Which office environment is best for your personality type?

Though no test can fully describe an individual’s personality, these tools can help professionals who are struggling to decide on their next career step.

For decades, the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Association has utilized psychologist John Holland's six personality traits to describe types of professionals. Though no test can describe an individual's personality with 100 percent accuracy, these tools can help professionals who are struggling to decide on their next career steps.

"Office culture and individual personality are inextricably linked," says Kristy Lariviere, Recruiting Manager for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Detroit. "One influences the other, and it's up to the team to decide the value of culture and the extent to which their individual personalities inform it."

Here are Holland's six personality types along with the work environment which appeals to each type the most:


According to Holland, people who exhibit the realistic personality type tend to enjoy working with their hands. Examples of jobs that attract this personality include carpenters, mechanics, engineers and electricians.

People who like to work with their hands likely thrive in situations where they can work outdoors or in multiple kinds of environments. For example, carpenters visit many unique locations throughout the course of the workweek. However, not every job in this category is required to work under the open sky. Positions in machine shops and garages offer many opportunities for kinetic work away from the elements.


The conventional personality type is attracted to jobs that work with data. Organizing, analyzing and solving math problems are common activities within these positions. Examples include accountants, medical record technicians and actuaries.

These jobs tend to exist in traditional office environments. Because the work involved with these types of jobs requires dedicated mental focus, they are often found in cubicle environments. Professionals in this category may also enjoy working from a home office.


This personality type enjoys working in close proximity to others. People who fall into this category tend to prefer work that involves regular communication with clients and customers. Professions that appeal to the enterprising personality include financial planners, managers, sales representatives and real estate agents.

These positions are also found in traditional office environments but require workers to leave the office to meet with clients and customers. Enterprising professionals often work from coffee shops and other nontraditional environments when on the road.

The type of office environment you prefer can help you determine in which direction you should steer your career.


As the name implies, people with an investigative personality like to learn, explore and evaluate at work. Investigative professions include psychologists, computer programmers, lab technicians and physicians.

This category of jobs lends itself to environments that encourage exploration and analysis. These professions often need room for workers to work on multiple projects at once. Workers may enjoy moving around throughout the day as they switch between tasks.


People with the artistic personality are often attracted to creative positions. These individuals end up in freelance positions where they can work with a wide client base. Examples of creative professions are copywriters, graphic designers, journalists and architects.

Individuals in artistic professions gravitate toward the environment that is most suitable for their job. Writers may prefer to work in an office, a home study or coffee shops. Visual artists may work with a computer in an office or in a large studio with lots of room to move around. These professionals tend to enjoy surrounding themselves with objects and environments that inspire their creativity.


As with the enterprising personality, the social personality enjoys working with others. The difference here is that individuals with the social personality are more concerned with helping others. Professions include nurses, teachers, counselors, social workers and human resources.

These professionals work in a wide variety of environments, from classrooms to examination rooms. Some individuals may even follow the work wherever it happens to be. For instance, social workers may travel to client homes regularly.

Struggling to find a job that's right for you? Speak with an expert recruiter at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

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