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A closer look at the psychological diversity within Holland interest types: Construct validation of the Career Insight Questionnaire.

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The past years have been witness to a renewed attention for vocational interests in both theory and practice. In this context the present research aims to illustrate the relevance of finer-grained interest information next to more general information at the domain level. A recently developed and Holland-based interest instrument is presented and validated; it measures 15 interest components in addition to the more familiar Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (RIASEC) domains. We provide evidence for (a) the hierarchical structure of specific interest components under broader interest domains and (b) the convergent validity of this instrument. Moreover, (c) the relevance of considering diversity within Holland types is illustrated by showing divergent associations with Big Five personality traits.
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A closer look at the psychological diversity within Holland interest types: Construct
validation of the Career Insight Questionnaire
Cite as:
Wille, B., De Fruyt, F., Dingemanse, S. A., & Vergauwe, J. (2015). A closer look at the psychological diversity within
Holland interest types: Construct validation of the Career Insight Questionnaire. Consulting Psychology Journal:
Practice and Research, 67, 234-257.
Abstract
The past years have been witness to a renewed attention for vocational interests in both theory
and practice. In this context, the present research aims to illustrate the relevance of finer-grained
interest information next to more general information at the domain level. A recently developed
and Holland-based interest instrument is presented and validated which measures 15 interest
components in addition to the more familiar RIASEC domains. We provide evidence for (a) the
hierarchical structure of specific interest components under broader interest domains, and (b) the
convergent validity of this instrument. Moreover, (c) the relevance of considering diversity
within Holland types is illustrated by showing divergent associations with Big Five personality
traits.
Keywords: vocational interests, Holland model, interest assessment, interest
differentiation, personality
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 2
A closer look at the psychological diversity within Holland interest types: Construct
validation of the Career Insight Questionnaire
The past four years have been witness to a renewed attention for vocational interests in
both theory and practice. This is stimulated by recent research demonstrating the validity of
interests and vocational fit in predicting relevant work behaviors, including job knowledge (Van
Iddekinge, Putka, & Campbell, 2011), job performance (Nye, Su, Rounds, & Drasgow, 2012),
and counterproductive work behavior (Iliescu, Ispas, Sulea, & Ilie, 2015). Clearly, such findings
point to the importance of interest assessment in consulting contexts as a way to ensure an
adequate matching of personal interests with occupational environments. In this paper, we will
present a recently developed interest assessment tool intended to facilitate and optimize this
process of matching interests to occupations by considering the psychological diversity within
interest types in greater detail.
In the interest field, Holland’s (1997) taxonomy of vocational personalities fulfills a role
which is similar to that of the Big Five in the personality field, namely that of an integrative
framework that describes a wide variety of differences in individual preferences. Holland
specifically proposed that a set of six interest-based categories, Realistic, Investigative, Artistic,
Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, collectively referred to by the first-letters acronym
RIASEC, can be used to describe the diversity of individuals’ differences in interests. Each type
is characterized by a constellation of interests, preferred activities, beliefs, abilities, values, and
characteristics. Holland’s RIASEC structure is presently the most widely used model for
organizing career interest assessment instruments, and consultants around the globe feel
comfortable using this intuitive and scientifically validated taxonomy (Nauta, 2010).
However, during the past decade, there is also growing debate about the usefulness of the
Holland model to structure interests in theory and practice. Without refuting Holland’s theory, it
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 3
has been suggested that the RIASEC types might be insufficient to mirror the complexity and
diversity of today's world of work (Armstrong, Day, McVay, & Rounds, 2008). Moreover, others
have noted that broad RIASEC scales have the problem that they can include hidden facets,
limiting specific interpretation (Savickas, Taber, & Spokane, 2002). This issue is comparable to
the heated debate in the personality literature concerning the bandwidth-fidelity dilemma (Ones
& Viswesvaran, 1996), where it has been argued that the Big Five are too broad to predict the
specific criteria of interest.
Attempts have been described in the interest literature to deal with this problem of
oversimplification imposed by the RIASEC structure. Most notable efforts in this regard are the
spherical model posited by Tracey and Rounds (Tracey & Rounds, 1996) and the slightly
different one’s proposed by Tracey (1997, 2002) which involved an expansion beyond Holland’s
six types. Instead of six types, organized in a specific hexagonal structure, eight types were now
specified occupying slightly different positions in the circumplex structure.
Dealing with the oversimplification in the RIASEC structure by shifting towards new
interest domains
1
and introducing additional ones is only one solution. In the present paper, a
different approach is presented that aims to respond to today’s complexity by considering
diversity within existing Holland types instead. The idea defended here is that interests can be
assessed in a hierarchical manner, with two or more specific interest components as the building
blocks of broader RIASEC interest domains. A widespread consensus (e.g., Digman, 1990) in the
field of personality is that the description of personality can be undertaken in a hierarchy of levels
with specific descriptions at the lower levels of the hierarchy. The advantage of adopting this idea
1
A note on terminology: “Domain” refers to the highest unit of analysis, both for interests (i.e., the six RIASEC
dimensions) and personality traits (i.e., the Big Five traits); at a lower level, we use the term “components” to refer to
more specific interest dimensions and “facets” to describe lower-order personality traits.
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in the field of interest assessment is that the well-known RIASEC framework can be retained,
with lower-level interest scales accounting for the complexity mentioned above. Although
Holland elaborately described the phenotypical richness within each of the six theoretical interest
types (see further), the main focus of his assumptions and hypotheses was on differences between
types rather than within types. In the current context of increased occupational specialization, we
believe that it is fruitful to consider differences within interest types next to the differences
between types, and to create assessment tools that cover the variability in interests at both levels
of abstraction. A concrete example of such an approach is presented here with the development
and validation of the Career Insight Questionnaire (CIQ; Dingemanse, Van Amstel, De Fruyt, &
Wille, 2007)
2
.
Background of the Career Insight Questionnaire (CIQ): Need for refinement
The CIQ was developed by consultants for consultants, in collaboration with people from
academia with specific expertise in interest and personality assessment (Dingemanse et al., 2007).
Consistent with Savickas et al’s. (2002) theoretical observations, the authors of this instrument
experienced that broad RIASEC scales have the problem that they can include hidden facets,
disregarding obvious diversity within types. In the day to day assessment practice, this could for
instance mean that two clients or job applicants with the same score on Enterprising could appear
quite different in their underlying preferences. Person A could have a strong preference to be a
really responsible leader; Person B could be marginally interested in leadership, but obtain an
Enterprising score based on a pronounced preference for sales and achievement in a commercial
setting. So, both show the need to achieve and to be noticed, but underneath, there could be quite
2
This paper will not handle the technical development of this inventory (e.g., item generation and
scale construction), but will instead focus on the conceptual rationale behind it. Technical details
are reported in the test manual and are available from the authors upon request.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 5
significant differences in their preferences. Similar examples of within-category diversity could
be given for each of the five remaining RIASEC types (see further). Unfortunately, these
seemingly relevant differences could not be identified using the state-of-the art Holland-based
inventories, which merely assess interests at the level of broad RIASEC dimensions. The CIQ
was developed to fil this gap, and the present set of investigations is intended to evaluate the
construct validity of this new instrument.
Before discussing the interest components included in the CIQ, it is worthy to note that
the idea of different levels of specificity in interest assessment is not entirely new. For example,
in its initial stages, the Strong Vocational Interest Blank (Strong, 1927) only consisted of
Occupational Scales, empirically derived from the interests of men in specific occupations. In
1968, a set of homogeneous content scales, or Basic Interest Scales (BISs; Campbell, Borgen,
Eastes, Johannson, & Peterson, 1968) were added to the instrument, measuring interests in 23
general areas of activity, such as mathematics and writing. Shortly after, a historic merger
occurred when the Strong inventories integrated Holland’s general RIASEC types as General
Occupational Themes (GOTs; Borgen, 1986). The result was a vocational hierarchy of interests,
with basic interest scales on a level of generality between occupational themes and specific
occupational titles.
In the Strong tradition, this hierarchical conceptualization of vocational interests was the
result of an empirical bottom-up approach. Using the intercorrelations of the Strong Vocational
Interest Blank items, BISs were developed to provide greater organization and interpretation of
the original heterogeneous Occupational Scales. Later, these homogeneous content scales were
organized and grouped according to General Occupational Themes, offering a more specific
measurement of Holland’s RIASEC interest types in terms of preferences for concrete
occupational activities (e.g., Merchandising, Advertising, Writing, Public Speaking).
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For the development of the Career Insight Questionnaire, and the construction of its
RIASEC components in particular, an inductive approach was adopted. Combining the day to day
consulting experience in the field with a thorough reexamination of Holland’s theory, a selected
number of specific subscales or ‘components’ were developed for each of the six vocational
interest types. Whenever prominent and persistent differences in clients were noticed within
interest types, Holland’s original work was consulted to see how these differences could be
formally interpreted. For the social interest type, for instance, we consistently noticed that one
category of people was strongly interested in teaching activities, whereas another category
showed a pronounced interest in caring activities. In Holland’s original work, the Social type is
described as a person with a preference for activities that entail either developing others or curing
others. The combination of practical consulting experience with seemingly different clients
within one interest category and conceptual arguments drawn from Holland’s theory led us to
create two different interest components (i.e., Care and Education, see further) for this interest
type. A similar approach was adopted for the remaining interest domains.
Contrary to the basic interest scales in the Strong tradition, these components were not
empirically developed with the purpose of covering specific occupational activities within each
of the RIASEC types. Alternatively, they were devised to grasp the psychological diversity
within each of the Holland personality types, as confronted with in daily consulting practice. In
this regard, the top-down approach for developing interest components under interest domains
bares strong resemblance to the top-down approach adopted in the program of research that lead
to the development of the NEO-PI-R, which considers specific personality facets under the five
broad personality domains (Costa & McCrae, 1995). For all six occupational personality types,
two or more components were defined in the CIQ. Eventually, this led to the construction of 15
components that can be seen as building blocks of the Holland types, comparable as to the
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 7
position of personality facets in hierarchical conceptualizations the Five-Factor personality
model. A summary of the 15 interest components is provided in Table 1.
The hierarchical structure of six interest domains and 15 interest components
The Realistic type prefers activities that entail the explicit, ordered, or systematic
manipulation of objects, tools, machines, materials, plants or animals. He or she has strong
manual, mechanical, agricultural, electrical, and technical competencies (Holland, 1997). In the
CIQ, the Realistic type is built upon three more specific components, allowing physical, outdoor,
and technical preferences to be judged separately. In this model, Realistic-Handcraft involves the
liking of hands-on activities. People scoring high on this component favor physically strenuous
tasks and also have the muscular strength, physical dexterity, and manual skills to accomplish
these tasks successfully. They are proud of their no-nonsense attitude and they embrace blue-
collar values like not being afraid to get their hands dirty. The Realistic-Outdoor component is
meant to describe the preference for outdoor activities and the liking of contact with fauna and
flora. People scoring high cannot bear the thought of being forced to spend their working life in
an office. They are not at all discouraged by negative consequences like bad weather conditions.
Finally, according to our model people scoring high on the component Realistic-Mechanics and
Construction choose to work with or repair machinery and tools, and they especially prefer the
masculine, rough side of this. They are fascinated by heavy machinery and big and bold
construction projects. They do not mind noise, bad smells or dirt too much. As a rule they feel
more at ease in a ‘rough’ working environment than in an office space or for instance in a sterile,
clinical environment.
Holland’s (1997) Investigative type prefers activities that entail the observational,
symbolic, systematic, and creative investigation of physical, biological, and cultural phenomena
in order to understand such phenomena. He or she also has the necessary scientific and
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 8
mathematical competencies to accomplish this. The CIQ differentiates between two interest
components for this domain. Accordingly, Investigative-Science involves the preference for
physics, chemistry, laboratory work and fine mechanics. People scoring high are interested in
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)- related work. They are primarily
focused on the research and development side: They prefer to study problems from a fundamental
perspective over simply adopting the obvious, pragmatic or most practical solution. On the other
hand, the Investigative-Theory component in the model involves the preference for intellectual
activities like solving puzzles and abstract thinking. People scoring high on this component are
eager to uncover the how and the why of processes and events. This component identifies ‘non-
STEM’- thinkers: People with a preference for social, economic, political, and philosophical
science. People with high scores are not very action-oriented, but they are proud of their
knowledge and insights.
According to Holland (1997), the Artistic type prefers ambiguous, free, unsystematized
activities that entail the manipulation of physical, verbal, or human materials to create art forms
or products. Artistic types also have the necessary artistic competencies (e.g., language, art,
music, drama, writing) to succeed in these activities. Within this interest domain, the CIQ
separates Creativity from Art. Artistic-Creativity involves the preference for engaging in fresh,
imaginative, and surprising activities. Often, this entails making things more beautiful or
attractive. People scoring high tend to inject their creativity and artistic insight into all aspects of
normal (working) life. Artistic-Art, on the other hand, entails the preference for ‘Art with a
capital A’; these include the classical arts such as theatre, dancing, plastic arts, opera, and
literature. In the Creativity-component, art is a means to achieve a certain goal (e.g., to decorate a
house); in the Art-component, art is a goal in itself.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 9
Holland’s (1997) Social type prefers activities that entail the manipulation of others to
inform, train, develop, cure, or enlighten them, and (s)he possesses the human relations
competencies (e.g., interpersonal and educational) necessary to succeed. The CIQ differentiates
between the nurturing and the developing sides of this type. Social-Care involves the preference
for helping and taking care of others (e.g., the elderly, disabled, drug addicts, and psychiatric
patients). This component is closely related to the concept of altruism: Doing something for
others, without expecting something in return. Social-Education, on the other hand, involves the
preference for developing others, including coaching, counseling, enlightening, and/or training
activities. This component identifies the more goal-oriented or the more businesslike ways of
helping people: Helping people forward, to improve themselves or their knowledge or skills.
Characteristic for the Enterprising type is the preference for activities that entail the
manipulation of others to attain organizational goals or economic gain. These behavioral
tendencies lead in turn to an acquisition of leadership, interpersonal, and persuasive competencies
(Holland, 1997). This is the most complex type in the CIQ, where a differentiation is made
between four interest components. Enterprising-Leadership focuses on ‘pure’ leadership, which
involves pursuing moral predominance and/or responsibility over others. High scorers are usually
confident, assertive, and balanced. People scoring high on the component Enterprising-
Organizing prefer arranging and organizing work activities; not because they perceive themselves
as great leaders, but because they enjoy making arrangements and getting things done.
Enterprising-Competition involves a preference for competitive and commercial activities. This
interest component comes with a liking of activities that entail a certain level of risk, a sense for
opportunism, and the feeling of being challenged by competitive targets. Finally, people scoring
high on Enterprising-Politics and Power enjoy and have a thorough command of work activities
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 10
that entail business politics. They are organization-sensitive, well-adapted to the politics of large
organizations and they are status-oriented.
Finally, the Conventional person has a strong preference for activities that entail the
explicit, ordered, systematic manipulation of data (e.g., keeping records, reproducing materials,
organizing business machines and data processing equipment to attain organizational or
economic goals). These activities also foster the acquisition of clerical, computational, and
business system competencies (Holland, 1997). The CIQ first distinguishes a component focusing
on Conventional-Structure, which involves a preference for well-ordered and neat work
environments, both physically and psychologically. According to the model, scoring high on this
component means a striving for trouble-free work processes, regularity and predictability. This
can be found in work activities where the focus is on enhancing quality and reducing uncertainty.
Conventional-Money encompasses the combination of business-like character and exactitude.
People scoring high on this component have a preference for activities that entail the storage and
manipulation of (financial) data and display a sense for cost-effectiveness. They are prudent and
strict and they have a natural talent for positions in procurement, bookkeeping and treasury.
Personality trait differences between and within Holland interest types
Investigating personality differences between vocational interest types has been a useful
way to better understand the underlying dispositions and motivations that drive these different
vocational preferences (Barrick, Mount, & Gupta, 2003). Specifically, previous research (e.g.,
Barrick et al., 2003; Gottfredson, Jones, & Holland, 1993; Larson, Rottinghaus, & Borgen, 2002)
has now indicated six relatively robust points of overlap between personality and RIASEC
interests: (a) Extraversion with Enterprising interest, (b) Extraversion with Social interests, (c)
Openness to experience with Investigative interests, (d) Openness to experience with Artistic
interests, (e) Agreeableness with Social interests, and (f) Conscientiousness with Conventional
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 11
interests. As was explained by Barrick et al. (2003), these relationships are conceptually
meaningful and appear to be determined by a kind of congruence between individuals’ natural
behavioral tendencies (personality traits) and preference for activities (interests). For example,
the two vocational types with the largest social component (Enterprising and Social) are meta-
analytically correlated with Extraversion, and the Social type in particular is also related to
Agreeableness (Barrick et al., 2003). These results highlight the role of congruence, as people
with a tendency towards sociability and reward-seeking behavior (i.e., extraverts) were found to
prefer to engage in work environments characterized by frequent social interaction, particularly
when these activities provide opportunities to attain positions of leadership, influence and
material rewards. Furthermore, those who are cooperative, considerate, and sympathetic to others
(i.e., highly agreeable people) prefer those work environments where there is considerable social
interaction of a cooperative nature (i.e., from the Social type). Thus, there is evidence that both
extraverted and agreeable people prefer social environments, but the specific nature of the social
activities differs.
The same line of reasoning can be applied to the alleged differences within interest types
as they were described in the section above. For instance, within the Social type, there are work
environments where the focus is on training and developing others (e.g., teaching activities), and
others in which caring activities are more central (e.g., in nursing professions). As a result, both
Extraversion and Agreeableness are positively related to Social interests at the interest domain
level (Barrick et al., 2003). However, this does not need to imply that people with Social interests
need to score high on Extraversion and on Agreeableness, or that only those who score high on
both these traits would match occupations of the Social type. Rather, this suggests that the Social
interest type is composed of related but also sufficiently different subdomains, which appeal to
different personality traits. We believe that exploring the associations between traits and the
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 12
interest components underlying these broad domains will enhance our understanding of the
psychological diversity within broad interest types. The present study is the first to document this
diversity within Holland types by looking for differential associations with personality traits.
The present study
Having discussed the rationale behind the structure and development of the CIQ, a series
of three investigations is presented here that address (1) the structural validity of the CIQ, (2) the
convergent validity of this instrument, and (3) the diversity within broad Holland RIASEC types.
First, the structural validity of the CIQ will be investigated by testing the hierarchical structure of
specific interest components under broader RIASEC interest domains. Our general expectation is
that a hierarchical structure, with the specified interest components loading on their intended
higher order interest domains, will fit the data well. Second, the convergent validity of this
instrument will be examined by investigating the associations with an existing interest inventory.
It is expected that the corresponding RIASEC dimensions assessed with both interest inventories
will show the highest intercorrelations. Finally, the psychological diversity within Holland
interest types will be investigated by relating interest components within one interest domain
separately to the Big Five personality traits. With regard to these associations with personality
traits, we expect to find that there is variation between interest components belonging to the same
interest domain, and that this variation can be explained from the perspective of congruence
between individuals’ natural behavioral tendencies (personality traits) and preference for specific
activities (fine-grained interests).
Method
Samples and procedures
Two different samples were used to investigate the convergent validity of the CIQ
(Sample 1) and the hierarchical structure of this instrument and its associations with personality
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 13
(Sample 2). Sample 1 consisted of 174 participants (58% female) that were recruited through
snowball sampling. A diverse composition of the sample in terms of professional and educational
background was aimed for. Participants were mostly employed (92.5%) although post-secondary
students were also allowed to participate (remaining 7.5% of the sample). Participants’ age varied
between 18 and 64 years (M = 34.5, SD = 11.1) and the average number of years worked for the
employed participants was 12.3 (SD = 10.8). Self-reported job titles indicated a broad variety in
occupations held, covering Realistic (e.g., Technician), Investigative (e.g., Biologist), Artistic
(e.g., Web designer), Social (e.g., Nurse), Enterprising (e.g., Marketing and Sales Manager), and
Conventional (e.g., Clerical Assistant) interest domains. All participants were administered two
interest inventories using an online test platform which was programmed to randomly determine
the order of both instruments. As an incentive, participants were sent feedback on their vocational
interest profiles three weeks after completing the online assessment.
The research data for Sample 2 was obtained as part of an assessment procedure
conducted within a professional consultancy firm. A total of 766 participants (41.3% female)
completed both an interest and a personality inventory in the course of their assessment program
and everyone received personal feedback on their profiles. Participants mean age was 38.3 years
(SD = 11.0).
Measurement instruments
Vocational interests. The Career Insight Questionnaire was used to assess broad interest
domains and more specific interest components in both samples. The CIQ consists of 100 items
3
that are presented as declarative statements and that are scored on a 5-point-Likert-scale going
3
The commercial version of the CIQ also has a second, ipsative module which provides
additional interest information to test users, but which is not considered in the present set of
investigations.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 14
from Totally disagree (1) to Totally agree (5). The CIQ measures 15 interest components which
are summed to RIASEC scale scores, with two (for Investigative, Artistic, Social, and
Conventional), three (for Realistic), or four (for Enterprising) components per RIASEC domain.
The number of items per interest component varies between four (for Politics and Power) and
nine (for Creativity and Structure). Items are summed to components and components are
summed to domains. The Social interest domain has one additional item that is not included in
either one of the underlying component scales; the Enterprising domain has two additional items
that are not included in any of the four component scales. Internal consistencies of the 21 CIQ
scales obtained in both samples are reported in Table 1. In Sample 1, participants were
additionally administered the Dutch authorized translation of the Personal Globe Inventory
Short Version (Tracey, 2010; Holtrop, Born, & de Vries, 2015). The PGI-short uses 40 items that
are each scored twice one a 7-point scale, once with respect to the degree of liking of the activity
(1 = very strong dislike and 7 = very strong like) and once with respect to perceived competence
in doing the activity (1 = unable to do to 7 = very competent). With four items per scale, the PGI-
short measures eight general interest scales: Social facilitating (α = .80), Managing (α = .80),
Business detail (α = .89), Data processing (α = .85), Mechanical (α = .88), Nature/Outdoors (α =
.82), Artistic (α = .87), Helping (α = .70), and two additional prestige-scales that are not used for
the current set of investigations. Using the formulas provided by Tracey (2002), it is possible to
transform the scores on these eight general interest scales into six RIASEC scale scores
4
, which
are the unit of analysis in the current study. Internal consistencies (stratified Cronbach alpha) of
4
The following formulas are used for the calculation of PGI-RIASEC scores from the 8 PGI
general interest scores (adopted from Tracey, 2002): Realistic = Mechanical; Investigative =
Nature and Outdoors; Artistic = Artistic; Social = (2 * Helping + Social Facilitating) / 3;
Enterprising = (2 * Managing + Social Facilitating) / 3; Conventional = (2 * Data Processing +
Business Detail) / 3.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 15
the PGI-short RIASEC scales obtained in Sample 1 are .88 (Realistic), .82 (Investigative), .87
(Artistic), .78 (Social), .85 (Enterprising), and .90 (Conventional).
Personality traits. Participants in Sample 2 all completed the Dutch authorized version of
the NEO PI-R (Hoekstra, Ormel, & De Fruyt, 1996). The NEO PI-R is a comprehensive
personality questionnaire consisting of 240 items that measure 30 personality facets which are
combined into five higher-order personality domains. The internal consistencies (Cronbach
alpha) of the higher-order personality domains, which are the main unit of analysis in the current
study, are .93 (Neuroticism), .89 (Extraversion), .89 (Openness), .86 (Agreeableness), and .92
(Conscientiousness). A description of the personality domains and facets measured by the NEO
PI-R is provided in the Appendix.
Results
Hierarchical structure
To assess the higher-order hierarchical structure of the CIQ interest components, we
conducted exploratory factor analysis-structural equation modeling (i.e., Exploratory Structural
Equation Modeling; ESEM; Asparouhov & Muthen, 2009) using MPlus 7 (Muthén & Muthén,
1998-2013). ESEM, a recent development in psychological measurement, offers a number of
advantages over traditional CFA approaches that render this technique more appropriate for
modeling interest (and personality) data (Furnham, Guenole, Levine, & Chamorro-Premuzic,
2013). These advantages include relaxation of the assumption that items have factorial
complexity of one (i.e., no cross-loadings of items, facets, or components), the availability of
standard errors for parameter estimates in an exploratory setting, and an assessment of fit using
goodness-of-fit indices available in traditional structural equation modeling frameworks. A CF-
equamax oblique rotation was chosen because of its ability to spread the variances across the
factors and reduce the complexity of the factor structure, and also because the CIQ components
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 16
are correlated (see further). The decision upon the number of factors to retain relied on two
different approaches, including the eigenvalues-greater-than-one rule, based on exploratory
Principal Axis Factoring (PAF), and the comparison of different factor solutions in terms of fit
indices and interpretability of the factors, based on ESEM.
Exploratory PAF conducted in SPSS at the level of the 15 CIQ interest components
revealed that the eigenvalues of the first six factors were larger than one (2.852, 2.239, 2.036,
1.423, 1.286, 1.164, 0.857,…). Further, comparing different factor solutions resulting from
ESEM (see Table 2) showed that the 6-factor solution (i.e., Model 6) started to demonstrate
acceptable to good fit indices
5
. Moreover, the 6-factor loading matrix, presented in Table 3,
indicates that all CIQ components load significantly and substantially (loadings >.40; Stevens,
2002) on their intended RIASEC factors. An alternative 7-factor model obtained via ESEM (i.e.,
Model 7 in Table 2) produced better fit indices compared to the 6-factor model, but the resulting
factor loading matrix (not reported here) becomes much less interpretable. Based on (i) the results
of the exploratory PAF, (ii) the mostly acceptable fit indices produced by ESEM, and (iii) the
clear pattern of factor loadings associated with this model, it can hence be concluded that a 6-
factor higher-order model with CIQ interest components hierarchically structured under the broad
RIASEC domains adequately describes the data. The intercorrelations between the latent interest
factors extracted from the CIQ are reported in Table 4. The factors are only modestly interrelated,
with correlations not exceeding |.30|.
5
Relative or normed Chi-square 2/df): A value of 5 indicates an acceptable fit, ≤ 3 a good fit
and ≤ 2 a very good fit (Kline, 2005); the Root Mean Square of Error Approximation (RMSEA)
often gives the most information about fit, with values of ≤ .10 pointing to an acceptable fit,
values ≤ .08 pointing to an approximate model fit, and values ≤ .05 suggesting a good model fit
(Chen, Curran, Bollen, Kirby, & Paxton, 2008); a Standardized Root Mean square Residual
(SRMR) of ≤ .08 indicates a good model fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999); for the Comparative Fit Index
(CFI), a value of ≥ .90 suggests an adequate model fit (Hu & Bentler, 1999).
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 17
Convergent validity
The correlations between CIQ and PGI interest scales obtained in Sample 1 are reported
in Table 5. In general, the highest correlations are observed between corresponding RIASEC
scales and these were substantial in size. Only the correlation between Conventional interest
scales was somewhat lower (r = .35, p < .001), and here the association was stronger between
PGI-Conventional and CIQ-Investigative (r = .54, p < .001) compared to the association between
PGI-Conventional and CIQ-Conventional (r = .35, p < .001). The inspection of the associations at
the level of the CIQ components further reveals that PGI-Conventional is especially highly
correlated with the Science component of CIQ-Investigative (r = .59, p < .001), while no
significant association is found between PGI-Conventional and the Structure component of CIQ-
Conventional (r = .15, p > .05).
The association between CIQ-Investigative and PGI-Conventional can further be clarified
by looking at the associations between CIQ interest domains and PGI-subscales (not reported in
Table 5). PGI-Conventional is comprised of items from two scales, i.e. Business Detail and Data
Processing. PGI-Conventional-Business Detail shows strong convergence with CIQ-
Conventional-Money, and assesses the level of interest in accounting, assessing, estimating, and
budgeting (Tracey, 2002). The second element of PGI-Conventional, Data Processing, taps into
the interest in the use of mathematics and systems for the analysis and interpretation of data
(Tracey, 2002). While PGI-Conventional-Business Detail is indeed most strongly correlated with
the CIQ-Conventional interest domain (r = .45, p < .001), PGI-Conventional-Data Processing is
most strongly correlated with CIQ-Investigative (r = .59, p < .001).
Associations with Big Five personality domains
The correlations between CIQ interest domains and the NEO PI-R personality domains
obtained in Sample 2 are reported in Table 6. Investigative interests are positively correlated with
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 18
Openness to experience (r = .35, p < .001) and Conscientiousness (r = .14, p < .001), and
negatively correlated with Neuroticism (r = -.13, p < .001) and Agreeableness (r = -.14, p < .001).
Artistic interests are positively correlated with Openness (r = .60, p < .001) and Neuroticism (r =
.15, p < .001), and negatively with Conscientiousness (r = -.15, p < .001). Social interests are
positively correlated with Neuroticism (r = .23, p < .001), Openness (r = .29, p < .001), and
Agreeableness (r = .20, p < .001), and slightly negatively with Conscientiousness (r = -.09, p <
.05). For Enterprising interests, positive associations were found with Extraversion (r = .50, p <
.001), Openness (r = .18, p < .001) and Conscientiousness (r = .20, p < .001), and negative
associations with Neuroticism (r = -.26, p < .001) and Agreeableness (r = -.27, p < .001). Finally,
Conventional interests are positively correlated with Conscientiousness (r = .44, p < .001) and
negatively with Openness (r = -.19, p < .001). Only for the Realistic interest scale, no significant
associations with any of the Big Five traits are observed.
A more differentiated picture emerges when the associations between interests and
personality domains are examined at the level of CIQ interest components. With regard to
Investigative interests it can be seen in Table 6 that the negative association with Agreeableness
only holds for the Science component (r = -.16, p < .001). Conversely, the positive correlation
between this interest domain and Conscientiousness is fully explained by the association between
Investigative-Theory and this trait (r = .29, p < .001).
While the overall correlation between Social interests and Neuroticism is positive, a
diverging pattern exists for the two Social Components, with Care being positively (r = .12, p <
.01) and Education being negatively (r = -.14, p < .001) related to this trait. Similarly, while the
overall association between Social interests and Conscientiousness is negative, the association
between this trait and the component Education is positive (r = .11, p < .01). Finally, only
Education shows a positive association with Extraversion (r = .22, p < .001), and the positive
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 19
association with Agreeableness is stronger for Care (r = .23, p < .001) than for Education (r =
.09, p < .05).
More differentiation is observed in the associations between Enterprising components and
Big Five personality traits, where only the positive association with Extraversion is reflected
across the four interest components. Regarding the associations with the other four personality
traits, it can be seen that the first two Enterprising interest components, i.e. Leadership and
Organizing, show a clearly different pattern from that of the other two components, i.e.
Competition and Politics/Power. First, only Leadership and Organizing are negatively associated
with Neuroticism (r = -.46 and -.37 respectively, p < .001) and positively with Openness to
experience (r = .23 and .19 respectively, p < .001). Second, the positive associations between
these components (i.e., Leadership and Organizing) and Conscientiousness (r = .36 and .37
respectively, p < .001) are much stronger than those between Conscientiousness and Competition
(r = .09, p < .05) and Politics/Power (r = .04, p > .05). Third, the negative associations between
Agreeableness and Competition (r = -.40, p < .001) and Politics/Power (r = -.39, p < .001) are
much stronger than those for Agreeableness and Leadership (r = -.12, p < .01) and Organizing (r
= -.01, p > .05).
Finally, for the Realistic, Artistic, and the Conventional interest domains a number of
interest-personality associations can be identified that only emerged at the level of the interest
components. Mechanics/Construction (Realistic) correlates negatively with Neuroticism (r = -.15,
p < .001) and Agreeableness (r = -.14, p < .001). Creativity (Artistic) is positively associated with
Extraversion (r = .10, p < .01). Finally, Money (Conventional) is negatively associated with
Neuroticism (r = -.10, p < .001).
Associations with personality facets
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 20
Lastly, the associations between CIQ interest domains and components and the 30 NEO
PI-R personality facets were also analyzed as these may help to better understand the nature of
the new CIQ-(sub)scales. To make this large set of associations comprehensible, the discussion of
these associations is limited here to the most prevailing patterns of sizeable correlations (≥ |.30|).
The full correlation matrix is presented in Table 7. Only for the Realistic interest scales of the
CIQ, no sizeable correlations are observed with personality at the level of the NEO PI-R facets.
As a first pattern, it can be seen that higher scores on CIQ-Investigative are mainly
associated with higher scores on O5: Ideas, and this is true for CIQ-Science (r = .44, p < .001) as
well as CIQ-Theory (r = .58, p < .001). This underlines the focus on reflective activities in this
interest dimension. Further, both CIQ-Artistic scales (i.e., Creativity and Art) most strongly
correlate with O1: Fantasy, O2: Aesthetics, and O3: Feelings. This underlines the prominence of
imagination and beauty in both the subdirections of this interest field. Next, for the Social interest
domain the pattern of correlations with personality facets is slightly different for Social-Care
compared to Social-Education. Care has a sizeable correlation with A6: Tendermindedness (r =
.30, p < .001), pointing to the pronounced attention to others needs. Education is predominantly
correlated with E1: Warmth (r = .32, p < .001) and with O5: Ideas (r = .30, p < .001); these are
personal features that are compatible with the notion of enthusiastic knowledge sharing.
Two more or less diverging patterns can also be discerned within the Enterprising interest
domain. First, the Enterprising-components Leadership and Organizing show considerably high
negative correlations with N1: Anxiety, N3: Depression, N4: Self Consciousness and N6:
Vulnerability, and considerably high and positive correlations with E3: Assertiveness, E4:
Activity and E6: Positive Emotions. Most noticeable here are the negative correlations between
Leadership and N4: Self Consciousness (r = -.51, p < .001), and the positive correlation between
Leadership and E3: Assertiveness (r = .76, p < .001). In sum, those interested in leadership not
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 21
only feel comfortable around others, but at the same time are dominant, forceful and socially
ascendant. For the two other Enterprising-components, Competition and Politics/Power, the
negative correlations with Agreeableness-facets A2: Straightforwardness and A5: Modesty are
most noticeable. People with pronounced interests in these facets of the Enterprising domain are
more willing to manipulate others and tend to believe they are superior.
Finally, CIQ Conventional interests are most strongly correlated with C2: Order, and this
is true for CIQ-Structure (r = .49, p < .001) as well as CIQ-Money (r = .34, p < .001). The
interpretation can be found in a pronounced desire for well-organized systems underlying this
interest domain and it’s components. Further, Conventional-Structure in particular also correlates
considerably with C3: Dutifulness (r = .32, p < .001), C5: Self-Discipline (r = .32, p < .001), and
C6: Deliberation (r = .34, p < .001).
Discussion
The present paper proposed a differentiated way of assessing interests, using the well-
established Holland model to define the main interest categories, while at the same time
considering specific interest components that reflect psychological diversity within these Holland
types. This resulted in the development of the Career Insight Questionnaire (CIQ), a new
Holland-based instrument that can be deployed in consulting contexts.
Holland’s original ideas, assumptions, and theory have a substantial practical and intuitive
basis (Nauta, 2010). As a counselor, he observed people making choices, and thought about their
explanations, background, goals and activities. Based on these experiences, he started building
this theoretical framework that could help explain and forecast behavior, and quickly this was
followed by the development of instruments to test these theoretical assumptions and ultimately
to help real life individuals with their career choices. For the CIQ, the process of developing
more specific interest components bared a strong resemblance with the development of the
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 22
original Holland theory. In the same way, it was an inductive process that started by people
working in consultancy who noticed certain patterns of behavior within their client group, were
convinced about the generalizability of these patterns and felt a need to submit their impressions,
observations and assumptions to scientific scrutiny.
Hierarchical structure of the CIQ
First, we provided evidence for the hierarchical structure of our interest inventory, with
two or more specific interest components under each of the six broad RIASEC domains.
Although the notion of specificity in interest assessment is not a new idea, the rationale behind
the development of the CIQ components and their scope are innovative. Specifically, the existing
Basic Interest Scales (BISs; Ralston, Borgen, Rottingliaus, & Donnay, 2004) are the result of an
empirical clustering of occupation titles, with the purpose of describing the different occupational
fields covered by a broader RIASEC domain. The CIQ interest components do not depart from
occupation titles, and intend to describe the psychological diversity within one Holland type
rather than specifying the different sectors in which this Holland type might be active. The
components aim to describe the different vocational personalities within one type, while the BISs
focus on the different occupational fields where one can find this type. The advantage of focusing
on the underlying psychological differences directly is that such assessment uncovers basic
psychological features (i.e., a combination of preferences, competencies, and traits) which may or
may not align with the functional requirements of a given job.
Exploratory principal factor analysis and more sophisticated exploratory structural
equation modeling factor analysis provided support for the hierarchical structure of our
instrument. It is important to note, however, that this paper does not aim to uncover the
fundamental structure of vocational interests in general. Over the past three decades, a substantial
body of research has investigated the structure of interests, and different models have been
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 23
suggested including dimensional (Prediger, 1982), hierarchical (Gati, 1979), hexagonal (Holland,
1979), circular (Armstrong, Hubert, & Rounds, 2003), and spherical (Tracey, 2002) structures.
To date, there is no agreement on the most correct way to structure the broad field of vocational
interests, and the various solutions tend to differ upon the analytical methods that are used (Nagy,
Trautwein, & Ludtke, 2010). What can be concluded from the present investigation, is that a
hierarchical organization works well for the RIASEC interest domains and underlying
components considered in the CIQ, an organization that moreover lends itself very well for
practical applications (see further).
Convergent validity of the CIQ
As a second objective, support was provided for the convergent validity of the CIQ
interest domain scales, as evidenced by the significant and substantial associations with the
corresponding RIASEC scales of Tracey’s (2002) Personal Globe Inventory (PGI). There was
only one exception: The CIQ-Investigative scale correlated more strongly with the PGI-
Conventional scale compared to its association with PGI-Investigative. This can be explained by
the fact that PGI-Conventional covers a set of activities (captured in the Data Processing
subscale) that entail the “analysis and interpretation of data, and clarification of problems
(Tracey, 2002, p. 120), activities that are actually placed under the Investigative interest domain
in the CIQ. One can debate on whether the analysis of (financial) data is Investigative or instead
Conventional. In Holland’s theory, activities involving the investigation of physical, biological,
and cultural phenomena, are considered Investigative because the goal is to understand these
phenomena better. In today’s reality of increasingly complex economic systems, it can be
assumed the analysis and interpretation of financial data is Investigative rather than
Conventional, and this is also supported in our structural analyses.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 24
Further support for the validity of the CIQ interest domain scales can also be derived from
the associations with the Big Five personality domains. As was described in the introduction,
research has now converged on a relatively robust picture of Big Five RIASEC associations,
and it was interesting to see that all of these associations were also identified in the present study,
except for the relationship between Extraversion and Social interests (see further in the
Discussion). Overall, this pattern of convergence between interest domains and personality traits
further confirms the content validity of the CIQ interest domain scales.
Diversity within Holland interest types
As a third objective, we sought to provide support for the diversity within Holland interest
types by demonstrating differential relationships with personality domains. While many of the
interest components showed a similar pattern of associations with personality traits compared to
their higher order interest domain, a number of interesting deviations within interest domains
could also be identified. Note, however, that these deviations may not entirely classify as
differential validities since the correlations for domains and components typically did have the
same algebraic sign. Rather, deviations referred to differences in the strength of the associations
between various interest components and Big Five traits, and our notion of “differential
associations” should be interpreted in this regard.
Within the Realistic interest domain, only Mechanics/Construction showed significant
associations with two personality domains, namely Neuroticism and Agreeableness. First, people
with a profound interest for working with heavy machinery in big construction projects
demonstrate lower levels of trait anxiety and are less susceptible to stress. Thinking about the
specific nature of these work environments, such characteristics may indeed serve the individual
well. Specifically, in occupations that tap into this interest component (e.g., the job of tower
crane driver), errors typically are (a) easily attributable to one individual performing a certain
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 25
intervention, and (b) likely to have serious (i.e., life-threatening) consequences. Our
interpretation of the negative association with Neuroticism is that people high on Neuroticism
tend to dwell on the consequences of failure and avoid activities, or occupations where the
consequences of failure are acute, and where the responsibility for failure is more readily
associated with the individual. Furthermore, people scoring high on this interest component are
less empathic and show less interest in other people’s personal lives (negative association with
Agreeableness). Mechanics/Construction is the subscale that may involve the least interaction
with other people’s thoughts or feelings. The focus lies on operating or repairing heavy
machinery rather than engaging in social interaction. The tower crane driver is alone in his
driver’s cabin most of the day.
The Investigative interest domain showed a negative association with Agreeableness, but
this only held for Investigative-Science. Conversely, the positive association between this interest
domain and the trait Conscientiousness only held for Investigative-Theory. People scoring high
on the component Science are interested in STEM; i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics, and clearly these fields of interest involve only little interpersonal interaction,
which can explain the negative association with Agreeableness. Investigative-Theory, on the
other hand, focuses on knowledge gathering and solving complex and abstract puzzles and
problems. Perseverance, competence, discipline, and deliberation, all Conscientiousness-facets,
seem to serve this goal relatively well.
The Social interest domain reflects a preference for working with other people, which
explains possible associations with the two traits most relevant to interpersonal behavior, namely
Extraversion and Agreeableness. However, the two interest components in the CIQ clearly
demarcate the differences between these two traits, and how they differentially relate to
vocational aspirations. On one hand, social interaction may involve engaging with other people in
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 26
an empathic and compassionate manner, a behavioral style that reflects high Agreeableness and
that seems to align particularly well with the interest in Social-Care activities. On the other hand,
social interaction may involve engaging with other people in a more gregarious way, which
reflects high Extraversion rather than Agreeableness and which aligns well with an interest in
Social-Education activities. Interestingly, both Social components also differed in their
association with Neuroticism. The negative association between Education and this trait indicates
that activities involving the training and development of others require a certain level of
emotional stability of the educator. Features such as high social anxiety, high self-consciousness,
and high vulnerability would be particularly problematic for these kinds of activities. To enhance
our understanding of the positive association between Social-Care and Neuroticism, we inspected
the associations with this trait at the facet-level. Of the six Neuroticism facets, only N1:Anxiety
and N3:Depression were significantly related to this interest component (r = .14 and .18
respectively, p < .001). It may be that especially people suffering themselves from feelings of
anxiety and despondency may be turning to vocational activities that involve helping others in
need.
The diversity within the Enterprising interest domain was clearly reflected in differential
associations with Neuroticism, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. On one hand,
higher scores on Enterprising-Leadership and Enterprising-Organizing showed a clear pattern of
negative associations with Neuroticism and positive associations with Openness to experience
and Conscientiousness. This characterizes a group of people who prefer taking the lead and being
in control, who are not afraid to take up such a leadership role, who have the perseverance and
self-perceived competence to succeed, and who also show the willingness and ability to adapt
when necessary. On the other hand, we found that higher scores on Enterprising-Competition and
Enterprising-Power/Politics combined the higher Extraversion scores with lower levels of
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 27
Agreeableness. This describes a category of people who combine (commercial) flair with self-
enhancement motives and a competitive rather than compassionate mindset.
Finally, the consistent picture for the two Conventional components is that they reflect
change-aversion (negative association with Openness to experience) and a high level of
organization, persistence, rigor, and control (positive association with Conscientiousness). We
identified one differential relationship, which showed that only Conventional-Money has an
additional negative association with Neuroticism. Facet-level analysis clarified that this is mainly
attributable to a negative association with N5: Impulsiveness (r = -.14, p < .001), which fits well
into the profile of the thrifty and strict cost-manager that is described by this interest component.
Taken together, we believe that these findings regarding personality-interest associations
at the level of interest components refine our theoretical understanding of the underlying
psychology of the different interest types. Barrick et al. (2003) used the idea of congruence
between personal dispositions and preferences to interpret the correlations between personality
and interests observed at the domain level. The current findings illustrate that this notion of
congruence also applies to more specific interest components, and that at this level, there might
be deviations from the pattern that was found at the superordinate level of the interest domains.
Specifically, it appears that the subdomains within RIASEC interest domains represent -to some
extent- unique environments that appeal to a specific set of personal characteristics.
Practical implications
The CIQ was developed by practitioners for practitioners, and the evidence presented here
offers valuable implications for consulting practice. Every time one classifies people in types or
other behavioral categories it is likely that the assessed individual only partly fits the definition of
a particular category. Most of the time, the resulting ambiguity can be elucidated by the
consultant, but this is not totally satisfying. People do not like to be pigeonholed, especially when
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 28
the holes don’t fit completely. This will lead to a sense of injustice and a loss of trust in the
methods used. Eventually, this loss in face validity will lead to a diminished likelihood that the
given advice will be accepted by the client. With the CIQ, we believe that consulting
psychologists now have a tool to adjust the ‘six pigeonhole framework’ into a more refined
system of categories. This should assist counselors in giving detailed and recognizable feedback
to clients in career counseling and/or help to better evaluate the level of fit between an applicant’s
personal preferences and a job’s requirements during the selection process.
The following example may help to better understand how the CIQ may facilitate the
process of matching individuals (e.g., job applicants) to concrete occupations (e.g., job
vacancies). Think of someone applying for the job of “Health Educator”. This person is attracted
to this job because of his/her profound interest in “working with other people”, as evidenced by a
9-year track record of working as a dedicated elderly caregiver. At first sight, this person’s higher
score on the Social dimension matches with the requirements of this vacancy, as Health Educator
is a primarily Social job (O*NET Resource Center, 2012). However, looking at this job
description more closely, it signals activities such as: “Developing and presenting health
education and promotion programs, such as training workshops, conferences, and school or
community presentations” (O*NET Resource Center, 2012). In this regard, this job is about
working with other people, in a health care environment, but it clearly taps into different
preferences compared to the typical caregiver job. Thus, while the typical Holland-based interest
assessment at the level of the RIASEC dimensions would suggest a “match” here (i.e., the
applicant being primarily Social and the vacancy being situated primarily in the Social domain), a
closer inspection of the person’s interest profile at the level of underlying components clarifies
that there might be a gap between his/her preferences and the job content after all.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 29
Moreover, a more detailed understanding of the associations between interests and
personality helps us to better interpret peoples’ scores on interest inventories and to make
integrated evaluations of their skill sets. Consider the Social example discussed above. Both
subdomains, Care and Education, involve working with other people in a cooperative manner,
which is reflected in positive associations with Agreeableness. However, particularly for
Education, a number of additional competencies can be expected, such as assertiveness, public
speaking (i.e., no shyness or social anxiety), and presentation skills. Indeed, results for this
interest component showed additional associations with Extraversion (positive) and Neuroticism
(negative), personality traits that are certainly accommodating in this specific subdomain of the
Social work environment. In sum, by combining personality assessment with assessment of
vocational interests at different levels of specificity, such as those included in the CIQ, consulting
psychologists should be able to fine-tune their advices (in counseling contexts) and to improve
their predictions (when applied in selection). Of course, future research is needed to further
substantiate these propositions.
Limitations and future directions
A number of limitations and directions for future research can also be outlined. First,
although we found evidence supporting the hierarchical nature of our interest instrument, with
specific interest components structured under the broader interest domains, the current work does
not pretend to have delivered the final answer to the complex question of how vocational interests
are structured. This limitation pertains to the number of interest components as well as to the
nature of the components that were included in our instrument. From the onset of this project, it
was decided that the CIQ should measure a differentiated but still comprehensible set of interest
components. With the current 15 components we believe that we have covered a great deal of the
psychological variability within Holland’s six broad interest types. However, it remains to be
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 30
examined empirically to which extent this list needs to be supplemented with additional
components in order to be exhaustive. Similarly, the process of selecting and creating the interest
components drew heavily on (extensive) practical experience with applying the Holland theory in
one specific professional context (i.e., a professional consulting firm specialized in personnel
selection and counseling located in the Netherlands). Although the population encountered and
tested in this setting is highly diverse, including professionals from very different disciplines and
at varying stages in the career, it cannot be excluded that a certain area of expertise remained
underrepresented. The CIQ does an adequate job describing the diversity in interest profiles
encountered in this professional context. Working with the CIQ, and, perhaps, doing research
with this instrument in other contexts could help to evaluate its generalizability to other contexts.
Second, we choose to evaluate the convergent validity of the newly developed CIQ
against the Personal Globe Inventory, an interest instrument known for its cross-cultural
structural validity (Zhang, Kube, Wang, & Tracey, 2013). Nevertheless, it needs to be
acknowledged that the PGI measures the six RIASEC dimensions only indirectly, after applying
(validated) formulas to the original eight PGI-dimensions. We explained earlier in this discussion
how this approach may have caused one CIQ-scale in particular (i.e. CIQ-Investigative) to
correlate more strongly with a non-corresponding PGI-dimension (i.e. PGI-Conventional).
Future research is therefore warranted evaluating the CIQ interest domains and components
against alternative and more direct measures of Holland’s RIASEC dimensions, for instance
using a version of the Self-Directed Search (Holland, 1979) or the O*NET Interest Profiler
(Rounds, Su, Lewis, & Rivkin, 2010).
Third, future research is also needed that addresses the criterion-related validity of the
CIQ. Previous research has indicated that vocational interests and person-vocation fit at the level
of the RIASEC domains predict relevant outcomes including job performance (Nye et al., 2012),
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 31
job change (Wille, De Fruyt, & Feys, 2010), and counterproductive work behavior (Iliescu et al.,
2015). For the CIQ in particular, it will be interesting to investigate whether the more fine-
grained interest components can outperform broader interest domains in the prediction of these
and other outcomes. Based on insights from the personality literature, where personality facets
have been demonstrated to show incremental validity beyond personality domains (e.g., the Big
Five traits; Bergner, Neubauer, & Kreuzthaler, 2010), we would expect these interest components
to yield incremental validity beyond broader interest domains.
Finally, with regard to the diversity within Holland interest types in particular, it needs to
be acknowledged that inspecting differential associations with personality traits is only one way
to document within-type heterogeneity. This could be supplemented by other studies that explore
differential association with, for instance, ability components and/or work values.
Conclusion
Arguments can be made to continue using the Holland model when developing interest
inventories to be deployed in consulting settings. However, one cannot be blind for the diversity
in preferences and personality profiles within these six broad interest types, and interest
assessments should elucidate such within-category differences. A hierarchical assessment, with
broad interest domains at the top and more specific interest components below offer an elegant
solution, similar to the hierarchical view adopted today in many personality assessments. For the
future, we expect specificity in interest measurement to become increasingly important in a
global context of increased career specialization, and we foresee a growing need to assess the
underlying components of occupational environments in a similarly differentiated way.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 32
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THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 37
Table 1; Career Insight Questionnaire (CIQ) interest components
CIQ
scales
High scorers…
N
items
α
Sample
1
α
Sample
2
Realistic
22
1.Handcraft
…favor physically strenuous activities, have a no-nonsense attitude, and
embrace blue-collar values like not being afraid to get their hands dirty.
7
.85
.83
2.Outdoor
…prefer to be in contact with fauna and flora and cannot bear the idea of
having to spend their working life in an office.
7
.82
.71
3.Mechanics/
Construction
…are fascinated by heavy machinery and big and bold construction
projects, with a special liking for the masculine, rough side of these work
environments.
8
.91
.92
Investigative
13
4.Science
…are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics)-related work that is primarily focused on research and
development.
5
.75
.73
5.Theory
… have a strong preference for intellectual activities like solving puzzles
and abstract thinking, indicating a profound need to understand the how
and the why of processes and events.
8
.73
.71
Artistic
15
6.Creativity
…like to engage in artistic, fresh, imaginative, and surprising activities;
all with the purpose of making things more beautiful or attractive.
9
.83
.77
7.Art
…are absorbed by classical arts (e.g., theatre, dancing, plastic arts, opera,
and literature) and see art as a goal in itself in their work activities.
6
.72
.76
Social
12
8.Care
…find it intrinsically motivating to help and take care for others (e.g., the
elderly and disabled, drug addicts, psychiatric patients) without expecting
something in return.
5
.81
.78
9.Education
…have a strong preference for coaching, counseling, enlightening, and/or
training activities, where the goal is to help people develop.
6
.68
.65
Enterprising
24
10.Leadership
…pursue leadership, moral predominance, and/or responsibility over
others.
7
.79
.80
11.Organizing
…prefer arranging and organizing activities, not because they perceive
themselves as great leaders, but because they enjoy making arrangements
and getting things done.
5
.67
.68
12.Competition
…like activities that entail a certain level of risk, a sense of opportunism,
and the feeling of being challenged by competitive (commercial) targets.
6
.63
.62
13.Politics/Power
…have a thorough command of business politics by being status-minded
and organization-sensitive.
4
.65
.63
Conventional
14
14.Structure
…prefer trouble-free work processes, regularity and predictability; work
activities where the focus is on enhancing quality and reducing
uncertainty.
9
.74
.63
15.Money
…desire work activities that entail the storage and manipulation of
(financial) data, and for this purpose they demonstrate a strong sense for
cost-effectiveness.
5
.62
.74
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 38
Table 2
Fit indices of the exploratory structural equation modeling factor analyses at the level of the
CIQ interest components (Sample 2, N = 766)
Models
Normed χ2
RMSEA
SRMR
CFI
Model 1
30.3
.20
.15
.27
Model 2
26.8
.18
.12
.46
Model 3
19.5
.16
.09
.68
Model 4
16.9
.14
.07
.78
Model 5
12.8
12
.05
.87
Model 6
9.3
.10
.03
.93
Model 7
3.0
.05
.01
.99
Note. Estimates that represent acceptable, good, and excellent model fit are printed in bold.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 39
Table 3
Exploratory structural equation modeling factor analysis of the CIQ interest components:
Standardized factor loadings (and SEs) for the six-factor solution (Model 6) (Sample 2, N = 766)
CIQ factor
CIQ Component
Factor 1:
Realistic
Factor 2:
Investigative
Factor 3:
Artistic
Factor 4:
Enterprising
Factor 5:
Social
Factor 6:
Conventional
Handcraft
.99
(.00)
-.01
(.01)
.04
(.01)
-.04
(.01)
.02
(.01)
.03
(.01)
Outdoor
.49
(.03)
-.09
(.04)
.09
(.04)
-.04
(.03)
.17
(.04)
.01
(.04)
Mechanics/Construction
.63
(.03)
.40
(.03)
-.10
(.02)
.10
(.02)
-.13
(.03)
-.07
(.03)
Science
.03
(.02)
.84
(.04)
.00
(.02)
-.07
(.02)
.03
(.02)
-.04
(.02)
Theory
-.15
(.03)
.43
(.04)
.27
(.03)
.07
(.03)
.15
(.03)
.32
(.04)
Creativity
.19
(.03)
-.09
(.02)
.76
(.04)
.05
(.02)
.02
(.03)
.00
(.02)
Art
-.09
(.02)
.09
(.02)
.86
(.05)
-.05
(.02)
.06
(.03)
-.03
(.02)
Care
.03
(.02)
-.08
(.03)
.05
(.03)
-.09
(.04)
.68
(.04)
.04
(.03)
Education
.00
(.02)
.12
(.02)
.06
(.03)
.24
(.04)
.72
(.05)
.01
(.02)
Leadership
-.04
(.02)
.07
(.02)
.00
(.02)
.85
(.03)
.13
(.03)
.00
(.02)
Organizing
-.03
(.02)
-.07
(.03)
.00
(.03)
.71
(.03)
.15
(.04)
.08
(.03)
Competition
.07
(.03)
.02
(.03)
.06
(.04)
.55
(.04)
-.27
(.05)
.11
(.04)
Politics/Power
-.09
(.03)
.08
(.04)
.09
(.04)
.43
(.04)
-.25
(.05)
.10
(.04)
Structure
.06
(.02)
-.07
(.02)
-.01
(.01)
-.07
(.02)
.01
(.02)
.83
(.07)
Money
-.04
(.03)
.16
(.04)
-.22
(.04)
.03
(.04)
-.08
(.04)
.44
(.05)
Note. Factor loadings of interest components that theoretically belong to a higher-order interest
domain are printed in bold. For N = 766, loadings of ≥ |.30| are significant at α = .01.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 40
Table 4
Intercorrelations between the latent interest factors extracted from the CIQ (Sample 2, N = 766)
Factors
F1
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F1: Realistic
-
F2: Investigative
.12
-
F3: Artistic
.03
.07*
-
F4: Social
-.05
.16
.08*
-
F5: Enterprising
-.03
.02
.30
.10**
-
F6: Conventional
-.05
.07*
.03
.15
.06
-
Note. Latent factors are extracted using exploratory structural equation modeling. * p < .05; ** p
< .01; p < .001.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 41
Table 5
Correlations between CIQ interest scales and PGI RIASEC interest scales (Sample 1, N = 174)
CIQ
PGI Riasec scales
interest scales
Realistic
Investigative
Artistic
Social
Enterprising
Conventional
Realistic
.74
.29
.23**
.02
.07
.32
Handcraft
.62
.23**
.28
.15
.04
.13
Outdoor
.46
.34
.24**
.14
.10
.18*
Mechanics/
Construction
.80
.20**
.10
-.20**
.04
.47
Investigative
.30
.50
.08
-.32
-.08
.54
Science
.39
.50
.07
-.25**
-.09
.59
Theory
.13
.35
.07
-.30
-.05
.34
Artistic
.05
.13
.69
.40
.10
-.06
Creativity
.08
.11
.61
.45
.14
-.06
Art
.00
.13
.62
.23**
.01
-.04
Social
-.22**
.07
.17*
.52
.10
-.30
Care
-.20**
.02
.17*
.47
-.01
-.28
Education
-.18*
.11
.12
.41
.19*
-.20**
Enterprising
.24**
-.04
.13
-.01
.43
.24**
Leadership
.15*
.03
.12
.05
.37
.16*
Organizing
.14
.00
.09
.10
.42
.13
Competition
.26**
-.11
.06
-.06
.28
.20**
Politics/Power
.14
-.04
.04
-.07
.21**
.19*
Conventional
.11
.09
-.30
-.06
.18*
.35
Structure
.02
.06
-.25**
-.02
.08
.15
Money
.20**
.10
-.27
-.09
.28
.54
Note. Correlations are uncorrected for unreliability. * p < .05; ** p < .01; p < .001.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 42
Table 6
Correlations between CIQ interest domains and components and NEO PI-R personality domains
(Sample 2, N = 766)
Personality
Interests
Neu
Ext
Ope
Agr
Consc
Realistic
-.03
.01
-.05
-.04
-.04
Handcraft
.07
.01
-.04
.01
-.07
Outdoor
.07
-.05
-.01
.09
-.07
Mechanics/Construction
-.15
.05
-.06
-.14
.03
Investigative
-.13
.01
.35
-.14
.14
Science
-.10**
.00
.21
-.16
.00
Theory
-.12**
.01
.41
-.05
.29
Artistic
.15
.03
.60
.01
-.15
Creativity
.15
.10**
.51
.00
-.13
Art
.12**
-.02
.59
.02
-.13
Social
.23
-.02
.29
.20
-.09*
Care
.12**
-.03
.17
.23
-.05
Education
-.14
.22
.34
.09*
.11**
Enterprising
-.26
.50
.18
-.27
.20
Leadership
-.46
.59
.23
-.12**
.36
Organizing
-.37
.46
.19
-.01
.37
Competition
-.07
.35
.00
-.40
.09*
Politics/Power
-.04
.27
.04
-.39
.04
Conventional
-.06
-.06
-.19
.01
.44
Structure
.02
-.07
-.12**
.04
.44
Money
-.10**
-.03
-.19
-.01
.31
Note. Neu = Neuroticism; Ext = Extraversion; Ope = Openness to experience; Agr =
Agreeableness; Consc = Conscientiousness. Correlations are uncorrected for unreliability. * p <
.05; ** p < .01; p < .001.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 43
Table 7
Correlations between CIQ Interest domains and components and NEO PI-R personality facets (Sample 2, N = 766)
Neuroticism facets
Extraversion facets
Openness facets
Interests
N1
N2
N3
N4
N5
N6
E1
E2
E3
E4
E5
E6
O1
O2
O3
O4
O5
O6
Realistic
-.04
.02
-.01
-.01
-.03
-.05
-.04
-.04
-.01
.01
.12**
-.02
-.04
-.01
-.09*
.07
.00
-.16
Handcraft
.06
.07*
.08*
.06
.02
.03
.01
-.01
-.07
.01
.10**
.00
.00
.01
-.01
.05
-.06
-.17
Outdoor
.04
.03
.08*
.09*
-.01
.06
-.01
-.11**
-.10**
.01
.02
.01
.00
.05
.01
.04
-.09*
-.09**
Mechanics/Construction
-.16
-.03
-.13
-.13**
-.07*
-.17
-.09*
.01
.11**
.00
.17
-.04
-.08*
-.07
-.18
.07*
.10**
-.14
Investigative
-.10**
-.03
-.09*
-.11**
-.13
-.16
-.04
-.10**
.13
-.02
.04
-.01
.11**
.29
.03
.12**
.60
.19
Science
-.10**
-.02
-.07*
-.08*
-.08*
-.12**
-.09*
-.05
.08*
-.03
.10**
-.04
.07
.16
-.06
.07*
.44
.11**
Theory
-.06
-.04
-.07*
-.12**
-.15
-.15
.04
-.15
.15
.00
-.06
.03
.13
.35
.14
.15
.58
.24
Artistic
.12**
.12**
.17
.03
.12**
.12**
.15
-.06
-.02
-.03
.01
.11*
.44
.67
.37
.26
.33
.24
Creativity
.12**
.14
.16
.04
.15
.10**
.16
.02
-.02
.02
.09*
.14
.38
.52
.33
.30
.23
.19
Art
.10**
.09*
.15
.02
.07
.12**
.12**
-.12**
-.01
-.07
-.06
.07
.41
.68
.34
.19
.36
.25
Social
.24
.12**
.30
.15
.08*
.17
.26
-.07*
-.06
-.05
-.09*
.01
.22
.30
.35
.02
.14
.12**
Care
.14
.03
.18
.06
.01
.07
.20
-.04
-.05
-.08*
-.10**
-.02
.11**
.22
.18
.02
.08*
.06
Education
-.09**
-.13
-.06
-.17
-.07
-.17
.32
.11**
.23
.03
.06
.14
.13
.29
.23
.19
.30
.22
Enterprising
-.28
-.06
-.22
-.33
.03
-.35
.23
.26
.58
.36
.30
.25
.05
.15
.09*
.19
.22
.01
Leadership
-.44
-.22
-.40
-.51
-.06
-.49
.35
.28
.76
.41
.18
.35
.00
.16
.12**
.25
.29
.09*
Organizing
-.34
-.21
-.30
-.38
-.04
-.44
.29
.24
.56
.34
.13
.30
-.06
.12**
.13
.27
.21
.12**
Competition
-.13
.12**
-.07
-.18
.15
-.20
.08*
.16
.36
.34
.28
.14
-.03
-.04
.02
.03
.08*
-.08*
Politics/Power
-.07
.11**
-.08*
-.10**
.08*
-.12**
.03
.20
.24
.16
.35
.08*
.07
.02
.03
.02
.06
-.06
Conventional
.00
-.05
-.04
.04
-.16
-.10**
-.05
-.11**
.03
.03
-.10**
-.03
-.28
-.12**
-.06
-.20
.05
-.18
Structure
.10**
.02
.03
.04
-.12**
.00
.01
-.17
.01
.04
-.14
-.01
-.21
-.01
.05
-.19
.00
-.15
Money
-.07
-.08*
-.07
.03
-.14
-.09*
-.07*
-.04
.03
.01
-.04
-.04
-.24
-.16
-.11**
-.15
.06
-.15
Note. N1 = Anxiety, N2 = Angry Hostility, N3 = Depression, N4 = Self Consciousness, N5 = Impulsiveness, N6 = Vulnerability, E1 = Warmth, E2 =
Gregariousness, E3 = Assertiveness, E4 = Activity, E5 = Excitement Seeking, E6 = Positive Emotions, O1 = Fantasy, O2 = Aesthetics, O3 =
Feelings, O4 = Actions, O5 = Ideas, O6 = Values, A1 = Trust, A2 = Straightforwardness, A3 = Altruism, A4 = Compliance, A5 = Modesty, A6 =
Tendermindedness, C1 = Competence, C2 = Order, C3 =Dutifulness, C4 = Achievement Striving, C5 = Self Discipline, C6 = Deliberation.
Correlations are uncorrected for unreliability. Correlations ≥ |.30| are printed in bold. * p < .05; ** p < .01; p < .001.
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 44
Table 7
(Continued)
Agreeableness facets
Conscientiousness facets
Interests
A1
A2
A3
A4
A5
A6
C1
C2
C3
C4
C5
C6
Realistic
-.07*
-.06
.02
-.03
.01
.01
-.03
.00
.02
-.07
-.01
-.08*
Handcraft
-.10**
-.03
.07*
-.03
.07*
.07*
-.08*
.01
-.01
-.09*
-.03
-.12**
Outdoor
.00
.04
.06
.06
.11**
.07*
-.07*
-.04
.02
-.11**
-.06
-.04
Mechanics/Construction
-.07
-.12**
-.07*
-.09*
-.11**
-.10**
.06
.02
.02
.02
.05
-.03
Investigative
.04
-.12**
-.09*
-.08*
-.23
-.03
.17
.03
.06
.17
.07*
.13
Science
.02
-.13
-.12**
-.09*
-.22
-.06
.07
-.06
-.01
.02
-.04
.02
Theory
.06
-.06
-.01
-.04
-.16
.03
.25
.15
.14
.31
.21
.23
Artistic
.03
-.03
.06
-.02
-.11**
.16
-.08*
-.12**
-.14
-.07
-.12**
-.14
Creativity
.02
-.06
.09**
-.05
-.08*
.13**
-.08*
-.08*
-.13
-.06
-.10**
-.15
Art
.03
.00
.02
.01
-.11**
.16
-.07
-.13
-.12**
-.06
-.12**
-.11**
Social
.07
.08*
.20
.09*
.11**
.30
-.08*
-.07
.01
-.11**
-.14
-.03
Care
.08*
.13
.19
.08*
.16
.30
-.05
-.05
.03
-.08*
-.08*
.01
Education
.18
-.02
.13**
.07
-.08*
.13**
.16
-.03
.08*
.14
.10**
.06
Enterprising
.12**
-.28
-.02
-.25
-.41
-.17
.26
.06
-.02
.45
.18
-.04
Leadership
.25
-.15
.09*
-.14
-.37
-.09**
.42
.12**
.14
.52
.36
.06
Organizing
.26
-.08*
.14
-.04
-.20
-.05
.39
.17
.22
.44
.39
.08*
Competition
-.07
-.37
-.09*
-.37
-.39
-.23
.15
.06
-.11**
.35
.08*
-.13
Politics/Power
-.04
-.37
-.13
-.26
-.43
-.25
.09*
.03
-.16
.26
.00
-.05
Conventional
.00
.00
.00
.05
.06
-.09*
.27
.48
.32
.28
.31
.33
Structure
-.04
.04
.07
.02
.06
-.01
.25
.49
.32
.29
.32
.34
Money
.03
-.02
-.04
.06
.05
-.12**
.21
.34
.23
.20
.22
.23
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 45
Appendix
Overview of the NEO PI-R personality domains and facets
NEO PI-R traits
High scorers…
α
(Sample2)
Neuroticism
…are more likely to experience feelings as anxiety,
anger, guilt and depression.
.93
N1: Anxiety
…are apprehensive, fearful, prone to worry,
nervous, tense and jittery.
.85
N2: Angry Hostility
…are hot-tempered, angry and frustrated.
.74
N3: Depression
…are prone to feelings of guilt, sadness,
hopelessness and loneliness.
.83
N4: Self Consciousness
…are uncomfortable around others and sensitive to
ridicule.
.76
N5: Impulsiveness
…are unable to resist cravings, hasty, sarcastic and
self-centered.
.67
N6: Vulnerability
…are easily rattled, panicked and unable to deal
with stress.
.81
Extraversion
…tend to enjoy human interactions and to be
talkative, assertive and gregarious.
.89
E1: Warmth
…are characterized as being outgoing, talkative and
affectionate.
.71
E2: Gregariousness
…are convivial, have many friends and seek social
contact.
.75
E3: Assertiveness
…are dominant, forceful and socially ascendant.
.84
E4: Activity
…are described as being energetic, fast-paced and
vigorous.
.66
E5: Excitement Seeking
…crave excitement and stimulation.
.65
E6: Positive Emotions
…are seen as cheerful, high-spirited, joyful and
optimistic.
.77
Openness to Experience
…are intellectually curious, appreciative of art and
sensitive to beauty.
.89
O1: Fantasy
…have a vivid imagination and an active fantasy
life.
.82
O2: Aesthetics
…have a deep appreciation of art and beauty.
.80
O3: Feelings
experience deeper and more differentiated emo-
tional states.
.68
O4: Actions
prefer novelty and variety to familiarity and
routine.
.66
O5: Ideas
enjoy both philosophical arguments and brain-
teasers.
.76
O6: Values
…are seen as tolerant, broad-minded,
nonconforming and open-minded.
.56
Agreeableness
…are generally considerate, friendly, generous and
helpful.
.86
THE CAREER INSIGHT QUESTIONNAIRE 46
A1: Trust
…have a disposition to believe that others are -
honest and well intentioned.
.76
A2: Straightforwardness
…are characterized as being direct, frank, candid
and ingenuous.
.74
A3: Altruism
…have an active concern for others' welfare.
.64
A4: Compliance
…tend to defer to others, to inhibit aggression and
to forgive and forget.
.64
A5: Modesty
are humble although they are not necessarily
lacking in self-confidence.
.72
A6: Tendermindedness
moved by others' needs and emphasize the human
side of social policies.
.60
Conscientiousness
…are generally hard working, reliable, careful and
deliberate.
.92
C1: Competence
…feel well prepared to deal with life.
.75
C2: Order
…are neat, tidy and well organized.
.70
C3: Dutifulness
…adhere strictly to their ethical principles and
moral obligations.
.64
C4: Achievement Striving
…have high aspiration levels and work hard to
achieve their goals.
.78
C5: Self Discipline
…have the ability to motivate themselves to get the
job done.
.83
C6: Deliberation
…are cautious and deliberate.
.79
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Thesis
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