What Is the “trait and Factor Theory” in Counseling?

The trait and factor theory postulates that career decisions should be made when an individual has accurate knowledge and understanding of his traits. The traits considered for occupational decisions are the right aptitudes, interests and personal abilities. In addition, a person should have knowledge of the available jobs and the status of the labor market. A person must also be rational in judging the traits and the labor market.

The theory of trait and factor was developed by Frank Parsons. Though initially known as the talent-matching approach, the concepts he proposed would later be referred to as the trait and factor theory. The three mentioned postulates of the trait and factor theory are used even in modern times. Clearly, the theory places a lot of emphasis on the importance of comparing an individual’s traits, talents and attributes with the requirements of the career being pursued. By matching people with jobs that suit them best, they are highly likely to perform better, compared to a situation in which jobs are assigned arbitrarily. However, such talent-matching would not work without personal counseling, which is quite integral to career guidance and search. Self-analysis and counselor analysis are the two main principles of personal counseling on career choice.