Career Tests for career and professional development

by | Career

Why you may want to take a career tests

Introducing Career Tests
Career tests will help you to understand more about your abilities, personality, interests and more. Using career tests can be an effective means of making a career and life choice and increasing career satisfaction.

These are not just for people at the start of their career but highly valuable making choices for life at 50 and beyond.
There are a wide number of career tests available and deciding which to choose can be confusing. Each can play a role in helping you to understand more about yourself. In this article, I’d like to introduce you to the different types of career tests so that you can make an informed choice about which will be best for you, depending on our needs.

No career test will tell you exactly what you should do you make the decisions; but career tests can provide effective information to inform your decision making. You can then use the output from the career tests alongside your own ideas, skills and background, values, goals and more.

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. Lao Tzu

What Are Career Tests?
Career tests are based on career theory which draws on three major domains of individual differences cognitive (ability), conative (motivation and interest) and affective (personality).
These are assessed via different career tests. Ability tests, personality questionnaires, and interest inventories. They produce a wealth of data and working with a skilled psychologist will enable you to draw together the results of whichever career tests are chosen and are used within an in-depth discussion to lead to meaningful decisions.

Career Ability Tests
Career Ability Tests help you to understand your strengths in a range of areas including problem solving, verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning. These tests are often used in recruitment- from graduate selection to senior management appointment too, to check out critical thinking. These career tests are timed, and answers are compared against norms from a particular population such as graduates or senior managers.

At 50+ you might want to take these as a practice for a forthcoming assessment centre,

Career Aptitude Tests
These career tests are also timed but comprise many different work samples. For example, the Highlands Ability Battery comprises 19 work samples. Each is measured by a short, timed test. For this assessment, it is taken from a home computer and you manage your time yourself.

Clients at 50+ take this assessment to generate new ideas on what they can do, career wise, to widen their options. It can also give clarity to why they are currently unhappy in their work. It’s not always about a radical career move, but how to adapt a job to better suit natural talents. But it can lead to greater confidence in making a significant career move.

Personality Career Tests
Personality profiling helps you to understand your personality preferences and how to improve relationships with people. Knowledge of how you think and solve problems can help you in career decision making, including identifying the type of working environment that will bring out your best. I’d like to divide personality career tests into two. Those whose main purpose is personal development and those used as part of a selection process.

Personality Career Tests for Personal Development
My favourite personality questionnaire for people at 50+ is the Type Dynamic Indicator (TDI). It is similar to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI ) but differs in that you answer every question twice. Once as you are in your work, but also in your more natural way to behave. It clarifies why you can be unhappy in your work and how to find a better match. Both TDI and MBTI help you to understand who you are, your natural preferences, motivations, and potential areas for growth. It is particularly helpful to understand how to relate to people, especially those with a different personality type. Youve probably come across the 4 dimensions
Where you get your energy from

  • Extraversion prefers to gain energy from the outside world of activity, people and things OR Introversion prefers to gain energy from the inner world of reflections, feelings, and ideas (E/I)

How you prefer to gather information

  • Sensing Prefers to focus on information gained from the senses and on practical applications OR Intuition prefers to focus on patterns, connections, and possible meanings (S/N)

How you prefer to make decisions

  • Thinking prefers to make judgements on logic and objective analysis OR Feeling prefers to base decisions on values and what is important to people (T/F)

Preferred lifestyle

  • Judging likes a planned and organised approach to life and to make decisions OR Perceiving likes a flexible, spontaneous approach and prefers to keep options open (J/P)

The MBTI Step2 and The TDI will help with a deeper understanding of who you are, and how you can adapt the workplace to suit you and be more confident in a career choice based on this self-knowledge. It can also be used to enhance your relationships.

Personality Career Tests for Selection
Organisations want to understand more about the people who may join their organisation, that’s why they will often use assessment centres. Part of the selection process is the career test the personality questionnaire. There are many personality career tests in use including the OPQ, 16PF5, 15FQ, Savilles Wave. Whilst there are differences between these personality career tests, most are based around the BIG FIVE. These are Trait-based questionnaires and measure several traits of human personality. For example, the 15FQ questionnaire divides personality into 15 different personality factors. Each of these traits or factors is a continuum so you can, for example, be more or less open to change compared with other people.

  • Openness to experience: Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. High openness can be perceived as unpredictability or lack of focus. Those with low openness seek to gain fulfilment through perseverance, and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven
  • Conscientiousness: A tendency to be organized and dependable, be disciplined, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behaviour. High conscientiousness is often perceived as stubbornness and obsession. Low conscientiousness is associated with flexibility and lack of reliability
  • Extraversion: Energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability, and the tendency to seek the company of others. High extraversion is often perceived as attention-seeking, and domineering. Low extraversion causes a reserved, reflective personality.
  • Agreeableness: A measure of ones trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not. High agreeableness is often seen as naive or submissive. Low agreeableness personalities are often competitive or challenging people.
  • Neuroticism: Neuroticism refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its opposite emotional stability. A high need for stability manifests as a stable and calm personality. A low need for stability can be perceived as unstable or insecure.

These tests can add a depth to your self-understanding, and it can be helpful to see how you compare to others. It is helpful in understanding the way you are likely to appear in the workplace and to use this information to create a development plan.

Career Tests Interest Inventories
Interest Inventories help you to understand more about your interests and how to use this to make a career choice. Based on an extensive questionnaire you can see how these interests link to different careers. The Strong Interest Inventory is the most widely used interest inventory available and designed to help you identify your pattern of vocational interests.

I see this as more helpful for people in the early stages of career planning.

Would you like to learn more about who you are through using a career test? Follow the links to find out more and get in touch to arrange a complimentary discussion.
A version of this article first appeared on the Amazing People website on April 26, 2017

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I’d love to send you a series of articles to get you thinking of your wider life. You will also receive my mid-week 50+ update and the Amazing People newsletter.
Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.