Nye on Time.com: Interest measures good predictors of job success
The ancient Greeks had it right when they inscribed “Know thyself” on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The maxim remains good advice today for
both job seekers and employers alike, according to Dr. Christopher Nye, industrial/organizational psychology.
Nye was featured in a recent story on Time.com’s Moneyland page discussing why it’s
important for employers to choose workers who are truly interested in their company’s business and, conversely, why it benefits people to make the
effort to understand where their interests lie before pursuing employment.
“The old adage ‘If you can find a job you like you’ll never work a day in your life’ is true,” Nye said. “If the
employee’s interests are not a good match with the occupation they’re in, it doesn’t work out well for them or their employer.”
A study he co-led, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, showed that employee interests do predict how well someone will perform,
whether they will leave the job, and if they will be helpful to co-workers — “what we call ‘citizenship behavior,’” Nye said.
It thus also behooves employers and human resources professionals to spend some time asking people who actually do the job in question what it entails, and
then try to find employees whose interests are a good fit with those responsibilities, Nye said. “Businesses have a big responsibility there. There
are certainly ways they can do better in their hiring practices.”
There are several readily available resources to help both employers and employees. For instance, the U.S. Department of Labor provides two free websites
that are very useful, first in pinpointing one’s interests and compiling a personal profile, or mixture of
interests, and then finding the jobs that align with those interests.
According to the Holland Codes — a commonly used method for categorizing interests— there are six primary types of interests: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social,
Enterprising and Conventional.
“The important thing to remember is that people have multiple interests, and we have to look at the whole profile,” Nye said. “We need to
find the best match between our profile and our job.
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