Vocational Interests: Revisiting Assumptions About Their Development and What They Predict

  • Kevin A. Hoff
  • Jessamyn G. Perlus
  • James Rounds


Vocational interest assessments are a unique tool in that they are used to predict outcomes far into the future. The use of interest assessments for predictive purposes is supported by decades of research showing that vocational interests are highly stable over time and predict several important career and academic outcomes. Yet new research findings have led to a better understanding of why interests are important and how they develop and change with age. In this chapter, we review recent research on the development and predictive validity of interests with a focus on career guidance implications. The chapter is organised into two parts. The first part reviews research on the development of vocational interests. The second part reviews research on the predictive validity of interests for a variety of career and academic outcomes. A major conclusion is that interests are surprisingly strong predictors of performance-related outcomes (e.g., job performance and career success), but are not as consistently associated with satisfaction-based outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction) as popular literature would suggest. The chapter concludes by reviewing theoretical and practical implications aimed at better understanding the interest development process and the outcomes associated with interest fit.


Interest development Mean-level change Interest fit Job performance Career success 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin A. Hoff
    • 1
  • Jessamyn G. Perlus
    • 1
  • James Rounds
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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