Career Test 101 presents 3 ways to select a career test – find a career test based on scope (quality & cost), type, or brand name. It is strongly recommended that you never choose a free career test since these are usually scams to get your email address.
Best Way to Choose Career Test:
Let’s start with the best way to select a career test – that’s by its type. Each career test is designed for a purpose – for finding a career, for leadership development or style, for career performance, for conflict resolution, etc. Decide what you need a career test to do for you. You might want it to do more than one thing. For example, you might want it identify your best career roles (not career matches or lists of new career possibilities) and career growth or development.
Choose Career Test by Brand:
When you select a career test based on brand name it is usually because someone referred you to a specific type of test. It is important to do your own research when you select a career test by brand. Strong Interest Inventory and Myers Briggs Type Indicator are two well known brands. Each is designed for different purposes. Myers Briggs has over 18 applications and most of its users aren’t even familiar with even 2 of them.
Furthermore, you might be missing out on a better career test than the one(s) you know about when choosing brand-named career test. You might be looking for a new career and only know about the Strong Interest Inventory when the Highlands Ability Battery, which was produced from years of government research, is the better option.
The last way to choose a career test is based on its scope. That means, how much information will you receive once you complete the test. This is usually associated with quality and cost. The old adage, you get what you pay for is typically true. But, you can’t just chose a career test by price. Scope is the better option.
Select Career Test based on Scope/Quality/Cost:
How do you choose a career test based on scope? There are 3 factors to consider when considering scope: report, interpretation, and purposes of the test. Review a report sample and compare it with other samples. Consider how much information is “generic” and how much of the report is specific interpretation of results. The number of pages is sometimes an indication of this but not always.
Interpretation of results can be provided in report only or not at all. Some reports consist of only charts. The best interpretation by far is the test that includes a consultation with a career test expert. While therapists and psychologist are licensed to review testing results, they are not equipped or trained or possess the experience of a testing expert. Always opt for interpretation provided by a test expert to gain double what you read from the report.
Purpose or type is a third factor of scope. In other words, how many applications or purposes can one test provide to you. For example, one Myers Briggs test can produce over 10 different reports for different purposes – career lists, organizational contribution, college primer, etc or just a 4 scale chart. When it is combined with other types of test, like a career matching test or interpersonal behavior test, you gain career and college course information or a leadership style report from two different perspectives (and, therefore a broader scope).
Choosing a career test based on scope, however, requires more research since you usually have to review sample reports and compare findings. This is difficult enough to do within websites let alone between websites. Searching for a career test online base on type does not typically garner quality, brand-named career tests. Anything less and you are subjecting yourself to un-researched, unreliable, undocumented results similar to what you find with “free” career tests. Finding a career test by brand name, as mentioned, limits you to only that brand which may or may not produce the results, breadth, or scope you expect or need for your situation.
What to do about the challenges:
There are very few career centers that provide career test search tools. Here is one that does: Career Tests Work. We recommend using “FIND” which allows you to enter scope, type and brand among a couple of other criteria. It produces a short list of career tests that meet your criteria. Change your criteria to see other short listed career tests. If you prefer to look over longer list of career tests, you might want to choose some of the other career test search tools.