Updated 27 May 2020
The ESFJ personality is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs assessment, a personality test commonly used by employers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of applicants.
The Myers-Briggs test provides insight into how individuals work and learn. It also allows employers to assess how a potential candidate would fit within their organisation. Myers-Briggs can also be a valuable tool for individuals, helping them to develop an awareness of their character and the career paths best suited to their personality type.
This article is aimed at people who have been identified as having an ESFJ personality. It discusses the various character traits that are associated with an ESFJ and how these relate to a professional environment, as well as providing 10 of the best ESFJ career matches (as well as some jobs to avoid).
This is one of the more common personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs test. Research by David Keirsey showed that around 9 to 13% of the population fall into the ESFJ personality category.
As with each of the 16 personality types, ESFJ is an acronym that relates to four key personality indicators. When combined, these characteristics indicate an individual’s overall persona, including how they prefer to work, what motivates them and how they relate to other people.
ESFJ stands for:
ESFJs are often referred to as ‘Caregivers’. They are willing to help others and are very attentive to the needs of their peers. They are also known as people-pleasers as they are cooperative and conscientious with a warm heart.
They strive for harmony in their environment and are both determined and willing to put in the effort to achieve their goals. Fiercely loyal, they make the effort to follow through to the tiniest of details.
Sociable, enthusiastic and empathic, ESFJs make great team players. In return for their efforts, ESFJs seek appreciation for who they are and the contribution that they make.
Each personality type has strengths and weaknesses which can have an impact on both their professional and private life:
ESFJs enjoy using their interpersonal skills to help organise tasks and people. They have a high level of regard for the needs of other people, creating structure in their work practices to ensure these needs are met.
ESFJs tend to prefer work duties that allow them to help other people, using methods that are both practical and visible.
ESFJs enjoy structure, organisation and results. They are motivated by completing work tasks with a high level of attention to detail, so jobs that require the use of specific procedures and methodical working suit them best.
Generally, ESFJs like to work in job roles that match up with their values and prefer a workplace that is free from change, conflict or ambiguity.
ESFJs are usually good team workers – they enjoy the concept of teamwork and the process of engaging with other people, building relationships to ensure a working environment that is caring, cooperative and supportive.
When organising workloads, ESFJs like to find out other people’s priorities and needs first, enabling them to make plans that ensure everyone’s needs are accommodated.
ESFJs perform best within a structured team environment where each team member has clearly defined duties, and rigid policies and procedures to follow. Since ESFJs prefer to follow rules, they can sometimes find it difficult to work with people who like to bend the rules or take a non-standard approach to the task in hand.
ESFJs work most effectively within teams that are free from conflict. They are often good at helping people to work together cooperatively but can become distracted if there is friction or problems within the team.
Often, ESFJs are keen to take charge to make sure the team completes their work in an orderly and structured way.
ESFJs enjoy working to timescales and delivering the finished product to the agreed deadline. As a manager or leader, they will expect their delegates to do the same. ESFJs use their excellent organisation and communication skills to convey this message.
They like to provide each of their team members with individual attention, making sure that everyone has all of the support and resources required to deliver within the specified timeframe.
They strive to ensure their team feels cared for and appreciated, in the hope that their delegates will be productive and cooperative in return.
Since ESFJs are motivated by tradition, they prefer to work under existing guidelines and procedures. They are conscious of hierarchies and expect their team to respect their level of authority.
The characteristics of the ESFJ personality type are well suited to the disciplines of healthcare, management and administration. These job families have a strong focus on working in line with specified policies, routines and legislation. They also require a high level of social interaction and the ability to read social cues.
Here are 10 of the best career matches for people with ESFJ personality traits:
A training facilitator is tasked with creating easy-to-understand learning materials that teach and motivate other people, as well as creating detailed reports for management. The ESFJ’s preference for clear and specific daily tasks and social interaction means they are well suited to this role.
ESFJs want to work to the rulebook – and that’s what makes them great candidates for job roles within healthcare and nursing. After all, the health and life of patients are at risk if a nurse doesn’t follow procedure. Nurses are expected to keep accurate observational records such as medical history, symptoms and treatment administered. An ESFJ’s caring nature and friendliness are sure to give them a good bedside manner too.
An ESFJ’s main goal at work is to create a harmonious working environment, so managing an office is an obvious career choice. Tasks include arranging meetings and appointments, monitoring the work of other staff, managing budgets, and communicating with a range of stakeholders – all of which require excellent organisational skills.
The ESFJ’s attentiveness and caring nature make this a well-suited career choice. In this role, the ESFJ will need to use their communication skills to interact with children, parents and colleagues. They will also be expected to work in line with rigid policies, frameworks and learning curriculums.
Events management staff take responsibility for organising every detail of a meeting or event. An ESFJ will be able to use their organisational skills to coordinate events, communicating with a wide range of clients and other stakeholders. When an event goes well, they are sure to enjoy a great sense of satisfaction, too.
Catering staff must follow strict food and kitchen safety standards. They work within teams, often in a highly pressurised environment, to meet deadlines and goals.
An advertising sales agent is tasked with finding and communicating with potential clients to offer services. ESFJs will have to use their highly developed interpersonal skills to sell services, give estimates, deliver presentations and complete the necessary paperwork.
This is another role that requires regular interaction and negotiation with clients. An ESFJ has all of the interpersonal qualities and communication skills needed to succeed in the duties of this role, which include finding suppliers, negotiating prices, pitching new ideas and attending trade events.
Often the first point of call for visitors to an office, the receptionist is responsible for giving a good first impression of the company – and that’s exactly why ESFJs are perfect for this job role. Duties include answering, screening and transferring telephone calls, meeting and greeting, administration tasks and accurate record-keeping.
Estate agents are responsible for assisting clients to buy, sell and rent properties. Buying a house can be stressful so the estate agent must be friendly, approachable and trustworthy.
Being aware of your particular personality type can also be helpful for identifying careers that are unsuited to you. For ESFJs, these include:
At first glance, journalism might seem like a good career choice for the ESFJ – after all, it requires frequent interaction and communication with people, and there’s bound to be plenty of variety in the stories they will be asked to write.
But the unpredictable, unstructured hours are very unlikely to appeal to an ESFJ – they prefer jobs with defined schedules that make it easy to maintain a good work-life balance.
Many of the most suitable ESFJ career choices are those that make a positive impact on society, so you’ll see many ESFJ personalities employed in healthcare, schools or social work. And while marketing roles require good interpersonal and communication skills, trying to sell a product or service that somebody might not need is unlikely to appeal to an ESFJ.
Software developers are responsible for creating applications to help people carry out technology-based tasks. The role is highly analytical – in some cases, developers are expected to write code instead of passing this task over to a programmer. Generally, software development can be rather lonely and unappreciated, so it’s unlikely to be a good match for an ESFJ.
ESFJ is one of the more common Myers-Briggs personality types. People with ESFJ personality traits are caring, make great team players and are dedicated to following specified policies and procedures.
They thrive in cooperative and harmonious workplaces and tend to view things as being either right or wrong – there are no grey areas.
ESFJs are creatures of habit and enjoy having a consistent and predictable routine. They are pragmatic and prioritise their work above play.
Since people with ESFJ personality traits tend to be happy to follow the status quo, they can be successful in a broad range of career paths. Their interpersonal and communication skills can help them to make a positive contribution to many different types of workplace.
When thinking about job roles to avoid, isolated or lone-working roles are unlikely to be a good fit for the ESFJ’s personality traits. They are also unlikely to thrive in an unstructured working environment.
You might also be interested in these other WikiJob articles: