will be presented that matches people to positions through integration of individuals' occupational interests with their career aspirations.

Challenges for the Organization in Matching Candidates to Jobs

This task of matching candidates to jobs is complex because the examination process is like putting together a puzzle whose shape changes as it is being assembled. Unlike other creatures or objects in nature that do not change when examined, the human organism, with its consciousness, abilities and aspirations, can change its reactions when examined. People can highlight qualities that are important to filling a position and hide those that could interfere with their performance. Examiners, and inexperienced examiners in particular, can themselves be biased when assessing candidates; many studies have found that the subject's age, gender, ethnicity and the order in which they are interviewed influences examiners' decisions.

Another difficulty is that even the subjects themselves are not always aware of the different aspects of their personalities. Psychoanalytic theory maintains that people subconsciously repress unflattering traits and tendencies.

Assuming that we have been able to overcome these first two obstacles, we still face an unknown variable - the potential employee's future plans and behavior. Life is dynamic, people are subject to change and  there is no guarantee that they will persist in their plans and behavior in the future.

It is important to note that in the unique interpersonal encounter of an interview, the reality of organizational life is not always faithfully presented. The pressure to recruit a large number of employees, a candidate who is pressured to find work, are factors that may cause reality to be unrealistically reflected through rose-colored glasses. Candidates may be left with certain impressions, not necessarily accurate, that may not be verified when they begin to work and realize that talk is one thing, reality another.

Challenges for Candidates in Job Matching

Just as organizations examine different applicants for a position, candidates also filter a variety of work offers reaching them through the media, agencies and other channels. This is true today particularly in the high-tech market, where employees can find themselves "bombarded" with an abundance of attractive job offers, and pursued vigorously by various companies.

What such candidates actually want is to find a job that suits their qualifications and meets their material and personal needs. They

do not always know for sure where their talents lie and what area really suits them. Candidates ask themselves questions, such as whether to continue to search for the most desirable position, or to compromise and not wait too long. Whether to choose a position that is more interesting, but pays less, or to emphasize income. Whether to join a small start-up company just beginning to grow, or to apply to a large company with established technology. Sometimes we see that considerations of economic profitability cause candidates to choose a particular direction that does not necessarily suit their interests. Sometimes candidates find themselves in a particular position without any rational  planning beforehand.

Various studies have found that candidates who do plan their careers, who set career goals and are aware of their talents and abilities, can attain their objectives and become integrated in more attractive positions than those who do not plan this way. Such awareness usually emerges in periods of transition, at "career junctions," when individuals are forced to think about required changes and the direction they wish to pursue in the future.

In light of these mutual challenges, we must ask what the key to successful matching between candidate and organization is.

Compatibility between the Candidate and the Position

One of the theories in the field of human resources that can help indicate compatibility between the candidate and the organization is the "Theory of Adjustment to Work ," which is the cornerstone of the concept of recruitment. This theory contends that the mutual satisfaction of the employee and the company can be explained by the following:

1). Matching between the abilities, personality structure and qualifications of the candidate/employee and the proposed position.

2). The organization's ability to meet the employee's material (extrinsic) and internal-motivational (intrinsic) needs through job content and rewards.

Such matching will yield successful placement; that is, satisfaction on both sides, and will predict which employees will remain in the organization in the long term.

The first matching is measured by:

a). An examination of candidates' experience, employment history and education. This is carried out, for example, by checking CVs and in personal interviews. It is reasonable to assume that lives show logical continuity and consistency. Therefore,  if individuals have successfully carried out activities that demanded certain qualities in the past, then they have the traits and skills needed for a similar position. Thus, we see the transition from deputy bank director to bank director as a natural process, while the move from deputy bank director to sales manager does not seem as obvious.

b). Most psychological theories hold that there is a basic structure shaping our behavior called psychological makeup, which can be more or less firmly established. Psychometric examinations and personality tests are some of the tools that an organization, with the help of a diagnostic center, can use to check  candidates' suitability for a position.

On the other hand, candidates can use existing tests, which will be focused on later in this article, to determine their personality type and to help them understand their own psychological makeup.

The second aspect of the theory is tested during the employment interview (or should be tested - it tends to be neglected and not checked it as it should be), and by additional personality tests that look at the candidate's ambitions, expectations and future plans in order to try and determine whether expectations are mutual. Candidates, as well as organizations, can assert their expectations and needs with the help of tools from the field of career management, such as the " Career Aspiration" test.

Candidates' Considerations of  Job Matching - Occupational Interests

This section relates to job matching from the candidate's perspective.

As noted, the first area of matching is between the candidate's qualifications and those needed for the job. One way this can be checked is by examining candidates' occupational interests.

Holland, a well-known, experienced and very prolific researcher in this field, notes that these occupational interests reflect an individual's major personal characteristics and self-image.

According to Holland, all individuals can be categorized into six personality types. Each type is a cluster of character traits that suits different work environments. Correlation between a personality type and a position will yield job satisfaction, better performance and stability.

Holland's personality types:

R - Realist - has technical capabilities. Enjoys working with machines and tools. Has a practical, performance-oriented approach. Emotionally stable, materialistic and engaged in the present. Uncomplicated worldview, has accepted values and is not overly interested or sensitive to others.

Examples: Technician, Metalworker, Pilot, Construction Supervisor.

I - Investigative - has scientific and mathematic skills, prefers using words, ideas and symbols to handle tasks rather than taking physical or social action. Prefers to engage with theoretical problems and leans toward the academic and abstract world. Does not want close social involvement, and sees self as intellectual and introverted with a complex worldview.

Examples: The Academic World, Research and Development, Software Engineer

E - Enterprising - prefers managerial positions that provide power and challenges. Enthusiastic, extroverted, persuasive, practical and prefers working with people.

Examples: Managerial and Entrepreneurial Positions: Sales Manager, Marketing Manager.

C - Conventional - tends to engage in the areas of organization, administration and accounting. Practical thinker, precise and persistent, prefers working according to clearly defined guidelines. Has better mathematical than verbal ability, is controlled and stable. Prefers relationships with familiar people.

Examples: Accountant, Administrator, Bank Clerk

A - Artistic - prefers artistic realms such as music, acting and design. Has a rich inner world, complex vision, expressive ability, is introverted and original. Usually sensitive, rebels against conventions, impulsive.

Examples: Actor, Painter, Architect

S - Social - prefers working with people, has psychological insight, is sociable, understands people and is highly articulate.

Relies on feelings and strong intuition to cope with interpersonal tasks.

Examples: Journalist, Psychologist, Teacher, Lawyer

Readers will realize that they may be able to place themselves in one of these categories, but are likely to find additional categories that suit them. Accordingly, Holland claims that people usually have one central type of personality, but contain additional types as well (usually two) that are connected to the dominant type. For example, realists are close to investigative types to some extent, and may share some characteristics with  conventional types, as opposed to social types, whose traits they will be less likely to possess. To complicate the picture somewhat, and to adapt it to the reality of our complex personalities, Holland says that there may be  simultaneous, conflicting tendencies within the model of personal interests.

Occupational interests are connected to people's capabilities, genetic makeup and the personality that evolves during the first years of life. For example, it is natural for people with a technological inclination to choose a technical position and not to engage in artistic activities. This is the hard core that influences the choice of profession.

Candidates' Considerations of Job Matching - Career Aspirations

Career researchers feel that beyond occupational interests, there is another component of an individual's personality that must be taken into consideration when dealing with job matching: "career anchors," according to Schein's terminology . This article will use the term "career aspirations," as we are referring to factors that are meant to advance a career and not cause it to remain in place as the term "anchor" might imply. These aspirations concern the inner needs and expectations of the employee, in contrast to the occupational interests that can be seen as part of the candidate's "hardware", such as personality and skills. Career aspirations relate to the second area of matching in the adjustment to work theory, the match between the employee's needs and the organization's  ability to meet them.

As noted, the first matching is between the candidate's qualifications and the job requirements. This is an essential condition, but not sufficient to ensure a successful match. It is important that there be a meeting of minds between the two sides, which is expressed in the organization's effective response to employee's needs and values - their career aspirations.

Career aspirations are connected to the intrinsic needs of a person, the central life themes that guide a person toward career goals. Following are examples of this concept, according to Schein:

  1. Autonomy - the need to be free of organizational constraints; a desire to express capabilities independently of long-term commitment, without connections that restrict individual freedom.

  2. Service - preference for public service positions. Providing assistance, support and attention. The willingness to be available, to contribute, to care for and be involved in others' difficulties.

  3. Security - the need to stabilize a career through a long-term  connection to a single organization or occupation. The main theme is maintaining what exists and preventing unnecessary adventure and uncertainty.

  4. Growth - the strong need to grow and evolve, to perform a variety of skills, even at the expense of status and tenure, with an emphasis on positions that will contribute to creativity and personal development.

  5. Status - preference for positions that enable high status. A search for the trappings of power, prestige and influence for the sake of personal advancement.

Humanist - psychological theories - as well as Maimonides - believe that these aspirations are dominant in determining a person's actions, as individuals consciously, of their own free will, form their personalities and as a result, their choice of profession. If occupational interests relate to what a person is today, then the aspirations can be seen as what the person wants to be in the future.

Occupational interests will likely accompany us for many years, for personal and prosaic, practical reasons. For example, it is not likely that a sales manager in his forties will change his occupational interest and retrain in medicine, both because his skills do not suit that profession and also because entry to medical school is limited to applicants below the age of 35. However, it is possible that a high-tech entrepreneur will begin to contribute to the community, thus changing the central aspiration of his life from achieving and accumulating capital to one of growth and community work. We have recently come across such phenomena.

Career aspirations can change every few years, according to Erikson and other developmental psychologists. With the passing of time, perspectives change, the tasks, challenges and values of one period of time are exhausted and we turn to new tasks and challenges.

Some careers are initially characterized by the aspiration for tenure and achievement, and later change to autonomy and growth, and sometimes it's the other way around.

Of course, the changing environment exerts an influence. Today's age of great and frequent change has implications for a career aspirations such as security, which will probably become more difficult to attain because of the current technological and economic dynamics.

The following table presents a summary of the differences between an occupational interest and a career aspiration:

Occupational Interest

Career Aspiration

Relates to the present

Relates to the future

Who am I?

Who do I want to be?

Personal background

Ideals and values



Career content

Career shape



Practical dimension

Idealistic dimension

The integration of these two elements, the occupational interests and the career aspirations, create a matrix in which a large variety of personal profiles can be categorized, providing a more complete overall picture. Each such personal profile is suited to a different work environment. The collection of profiles represented in this matrix are compatible with a large number of diverse positions. Workplace dynamics show that some positions are renewed and some disappear, but in general, the variety of employment possibilities is increasing and with this, the demand for a more accurate job-matching model.

The integrated model matching persons to positions







Technical bent

Highly realistic, seeks stability.

Example: Mechanic in the regular Army

Highly technical bent, interested in position with status.


VP of Engineering

Highly technical bent, interested in work with people and providing service.

Example: Service technician

Highly realistic, seeks freedom from organizational constraints.

Example: Independent consultant

Realistic. Seeks personal development and steady growth.

Example: Hardware engineer


Administrative skills, seeks stability.

Example: Bank clerk

Administrative skills, interested in position with power and status.

Example: Bank manager

Administrative skills, interested in work providing service.

Example: Receptionist

Administrative skills, interested in freedom from organizational constraints.

Example: On-call typist.

Conflicted model. Seeks satisfaction and self-fulfillment outside of work.



Entrepreneurial and managerial skills. Interested in maintaining status-quo and secure status.

Example: Conservative manager

Entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Interested in achievement and promotion.

Example: Achievement-oriented, powerful manager

Entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Interested in supporting and assisting employees.


Supportive manager

Entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Prefers working independently

Example: Entrepreneur, private developer

Entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

Interested in personal development and growth.

Example: Charismatic manager







Has artistic bent

Seeks to maintain the existing.

Example: Exhibition curator

Has artistic bent

Interested in position of status

Example: Museum Director

Has artistic bent

Seeks to use craft for practical purposes.

Example: Web designer

Has artistic bent

Operates independently


Independent artist

Has artistic bent

Seeks personal development




Has investigative, exploratory skills

Interested in secure work at a large organization.

Example: Programmer for a large organization

Has investigative, exploratory skills

Interested in a high position.

Example: Director of research institute

Has investigative, exploratory skills

Communicative and service-oriented.

Example: Economist

Has investigative, exploratory skills

Interested in least restrictive environment and a great deal of freedom.

Example: Academic researcher

Has investigative, exploratory skills

Interested in growth and development.

Example: Programmer for a start-up


Has social skills seeking a permanent job. Example: Teacher in public school

Has social skills Interested in a high position.

Example: Lawyer

Has social skills

Interested in work with people and providing service.

Example: nurse

Has social skills

Interested in least restrictive environment and a great deal of freedom.

Example: Organizational Consultant

Has social skills

Interested in growth and development

Example: psychologist

Each individual has a number of leading interests and aspirations. However, to get a more complete and accurate picture, one must identify the individual's other dominant interests and aspirations, as they are not mutually exclusive and can complement one another.

A web designer has an artistic bent, but can also have realistic-technical interests. If this person is interested in working independently, outside an organization, there will likely be an aspiration to autonomy in addition to an aspiration to provide service.

We can see that a career aspiration can shape the job chosen according to occupational interests. Persons with conventional interests can be income tax accountants, if they aspire to security, or  alternatively, can be independent tax advisors, if they aspire to autonomy. A strong interest in the social area opens a wide variety of options, from teacher to lawyer or psychologist. If the aspiration is status, it may be that the person will choose to be a lawyer, and if the aspiration is growth (or perhaps service), the choice may be to become a psychologist.

From enterprising-managerial interests and an aspiration to growth, we get an image of the manager as leader, the charismatic manager, while enterprising-managerial types who aspire to status yield the forceful-manipulative manager, achievement-oriented with influence on others.

This provides a holistic point of view, dynamic and changing over time, that reflects people's interests and the central themes of their lives. A varied and complex picture is created, through which we understand that it's important to know who these persons are right now, but just as important to know what they want to be in the future.

This approach tells to human resource professionals, to examine the candidates' qualifications and experience, but not to neglect the aims, motivation and values connected to the world of emotional intelligence, and the ways in which people approach their goals.

Job seekers must evaluate occupational interests and their strong and weak points. However, they should not forget to consider the more internal, purposeful dimension, which will enable self-fulfillment and better job matching.

A questionnaire on the topic of preliminary employment guidance, What kind of job is right for me, based on the above model, is now available.


Dawis, R.V. & Lofquist, L.H. (1969). Adjustment to Work. Appleton Century Crafts- New-York.

Holland, J. L. (1997). Making Vocational Choices. (3th Ed.) Florida:PAR

Schein, E. (1996). "Career anchors revised: Implications for career development in the 21st century". Academy of Management Executive, 10(4), 80-88.



By Yossi Or-Yan, published in "Human Resources," August 2000, Volume 152