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Strong Interest Inventory®: Flat Profiles

A flat profile is one where none of the themes has a score above average.  This can happen with the General Occupational, the Basic Interest, or Occupational scales.  If a person rarely answers "Like" on the Strong, he or she will receive a flat profile.  This can happen if the "Like" rate is below 15%.  Several reasons might explain such results on the Strong.

First is someone who has clearly defined or narrow career interests.  If you are very interested in only a few things, it's possible you will not have enough "Like" answers to raise the entire scale.  A second possibility involves those who have little knowledge of the workplace, so they have no basis upon which to decide.  This can happen with young people or those who have not worked outside the home for many years. 

Language or cultural differences can make it hard for some to decide if they would enjoy a career or not.  Similarly, family or peer pressure to select one career over others can lead some respondents to answer "Dislike" to most questions.  This might also be the case for people who are chronically indecisive.  They will struggle to answer the test questions as well.

Mood can affect how we see ourselves.  Major life events, such as marriage, death, divorce, having a baby, graduating from college, moving to a new country, etc. can cause people to question their previously held beliefs.  Others are unwilling to commit to any profession, and will tend to answer "Dislike" to almost any option.  Test takers with low self-esteem, or those who do not want to work at all will often have a flat profile. 

Finally, some people will experience role conflict.  They might believe it's inappropriate to show interest in certain careers, such as boys who want to be nurses.  In such instances, flat profiles are possible.


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