Key aspects and strengths of the ISFJ personality type

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

ISFJ is one of the 16 personality types identified using the Myers-Briggs Typology Inventory (MBTI). ISFJ stands for introverted, sensing, feeling and judging. Understanding your MBTI personality type can help you address your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace and find a career that's suited to your personality. In this article, we define the ISFJ personality, their strengths and weaknesses and identify some of the best jobs for people with this personality.

What is the MBTI and the ISFJ personality type?

The ISFJ personality type is one of 16 distinct personality types found in the Myers-Briggs Typology Inventory or MBTI. The MBTI is a personality assessment based on the theories of the psychologist Carl Jung. The MBTI bases the distinct personality types on four different areas:

  • How you relate to the outer world. Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

  • How you take in information. Either through sensing or intuition?

  • How you decide. Is it through thinking or feeling?

  • How you structure the outside world. In a judging or perceiving manner?

Understanding where you fall on the MBTI can help you better understand your own emotions and actions. Embracing and appreciating your MBTI personality type can also help you in your career path and improve your relationships.

Related: What are aptitude tests? Definition and 11 free resources

Four indicators of the ISFJ personality type

Other names for people with an ISFJ personality type are the ‘defender' or the ‘nurturer'. People with this type are often protective of their loved ones, friendly to those they work with, responsible and reserved. When we inspect the four indicators, we get a better understanding of the character traits of the ISFJ personality:

Introverted

Introverted people may gain more energy from spending time alone rather than spending time socialising or being in large crowds. They feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and emotions rather than external factors. The more time an introverted person spends with others, the more time they often want to be alone to decompress and replenish their energy.

Sensing

Sensing individuals prefer data and concrete evidence to believe something or make a decision rather than trusting only their intuition and feelings. They might use and trust their senses to interpret data and analyse all available facts before deciding and taking action. Their pragmatism means they're always searching for a rational solution to any problem.

Feeling

A feeling person uses empathy and emotions more than logic when assessing a situation. They react to situations with emotion and they feel concerned about how decisions may affect the people involved rather than what the most logical choice might be. They're fiercely protective of their family, friends and any group of people they're concerned about.

Judging

The last ISFJ indicator deals with how people live their lives and view the world. A judging person usually prefers a more structured and planned out lifestyle instead of a more adaptable and changing routine. They also interpret their surroundings more with empathy than just using the facts.

ISFJ characteristics

Here are some general features that most ISFJ personalities have:

Community members

Although people with ISFJ personalities like to be alone occasionally, they also enjoy working within their community. They strive to better their community and make a difference. They seek practical work that needs to be done in community organisations to keep them running smoothly.

Negotiators

ISFJ personalities are the ultimate peacekeepers. They frequently act as mediators when there's a disagreement, using positive and affirming words to diffuse a situation. They use empathy and creativity to ensure they achieve a solution where everyone gets their opinion heard and feels respected.

Observant

They're detail orientated and pay attention to smaller facts that others may overlook. When they meet other people, they observe them carefully and perceive things that others might not. This means they're also sensitive to their environment. Changes in sound, temperature or lighting can influence their state of mind and work output.

Resistant to change

They don't like change unless it's required to fix a particular problem. Although they're adaptable when necessary, ISFJs prefer consistency and structured environments. They frequently look at previous solutions when solving a problem, as they believe established solutions are the best way to fix problems.

ISFJ strengths

With their ability to negotiate and keen observation skills, ISFJs are natural problem solvers. ISFJs are often the ones to implement ideas, even if they don't strive to be the person in charge. Here are some of their other strengths:

  • Reliability: You can usually count on an ISFJ to complete their tasks. They take a slow and steady approach when getting involved in a new project to ensure that they complete everything to the highest standards.

  • Practicality: If there's a mundane or boring task that needs taking care of, an ISFJ can do it. They see a problem and they fix it, even if it's not a very glamorous or interesting task.

  • Enthusiasm: When ISFJs have a goal that they believe in and are passionate about, they often show lots of enthusiasm for it. When they find a cause, they believe in working hard to help it or to otherwise achieve their goal.

  • Imagination: ISFJs have powerful imaginations that allow them to view situations from other perspectives. Being empathetic also gives them an understanding of the full situation and often encourages them to think of unique approaches.

    Related: Understanding strengths in the workplace (with examples)

The perfect ISFJ workplace

A person with an ISFJ personality enjoys working in an environment that cares for and focuses on the customer. A company that doesn't deliver on its promises or neglect its clients makes a stressful work environment for an ISFJ. They're often happiest when a project or solution works well for everybody involved. They also prefer a slower-paced environment where they feel like everyone listens to each other's opinions and ideas. A fast-paced work environment can become too stressful for ISFJs and cause them to become withdrawn.

ISFJ's strong communication skills and desire for structure make them excellent in management and administrative areas. They may frequently seek opportunities to help create a more orderly workplace. They become very committed to their employment, so it's best that they work for an organisation where they feel their beliefs and values are in alignment.

Related: What is a skills assessment test and how is it used?

Best careers for ISFJs

ISFJs enjoy working environments that are meaningful and where they share similar values. Here are some careers that are a good fit for an ISFJ personality:

1. Health care worker

National average salary: £19,455 per year

Primary duties: Health care workers look after people who are going through a medical procedure. This can be anything from a nurse to a dental assistant. In this type of job, an ISFJ's compassion and empathy can really shine through. Their strong social skills and sensitivity make them the perfect person to listen to and understand patients.

2. Teacher

National average salary: £16,197 per year

Primary duties: Teachers create interesting and challenging curricula that help develop children's education. They inspire a love of learning amongst their students and help them reach educational benchmarks. An ISFJ personality often enjoys using their imagination and creativity to think of interesting teaching methods.

Related: What is a career plan? (Plus how to create one in 8 steps)

3. Film editor

National average salary: £24,613 per year

Primary duties: Film editors work with other film industry professionals to edit and create movies. They edit raw footage from TV shows, films and even Internet videos to help the director create a finished product. ISFJs can have their desire to collaborate and work in a community of like-minded individuals met with this job.

4. Librarian

National average salary: £26,457 per year

Primary duties: Librarians help people to research various projects, develop programmes for the community and maintain a working knowledge of the latest and most popular books. This job allows an ISFJ to make a difference in their community and show off their altruistic side. Plus, they get to help people find solutions to their research problems.

5. Office manager

National average salary: £26,667 per year

Primary duties: Office managers deal with the administrative and technical duties of running an office. Some of these responsibilities include organising meetings, greeting clients, answering phones and taking messages, managing office budgets and handling personnel records. ISFJs may enjoy using their practical skills to create an efficient and well-run workplace.

6. Software engineer

National average salary: £44,509 per year

Primary duties: Software engineers help develop software that allows people to carry out specific tasks on a computer, such as playing a game or creating a spreadsheet. They then monitor and update existing software to meet the client's needs. ISFJs can utilise their excellent observation skills to find problems in software.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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