Keirsey Temperament Sorter

Understanding your personality can help you find the right career.

If you're having trouble planning your career path, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter may be a useful tool for exploring new job options. By asking questions about your thoughts and behaviors, this assessment can provide an intriguing look at your personality type.

About David Keirsey

Internationally known psychologist David Keirsey first introduced the Keirsey Temperament Sorter to the general public in 1978 as part of his book Please Understand Me. The self-assessed personality questionnaire was intended as a tool to help people better understand how their character traits influence their daily lives.

Understanding the Keirsey Temperament Sorter

To make sense of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, it's helpful to know a bit about each of the test's four main personality types.


People who are Guardians are dependable, hard working, and loyal. They often make responsible parents and solid community leaders. A Guardian trusts authority, seeks out security, and believes strongly in the concept of justice. Guardians are blessed with a natural talent for managing goods and services; an organizational skill that can be applied to many different career fields.

George Washington, Harry S. Truman, William Howard Taft, and Mother Teresa are examples of famous people who fit the Guardian personality type. Guardians comprise 40 to 45 percent of the population, making them the most common personality type.


Idealists are loving and enthusiastic people who are focused on human potential and building meaningful relationships with others. They have a unique talent for helping people work together to achieve a common goal, which makes teaching, counseling, social service, and ministry excellent career choices.

Bill Moyers, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Diana, Joan Baez, Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Mikhael Gorbachev, and Oprah Winfrey are just of few of the many famous Idealists. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of the population can be considered to be Idealists.


Artisans are optimistic, fun loving, and spontaneous. They are highly creative individuals who prize their personal freedom. They have keen senses and excel in painting, sculpting, music, theater, and dance, as well as the athletic, military, political, mechanical, and industrial arts. Depending upon other character traits, even the "art" of business negotiation can be a good fit for this personality type.Famous Artisans include Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Ernest Hemingway, Amelia Earhart, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bruce Lee, and John F. Kennedy. Artisans make up between 30 and 35 percent of the population.


Rationals are skeptical, self-contained, and focused on solving problems. Independent, strong willed, and logical, they are very achievement oriented individuals who strive to increase their understanding of how the world works. They are best suited to careers that allow for creativity and innovation in solving problems, whether scientific research, product development, or engineering. The ideal job for a Rational demands a high level of expertise as well as high standards of competence.

Famous Rationals include notable people such as Margaret Thatcher, Walt Disney, Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Camille Paglia, Ayn Rand, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Bill Gates, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Feynman. Rationals are the rarest personality type, comprising between 5 and 10 percent of the population.

Finding Your Keirsey Personality Type

Although some people may instantly recognize themselves as in one of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter personality types, others may not be sure which category they fit into. Luckily, you can take the test yourself by visiting the Keirsey website. You will need to complete a short registration process, however. When you're finished, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter will tell you which of the four basic personality types best describes you. Within these four areas, there are also four variants known as "character types" that are used to provide additional insight.

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Keirsey Temperament Sorter