Organizational Psychologist Kevin Hoff Joins Faculty 

August 28, 2022 - Shelly DeJong

  Headshot of Kevin Hoff

The Michigan State University psychology department welcomes new faculty member Kevin Hoff, Ph.D. to their organizational psychology program. Dr. Hoff, who earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois, comes most recently from the University of Houston. Dr. Hoff’s research specializes in careers, vocational interests, personality, and the future of work. 

“The organizational psychology program at MSU has a rich history of doing great research, while also giving back and being a leader in the field,” said Dr. Hoff. “I’ve felt very welcomed already into the program and am excited to be here.” 

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Hoff attended the University of Illinois for his undergrad and graduate school. Dr. Hoff was first drawn to psychology in an AP Psychology class in high school but ended up pursuing environmental science in college instead. As a senior, he realized that he wanted to pursue psychology in graduate school, so he took a few community college courses and worked as a research assistant to bolster his resume before applying to Ph.D. programs.   

At first, Dr. Hoff pursued counseling psychology because he was most interested in helping people, but he soon turned his focus to organizational psychology. He had originally assumed that organizational psychology was mostly management-driven. He soon realized that it was quite the opposite.  

“I like that organizational psychology is very impactful,” said Dr. Hoff. “Most people in this field study topics that directly affect people at work. It’s much more about how we can help improve people’s lives than how to improve a company’s bottom-line.”  

Three Areas of Research 

Hoff’s research focuses on how people develop and change as they get older and how those changes relate to their work experiences. He studies people as they transition into the workforce and how their personalities and interests change after gaining different types of work experience.   

He also studies career assessments, which help people figure out which careers would be a good fit. In this research, Dr. Hoff works to improve career assessments by looking at the whole person instead of just looking at single aspects of people in a disconnected manner. Specifically, Dr. Hoff is developing career assessments that integrate interests, skills, knowledge, personality, and work values.    

Lastly, Dr. Hoff studies topics related to the future of work, such as how people's careers are changing due to technology and automation. He also looks at how labor demands are shifting because of technology and other societal forces. 

Working with Young Adults 

As a professor, Dr. Hoff works directly with young adults who are often trying to find the right career fit. Dr. Hoff strives to share with them what he learns from his research. 

“One piece of advice I give is to not be afraid of trying different jobs,” said Dr. Hoff. “Typically, the worst outcome is that you learn you don't like something, and in the long run, that's a very important outcome to know.” 

He’s also learned, partly through his research and partly through his own experiences, the importance of finding a positive working environment rather than trying to find the perfect fit in terms of job tasks. 

“What makes people happy and productive at work is the people that they work with and the work climate,” said Dr. Hoff. “If you feel like you are doing meaningful work, and your work is valued, it matters less what you are doing.”