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Getting behind the Buzz Quiz

10th February 2016


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David Hodgson

Buzz Quiz creator David Hodgson explains how understanding your personality is great way to start thinking about your career.

Where did you get the idea for the Buzz Quiz?

I was a careers adviser for 20 years. I met loads of young people that didn’t really have a clue about their future career path. If they didn’t have a clear hobby like motor mechanics or love of a subject they could study then they were stuck. I looked around for different approaches that might be helpful. I tried out many theories, ideas and resources on teenagers and the best by far was personality type. The feedback was so positive that I started to develop my own resources using the model. Over a period of 10 years it became a book, The Buzz. Then it became an online quiz.

What’s the thinking behind the quiz?

The quiz is based on ideas developed by Carl Jung and popularised by Myers-Briggs around sixty years ago. Just as we use a preferred hand to write with or throw a ball, we have preferred ways of behaving using our personality. Some people prefer to be quiet and others chatty, both are equally good but different. Knowing our own style of behaving helps us make better decisions in life. The Buzz Quiz is kept deliberately simple. It focuses on four big chunks of personality where most people have a preference, such as tending to look at the detail in a situation or to focus on the bigger picture. By selecting your preferences in these four areas you are connected to an animal type, which relates to one of 16 different personality types.  Your animal type can help you be more aware of your natural strengths and offers a starting point for thinking about careers.

Where do the animals come in?

It’s easier to remember an animal than a four letter code and it adds a bit more fun to the process.

Also, the four animal groups share characteristics which helps when I introduce The Buzz in schools and universities. For example, the four bears are generally the most organised and reliable, the four sea animals are generally the imaginative dreamers, the four cats are usually playful and fun seeking and the four birds are usually the most theoretical group, always questioning and challenging the rules.

Why is personality important in careers?

Research suggests we tend to prefer to be involved in work tasks that match our natural strengths. If someone is great at drawing then some career ideas are obvious such as graphic artist. With personality preferences the links are more subtle but useful. For example, if you like to help people or provide a service, you may be suited to different career options than someone who tends to focus on the tasks and objectives of the job.. The career ideas are based on the jobs in which each animal type is over-represented. For example clownfish are six per cent of the population but over 15 per cent of journalists, actors, psychologists and trainers are clownfish. This information helps us explore career ideas that match our preferences. However, they are meant as a starting point as we can all be good at a huge range of careers.

Tell us about your own career path.

As a typical clownfish (easily bored, seeking the meaning of life and always losing stuff like phone, glasses, wallet) I wanted a job which was creative and in which I could help people. For 20 years various jobs within careers advice allowed me to combine these two interests. I was also interested in travelling, writing books and stand-up comedy so I started to speak at conferences and events all over the world in which I could merge all of my interests. Our personality preferences can really help us discover which working tasks will make us our best.


Find out more

Take the Buzz Quiz.

The book The Buzz explains the ideas further and applies these to the lives and choices facing young people.