Many vendors of career tests claim that theirs is the only ONE you need to take in order to make a good career decision. These often are the very same career tests without any basis in research, and with no validity, reliability, or normative data.
Unfortunately, there are many online career assessments that have no user manual, no mechanism for user support, and no ongoing research and development. These types of questionable career tests are proliferating daily, along with the well-researched and valid objective career assessments.
Types of Career Tests
There are many different objective and subjective career assessments. Each one covers discrete aspects of what makes you who you are: your skills, abilities, natural aptitudes, interests, passions, personal or behavioral style, personality type, values, personal branding, career attitudes and beliefs, leadership style, career obstacles, and many more. This diversity of assessments reflects the multi-dimensional aspect of human beings and the richness and depth of our uniqueness.
Objective or Subjective?
Objective career assessments are formalized with close-ended questions, often with multiple choice answers and no ability for you to input a “creative” answer of your choice. The concepts of reliability, validity, and norms apply to this type of standardized career test. Some examples of objective career assessments include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Campbell Interest Inventory®.
Subjective assessments, on the other hand, contain open-ended questions which require you to customize your answer. They can include questions such as, “What are your best skills and abilities?” and “What is your ideal job?”
No one career assessment can uncover all the aspects of who you are and what careers might be appropriate. If you decide to base your career choice on just ONE career assessment and its results, then you are relying on just one aspect of who you are to factor into your career decision-making process. Human beings are far too complex for such simplistic answers.
Likewise, the results of career assessments, found in test reports, are complex and can be mis-interpreted by the test taker. While the results seem to be straightforward, there are nuances of understanding and/or “big picture” implications that are not immediately apparent.
An experienced career counselor, career coach, or human resources consultant, trained in career assessment interpretation, is your best bet to help you fully explore, understand, and use your career assessment results. A trained careers professional gets to know their client and the purpose for the career-assessment exploration before choosing suitable career tests.
© Copyright, 2010, Susan Guarneri. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
About the Author
Job-Hunt's Career Assessments Expert, Susan Guarneri, known as the Career Assessment Goddess, specializes in using personal branding and career assessments to empower professionals, executives, and budding entrepreneurs with career insight and action. Author of the Career Goddess Blog and co-author of Job Search Bloopers, Susan holds 16 career certifications, including National Certified Career Counselor, Master Career Counselor, Certified Master Branding Strategist, and Certified Online Identity Management Strategist. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling from The Johns Hopkins University and 24 years of experience.