How Helpful are Career Tests?
Many people in the midst of job hunting turn to online career tests with the hope that after answering a number of questions, they will be told what career is best suited for them. You may be one of them. You also may be wondering how these tests work, what exactly they measure, how effective these tests are, and which test is the best one for you.
How do they work and What do they measure?
There are a variety of tests used for career testing including: career personality tests, career interest tests, and tests that assess your skills and capabilities. These tests present you with a number of different questions, including scenario questions as well as more simple questions. Your answers are unique and are used to assess different things, depending on the type of test. The questions that comprise the test are derived from the International Personality Item Pool, so these questions are to be trusted. Millions of users take the test and then from there, the test selects the person who fits the question best.
Career interest tests measure your interests in different fields of work and which types of professions would interest you most. They measure where your passions lie and what you enjoy doing. Career personality tests pull from your test responses in order to measure aspects of your personality. Some even reveal a handful of jobs that would be fitting for you, based on your personality traits. Skill Assessments are tests that measure your verbal, numerical and language skills, and where your strengths lie. This is helpful because it tells you what you are able to apply. Your “strengths” can be defined in a couple different ways so these tests may measure your less obvious skills such as leadership or humility, or it may measure your more surface-level skills such as writing and mathematics.
It is important to note that skill assessments do not take into account what interests you have, and interest tests do not take your skills into account. Career tests do not measure your mental aptitude, like the SAT or I.Q tests do. Also bear in mind that they don’t measure who you are as a person, but rather just aspects of your whole self.
How effective are these tests?
It depends on what you want to get out of it. If you want the test to give you a straight answer—doctor, teacher, accountant—than these tests are somewhat unhelpful for you. Career testing is not designed to pinpoint the one and only career that you should pursue in your lifetime (after all, research shows that the average person will have 10 jobs in his/her lifetime!). Career tests are, however, designed to provide a number of options for a career path that you may not have previously considered, based on the answers you gave to their questions.
Furthermore, your answers to the questions on a career test often times, need an explanation. Your interpretation of the question plays a large role in how you answer it. This may be a reason why your results seem off or contradictory to what you had expected. You’re unique so therefore your personality, skill set, and your passions cannot be accurately measured by a formula.
Which test is the best for me?
Well, it’s hard to say. Once again, it depends on what you want to get out of it. If you are researching their grades, know that these tests are typically rated on: the program’s features, performance, ease of use, and help & support. It is important to be aware of this when you look at a test’s rating so that you know that they are contingent upon multiple factors.
It is useful to take a variety of different tests and the culmination of your results will definitely answer a lot of your questions and teach you a bit about yourself. Like I said, they don’t measure you as a person, but they do reveal aspects of your personality, skill set, and interests. Understanding these parts of your whole being is essential for selecting the career that will make you most happy.
In conclusion, career tests can only be beneficial. They may be very effective or very ineffective depending on what you want to get out of them, but the bottom line is: the more informed you are about yourself, the better decisions you can make.
Molly McShea works at StrengthsInsight as a Marketing Strategist. A former varsity athlete at Georgetown University, she has a passion for linguistics, learning new things and discovering more about the world.
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