The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

a.k.a. Strong Vocational Interest Blank now most commonly referred to as the Self Directed Search or SDS.

Purpose of the Strong: to tell you about your interests and their similarity to those in several occupations.

The Strong is an example of a test developed though both theoretical and empirical means.

Theory from Hollandís vocational types (to be defined shortly) and empirical keys from occupational groups.

Interests are different from abilities. Interests tell you if you would like an activity but not whether you are good at it.

The Strong provides information about you to you from general interest types to specific occupations. From general to specific, you have

The themes and activities scores come from homogeneous (content oriented) scales, but the occupation scores come from criterion scales. The basic format of the Strong is to present you with various activities and to ask you for each activity whether you would Like the activity, Dislike the activity, or are Indifferent. For example, you might respond like this:





Visit an art museum



Play golf




Fix an auto engine



White water rafting



Collect stamps




Your responses would be collected into theme and activity scales based on content, and a score for occupations would be derived by matching your responses to those of people in the various occupations.


Types of people can be represented by points on a hexagon. People closer to one another on the hexagon are more similar to one another. Although people tend to be mixtures of types rather than single types, the meaning of the types is best expressed by considering extremes or exemplars of each type. First, the picture:

1. Realistic. Like real, tangible things. Extreme examples are rugged, robust, practical, physically strong, and frequently aggressive in outlook; such people usually have good physical skills, but sometimes have trouble expressing themselves in words or in communicating their feelings to others (quoted from the SCII, 1978). They enjoy driving large machines. They enjoy creating things with their hands. They like occupations such as mechanic, construction worker, fish and wildlife management. They prefer working with real things rather than ideas or people.

2. Investigative. Includes science and scientific activities. Extremes of this type are task oriented; they are not particularly interested in working around other people. They enjoy solving abstract problems and feel a need to understand the physical world. They like ambiguous challenges, but not highly structured work. They like occupations such as design engineer, biologist, social scientist, technical writer, and meteorologist.

3. Artistic. These people like to work in artistic settings where there are many opportunities for self-expression. They have little interest in problems that are highly structured or that require gross physical effort. They describe themselves as independent, original, unconventional, expressive and tense. The like jobs such as artist, author, cartoonist, composer, singer, dramatic coach, etc.

4. Social. Social people are sociable, responsible, humanistic, and concerned with the welfare of others. They usually express themselves well and get along with other people. They like attention. They donít like working with machines or physical exertion. They like solving problems by discussions with others or by changing relationships with others. They describe themselves as cheerful, popular, good achievers. They like occupations such a s school superintendent, clinical psychologist, high school teacher, and speech therapist.

5. Enterprising. The extreme types have a great facility with words, which they put to effective use in selling, dominating, and leading; frequently they are in sales. They see themselves as energetic, enthusiastic, adventurous, self-confident, and dominant. They like social tasks where they can take control. They donít like prolonged mental effort in solving problems. The like power, status, and material wealth, and working in expensive places. Some typical jobs include business executive, buyer, hotel manager, industrial relations consultant, political campaigner, realtor, and television producer.

6. Conventional. Extremes of this type prefer highly ordered (structured) activities, both verbal and numerical, that characterized office work. They fit well into large organizations but do not seek leadership; they like to work in a well established chain of command. They dislike ambiguity, liking to know exactly what is expected of them. They value material possessions and status. They like jobs such as bank examiner, bookkeeper, some accounting jobs, financial analyst, tax expert, statistician, and traffic controller.

Review points on the hexagon. Take a look at scores on RIASEC. Most people are more than one type, but itís rare to have people similar to opposite points (e.g., realistic and social).


Interests in activities are more narrow than interest types, and contribute to satisfaction with actual tasks or things people do on jobs. The Strong contains scales for the following activities: Agriculture, nature, adventure, military activities, mechanical activities, science, mathematics, medical science, medical service, music/dramatics, art, writing, teaching, social service, domestic arts, religious activities, public speaking, law/politics, merchandising, sales business management, and office practices. Preferences for activities change slowly as you age. As people age, they tend to be indifferent to fewer activities. In my case, agriculture vs. music.


There are thousands of different jobs available in the U.S. economy. Some new jobs develop every year; some jobs disappear. About 100 jobs are listed in the Strong. It shows you how similar your interests are to those in each occupation. The jobs are grouped by theme. Examples of realistic jobs are Army officer, veterinarian, and forester. Examples of investigative jobs are chemist, pharmacist, and dentist. Examples of artistic jobs are artist, reporter, and interior decorator. Examples of social jobs are registered nurse, minister, and elementary school teacher. Examples of enterprising jobs are purchasing agent, realtor, lawyer, and funeral director. Examples of conventional jobs are beautician, accountant, and banker. (The Strong occupations require schooling.)