Holland Code is a test that allows people to explore compatible career by their
interests. It was referred to John Lewis Holland’s theory of vocational personality. The Holland code can be formed by three dominant personality that selected from six possible personality.
According to his theory of vocational personality, personal interests and lifestyle determine a person’s personality type. People are not only be classified into a single category, they can be multi-faceted.
Most people are similar to the mixture of six major personality such as Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, also known as RIASEC. People with different personality will find for different environment according to their preferences. They will be more satisfied and successful if the work environment is similar to their personality.
Development Of Holland Code Test
The concept and reformulation of Holland Code were changed over time even though the main idea of six personality still remains. In the 1950s, John Holland has published a series of paper about vocational preferences.
Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) was the precursor to Holland’s theory that consist of 11 scales to provide information about interests, interpersonal skills and self-conceptions. The core of Holland’s theory is six of the scales that represent the basis of RIASEC types.
He describes that person choose a type of career as a way to express their personality. To handle the environmental tasks, people try to build a hierarchy of preferred methods. People choose their vocational in order to satisfy his hierarchy of adjustive orientations CITATION Nau10 \l 2052 (Nauta, 2010).
Holland originally identified six major occupational environments such as motoric, intellectual, esthetic, supportive, persuasive and conforming. People work as machine operators, laborers, farmers and carpenters in the motoric environment. People will be chemists, physicists, biologists and mathematicians in an intellectual environment. People work as writers, musicians and artists in the esthetic environment. People work as social workers, therapists and teachers in a supportive environment. People who work in the persuasive environment are a salesman, promoters, managers and politicians. Lastly, the secretaries, clerks and bookkeepers work in conforming environment CITATION Mar17 \l 2052 (Leach, 2017). These types of description resemble the final theory.
Holland also emphasizes the acquisition of occupational environment information CITATION Bac02 \l 2052 (Brown, 2002). Teachers and parents as an external influence on the development of people. People who have more information about the occupational environment will more likely to make a suitable choice.
He forms an idea of each type of person has a different way of life, ability to communicate and methods to solve the problem. The explicit hierarchy cause to “directional choice with minimal conflict or vacillation”. He originally stresses on the ability to self-evaluate accurately, the importance of environmental knowledge, self-knowledge and environmental influences. CITATION Nau10 \l 1033 (Nauta, 2010)Holland improved his theory over time, it provided more clear definitions of the main concepts and comprehensive description of the RIASEC. The concept still remains that the basis of a person’s comfortable working environment is based on their abilities, beliefs, interests and preferred activities.
The Holland’s RIASEC model is closely related to a lot of vocational choice tests and measurement until today. There are including VPI, Self-Directed Search and Vocational Decision Making Difficulty scale.
Validity & Reliability Of Holland Code Test
Reliability and validity are important to ensure the practicability of a test. Reliability is used to evaluate the level to which the test results are affected by external reason and the consistency of the test results. Validity is focused on the believability of the test.
The RIASEC scale has been applied in cross-cultural vocational studies and translated to a lot of languages. It also used by a lot of practitioners and researchers that come from different countries. There is some evaluation to examine the reliability and validity of a different version of RIASEC scale that uses in different social and cultural environment.
ReliabilityCronbach’s alpha is a method to test the internal consistency reliability. An Arabic research paper use the Arabic version of RIASEC scale to measure the consistency of key concept and meaning. There are 178 female students that study difference course are selected to use the Arabic version of RIASEC scale. Each of the six vocational personalities was measured by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient depends on the 178 female students CITATION Sai17 \l 2052 (Saifuddin & Aljojo, 2017). The result shows that the value of Cronbach’s alpha was 0.601 to 0.699.
Face validityFace validity is the extent a measure is to be linked with a specific construct, it can be detected by the target group that is applied to the test. Usually, the participants of a scale will provide the feedback on the scale items depends on whether the scale has a strong and comprehensive description of the major concept.CITATION Sai17 \l 1033 (Saifuddin & Aljojo, 2017)
There are twenty PhD candidates that have a different kind of educational and career backgrounds evaluated the face validity of the short version of RIASEC. The result shows that some aspects of the shorter version of RIASEC require more support by certain items. The participants comment that the translations are inaccurate with the original version of RIASEC and there is no detailed description about the type of jobs even though there include a generalized description about a career. They also argued that social stress, job stress and the difference of social status and gender affect the result of the scale. It will cause biases in scale responses.
For example, women will always think that mechanical work would need to do by men. It results in the grade of items about mechanical that given by women will relatively low CITATION Süe16 \l 1033 (Süerdem & Erkök, 2016) The example to improve the shorter version of RIASEC, it is needed to add the handcrafts into the scale and the expressions of the scale need to be clearer in Realistic type.
In Investigative type, the certain items that unconcerned with hard sciences needs to be added. In Artistic type, the items that more relevant to contemporary interests such as painting, graphics and media can be added. The scale can add the voluntary programs of NGO in social type. For the Enterprising type, there has an adequate number of items. CITATION Süe16 \l 1033 (Süerdem & Erkök, 2016)Content ValidityContent validity is about the degree to which the scale has appropriate items to describe its proposed construct.
The scale must be assessed by the experts who have a specific field of expertise. The experts make an accurate connection with the main idea and the construct of scale in order to give the influential feedback. CITATION Sai17 \l 1033 (Saifuddin & Aljojo, 2017)There are seven senior HR professionals and recruitment specialists that come from different career evaluate the content validity of original RIASEC scale CITATION Süe16 \l 1033 (Süerdem & Erkök, 2016). In the comment of these experts, the original RIASEC scale is an effective tool that used for career planning, as well as offer instruction for personal vocational development. They also suggest that choosing a job depends on personal interests is a good way for people who still not have a vocational choice.
According to the respondents, the shorter version of RIASEC scale was less professional and the number of items used in scale was inadequate. It also needs to be a more detailed description to apply in the different cultural influences.
Application Of Holland Code Test
Holland code test is mostly used in career guidance and advising. Counsellors can explain the preferences or suitable career to their clients through the test. It is very useful to build self-awareness in clients and help them to know their strengths and weaknesses, preference as well as characteristics. It is very important that counsellor guide their clients in a proper way to increase the effectiveness of Holland Code test.
First, the advisor should ask some question related to students’ experience instead of fully explain to the students immediately. Being curious about the traits that appear in students’ life and how the experience having a relationship with the outcome. This can help the advisor to foster the relationship with students. It is necessary to ask some question during a conversation in order to increase the understanding of advisor towards students. Next, the advisor should make sure that the result has been reviewed. However, avoid from over-preparing because this will hinder the exchange of opinion freely between advisor and students. Remember to listen carefully to clients and note down some important things or questions as well as ask some questions related to the conversation. Last, the advisor should remember that you are just giving suggestion but not help the student to make the decision, being neutral but not prejudice towards students.
There are six personality listed in the Holland Code Test, realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. Everyone has their own personalities; understand it will enable you to work effectively and not being bored during the job.
First, realistic people like to work with animal and non-organisms. Most of them will refuse to join the social activities. They are usually good at working with tools, machines, plants or animals. They value the things that can be seen and touched as well as used. This kind of person will see themselves as realistic, mechanical and practical.
The second personality is investigative. This type of person always sinks in solving arithmetic and sciences questions because they are good in calculation and problem-solving. They always see themselves as scientific, specific and clever.
Third, an artistic person likes to do creative work like drama, art and dance but avoid from doing highly ordered things. They are very talented in arts and value it. These people see themselves as genuine, expressive and independent.
Next, people who are social will always help others. Most of them are good at teaching, guiding and counselling. They value solving the social problem. The most popular jobs that this kind of person will choose are teacher, counsellor and nurse. A social person thinks themselves as friendly and trustworthy.
Fifth, enterprising person mostly like to lead people and to sell their ideas but avoid them from careful observation. They value success in business, politics and leadership. They see themselves as energetic, ambitious and sociable people.
Lastly, conventional is people like to work with numbers and record it in an orderly set. This kind of person value success in business and see them as good in planning and orderly.
Criticism Of Holland Code Test
The reliability of Holland code test also being suspected by some critics. First, the attitude of students towards the test will affect the result. It is very great influence that whether the students are being social desirability or not. Social desirability is respondents answer the questions in the way of desired by others or social. It means that respondents will over-report their desirable behaviour and under-report their desirable behaviour, for example, when students faced a question, “how often you play a game?”, the student might reply, “once a week”, although he or she plays the game every day because they know that social belief students always play the game are not good in studies. This behaviour will decrease the reliability of the test and cause the interpretation of advisor being wrong lead to misunderstanding in clients’ preferred job.
Some critics think that John Holland is neglected the cross-cultural effect. This Holland code test was formed in an industrial country, so the result may be inaccurate when it applies to people in the non-developed country. This is because there are a big difference in life and interest according to their living area.
Next, there are some critics claiming also that Holland code is a conflict with the Person-environment Fit (P-E Fit). P-E Fit can provide combination between individual’s personality and career environment. Many critics said that Holland Code test is in a static view permanently but P-E Fit can only be achieved at a given point in time when career decision is made or at the point later on when the individual’s tenure at the organization has been analyzed. Besides, John Holland also neglected the stability which is an essential trait in person-job congruence, productivity and satisfaction.
In conclusion, Holland Code test has a great influence on students’ career decision. It can help the student not feeling confused in choosing their work in future and increase the effectiveness in working due to the job chose is their preference. Although there are some critics in this test, it still cannot overtake the advantage and practicability of it. Doing some research before giving the test is useful in explanation and increase the reliability of the result.
- Applying Career Theory to Practice: Tips on using Holland Clusters with Clients. (n.d.).
- Brown, D. (2002). Background of Holland’s Theory. In Career Choice and Development (4th ed., p. 375). John Wiley & Sons.
- Critical Review of Reliability and Validity of John Holland’s Test: Self-Directed Search – Assignment Example. (2017, Decenber 22).
- Leach, M. M. (2017). Counseling Psychology. Routledge.
- Nauta, M. M. (2010). The Development, Evolution, and Status of Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities: Reflections and Future Directions for Counseling Psychology. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(1), 11-22. doi:10.1037/a0018213
- Saifuddin, H., & Aljojo, N. (2017). A Study of the Reliability and Validity of Holland’s RIASEC of Vocational Personalities in Arabic. American Journal of Information Systems, 5(1), 33-37.
- Süerdem, A., & Erkök, B. (2016). Assessing the reliability and validity of a shorter version of RIASEC in Turkish. SHS Web of Conferences, 1-8. doi:10.1051/shsconf/20162601063