Career Assessments are tests that are designed to help individuals understand their unique personality profile (i.e., interests, values, aptitudes and skills), and how this profile impacts their potential success and satisfaction with different career options. Career assessments are often used by individuals or organizations, such as University career centers, career counselors, outplacement companies, corporate human resources staff, executive coaches, vocational rehabilitation counselors, schools, and many others who wish to offer better guidance to individuals on their career decisions.
Types of career assessments
Career assessments come in many forms and vary along several dimensions. The assessments selected by individuals or administrators varies depending on their personal beliefs regarding the most important criteria when considering career choices, as well as the unique needs of the individual considering a career decision. Some common points of variance are:
- Methodology - Some assessments are quantitative in nature and precisely measure key attributes believed to influence an individuals potential success and satisfaction with a career. Others are qualitative exercises designed to help individuals clarify their goals and preferences, which can then be used to make more informed career decisions.
- Measured attributes - Assessments vary with regard to the specific personality attributes measured. Some assessments focus on an individual's interests, and perhaps aptitude, while others focus on skills or values.
- Scientific validity - Many assessments, particularly those offered on the internet, lack scientific validity, which means the assessment has not been proven to measure what it says it measures. Evidence of validity comes in the form of studies published in peer-reviewed professional journals such as the Journal of Career Assessment. So users should look at test validity in evaluating a test's quality by looking for references and/or a professional manual. If these are not available, the assessment is not valid and should be avoided.
- Target customer profile - Some assessments, such as the Strong Interest Inventory, The Career Key, and Careerscope are designed to serve broad markets (i.e., virtually any individual choosing a vocational program or Career Clusters, starting their career or considering a career change).