If you aren’t sure of your next career move, a personality or assessment test may help.
IF YOU’RE EVALUATING your skill set and trying to figure out the type of job you’d excel at, there are a variety of career personality tests that could point the way toward a new path. These are tests that take into account the type of person you are, assessing your strengths, weaknesses and passions by asking you a slew of questions in order to help you decide what the right job is for you.
With that said, Bryan Zawikowski, a Dallas-based vice president and general manager for Lucas Group, a national executive recruiting firm headquartered in Atlanta, says to not accept the results of any career personality tests as gospel. “Take the results with a grain of salt – none of the tests are perfect,” he explains.
Why Take a Career Personality Test?
Career personality tests, also called career assessment tests, can be thought-provoking. Even if you think you know what you want to do with your career, a personality or assessment test may show some gaps in your knowledge or an area where you could benefit from additional training. Plus, taking a personality assessment test may provide additional insight into other fields that may be of interest, based on your talent, skills and individual traits.
So, if you’re looking for guidance on where to go next, consider taking one of the following tests:
- Personality tests.
- Aptitude tests.
- Career tests.
- Intelligence tests.
Psychological and personality tests analyze your personal qualities, strengths and weaknesses. For instance, do you like following orders, or are you more proactive and a leader? The answers you provide to these types of questions can help you assess your ideal working style, direct you to your dream gig and help you self-assess how you receive information, make decisions and other important characteristics in the workplace. Based on your personality, preferences and patterns, you’ll discover the types of professions you’re best-suited for.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, also known as MBTI, is the most well-known personality test, often used by career centers and businesses. You can take the 93-question test at mbtionline.com, for $49.95.
The test is based on a concept posited by the psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the basic idea is that people experience the world using four main psychological categories: sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition. One of those categories, however, is typically dominant most of the time. Once you take the test, you’ll understand where you fall in one of 16 different personality types.
“The MBTI can be helpful to increase self-awareness, especially for a person who hasn’t thought much about what kind of a person they are and what they might want out of a career path. For instance, if you’re considering going into the family business, but you’re not sure you’re actually suited for it, a personality assessment like the MBTI can help you look at that objectively,” says Molly Owens, the CEO of Truity Psychometrics LLC, a developer and publisher of online personality and career tests at Truity.com and headquartered in Oakland, California.
However, Owens says that the MBTI may not be very helpful if your personality traits are mixed and not pronounced.
“The problem comes in with people whose personality traits aren’t so cut and dried. If you’re not really a clear extrovert or introvert – you’re more of an ambivert – the MBTI gets a little more arbitrary and less useful,” Owens says.
Aptitude tests give one a sense of how good of a fit you are to perform certain tasks – or how likely you are to learn a skill. Employers often use these for people looking for a job, but you may be able to find some online to give you an idea of whether, for instance, you have a natural ability to sell real estate or work in accounting.
StrengthsQuest.com, run by Gallup Inc., is a popular aptitude test, especially among college students. After taking the test, you’ll receive a customized report that lists your top talents, along with suggestions of what types of careers you should be pursuing. Prices range from $39.99 to $11.99, depending on the complexity of the test.
Career tests are essentially a personality test and an aptitude test rolled into one. There are plenty of reputable online test sites, including MyNextMove.org, which features the My Next Move O*NET Interest Profile, a career test sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. The test helps people figure out what their next career should be, and it’s free.
These tests measure your intelligent quotient. In a nutshell, this is determined by dividing an individual’s mental age by his or her chronological age – and multiplying that number by 100. There are numerous reputable and free IQ tests online, including tests at GeniusTests.com.
Inventories are checklists that look at your interests – and then compare them to the interests of people who are already working in other occupations. So if you’re interested in the same things that tend to fascinate forensic scientists, you might end up realizing that’s the career path you should be on. The Strong Interest Inventory Test is one of the more famous inventories. It was first devised in 1927 but has been revised numerous times since then. The test evaluates test-takers’ interests and helps them conclude what they would most enjoy doing with their work and spare time.
Will a Career Personality Test Help You Land the Right Job?
As interesting as career personality tests are, don’t put too much stock into them, experts say. “Some clients think the tests will be magic answers,” says Emily Frank, a career counselor and coach in Denver. But she says that often these tests don’t really guide workers to a career path.
“For instance, on the Strong Interest Inventory, I always score very high on the artistic theme but have no desire to work in the arts,” Frank says.
If you do end up taking any career personality tests, Zawikowski advises that you are well-rested and in a “neutral emotional state,” so that the results are valid. After all, if you’re hungry, tired or upset, you might answer questions differently than you would have otherwise. “Answer in the way that best describes you. There is no right or wrong answer, so it’s important to be honest with yourself,” Zawikowski says.