ESFJ Careers

Linking ‘type’ and ‘careers’ would be easy if it was just about listing specific jobs that perfectly fit specific personalities. However in truth it is more difficult than that as ignores other, more important issues, such as the organisation, the values and the culture, which are far better determinants of suitability than a job title. Also individual jobs vary widely from industry to industry, organisation to organisation and person to person. Therefore our focus on ‘type’ and ‘careers’ will be far more on you: your personality, your aptitudes, interests, likes, strengths and weaknesses and then matching these to the sorts of environments, cultures and norms within organisations that will allow you, given your character, to thrive grow and flourish. We spend a lot of our time at work and so it is important to get these issues right or we could spend a lot of working time unhappy, unproductive and unfulfilled. 

ESFJ Strengths

ESFJs are loyal, conscientious, duty-driven, detailed and essential doers in that they are action oriented and like to get things done, rather than think about them. They prefer a familiar routine, a plan and established practice and protocols. They will get on and do but need a clear direction about what is expected, and will struggle with ambiguity or anything that does not make sense.

They do not like being thrown into unfamiliar situations as they fear failure, and any change will be treated with caution and suspicion, because the value system of the ESFJ has been built over time and anything that seems to threaten this will be feared. They have an incredible work ethic and so ask an ESFJ to sort out a specific problem and they will work long and hard to make sure it is done, and done properly, exactly as agreed. However ask them to think about the best way of sorting a problem and they are not so comfortable as they prefer the factual and the concrete to the abstract and the conceptual. ESFJs are built to drive things through to conclusion, providing their role is clear, the guidelines are clear and they know exactly what is expected. The ESFJ predilection for doing rather than thinking means they are not initiative takers but followers of procedure and protocol, hard working conscientious doers. 

ESFJ Weaknesses

The strengths that an ESFJ has: duty, being conscientious, doing things properly and as agreed means that they are not often agents of change. They therefore struggle with the new and will take a great deal of convincing before moving from ‘the way things are done round here.’ This also means that they can struggle to take on board the opinions of other people as they have built their norms over such a long time that they believe clearly in a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’ of doing things. This can see the ESFJ become a controlling and even a little harsh if things are not done properly, ie their way. This trait also means that they are focused on solving problems right now and this may negate looking at the wider ramifications and long-term issues, as they want to get straight down to it and ‘do,’ which may negate looking at alternative and better ways of doing things. As their ‘rules’ and norms are clear, the ESFJ may perceive any questions as criticism and this, together with their string need to feel appreciated for all their hard work, can make them demotivated as they have such a clear, almost binary view of right and wrong that to contradict them means the other person is changing the ground rules: and the ESFJ loves ground rules, tradition and clear protocols and anything ambiguous can be dismissed or made to fit the rules.

Best ESFJ Work Environments

Workplaces that are stable, predictable and which value adherence to the rules and established norms are good environments for the ESFJ. They would not work well where it is informal, overly flexible and where they are not able to get on and do. Their dislike of conflict means the ESFJ would also work best where the atmosphere is warm and friendly, where everyone knows their place and where they can support and take care of others, in their way. ESFJs prefer order and structure and will thrive in organisations that are more traditional, have clear norms and precedent around ‘how things are done round here.’ They dislike ambiguity and need clarity and harmony and in their absence the ESFJ will create these, but based on their previous knowledge and experiences. They like to know what is expected, of them and of everybody, then they can work practically and systematically to succeed, ensuring people are taken care of and that what has been agreed is competed on time and exactly as agreed, to the letter. The ESFJ will bring order and planning and prefer it when these are adhered to completely.

Worst ESFJ Work Environments

ESFJs would not flourish in an environment that was laissez-faire, unstructured, and overly flexible with no clear rules or established norms. They like, indeed need, to know exactly where they stand, with tangible outcomes and clear lines of authority so a lax environment would not lend itself to their strengths. ESFJs like to work hard and have clear parameters for success and so, although they are people centric, and indeed prefer harmony, an environment which was overly collegiate or which they perceived as woolly, would not be a happy one for them. This also means they ESFJ will need to feel appreciated and this can only, for the ESFJ, happen through having clear measures of success then it is clear for all to see that it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ The ESFJ is conscientious and positive and the way they believe they can have the most positive impact on the people and the organisation is having that clarity around what ‘good’ looks like. The ESFJ will respect authority and so prefer a more traditional environment and therefore may struggle where there are no clear lines of authority or hierarchy.

Best ESFJ Careers

ESFJs need structure and a tangible outcome. Roles such as admin, clerical, research, managing people, project management will all play to their strengths as they combine an intense need for structure with their people orientation. Health and Safety roles and auditing are also good as they include detail, clarity, people and the ability to help whilst ensuring that specific standards are adhered to. They prefer stability and predictability and from this base they will thrive working long and hard and dutifully to ensure there are no deviations and no surprises.