You don’t need to go globetrotting if you want to figure out who you are and what career suits you the best. You don’t need to invest in serious counseling either if you want to know in which direction to develop you professionally.

Free Online Career Test Guide

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In this article, we explore what online career tests really are, why is it worth to take them and at which point of your professional life. We present you the scientific background of these questionnaires and the most common test types that you can encounter. We show you how you can benefit from filling out an online assessment whether you are an employee or an employer, and what some of the trusted resources for such tests are.

WHAT ARE ONLINE CAREER TESTS? A SHORT DEFINITION

Online career tests are tools that help to explore different suitable careers for people by identifying their major personality traits and skills. They are based on an assumption that certain characteristics make people more capable and willing to do certain jobs, and working in these jobs will give them more satisfaction.

Free online career tests give an idea to you or your future employer of how the combination of interests and skills impact your working life. They also make matches with job types, depending on your answers.

 

Psychology has been studying the relationship between behavior, skills, or motivation, and job performance for a long time. These studies contributed to the development of testing tools, that would later gain more popularity by having them introduced to schools throughout the United States and then to workplaces all over the world.

While previously the focus was on the matching skills set between the person and the job, it has been increasingly acknowledged that there are other factors playing a role in fitting in successfully. Today’s career tests also include questions that explore your values, motivations, and preferences.

As an outcome, most self-assessed tests will provide you with a report about your work personality, but some even add a list of job openings that you can apply to straight away. It is a good way to use the full potential of these tests. Nevertheless, we would advise on always taking a second look at the results before making any major decision about your career. After all, these are clever tools but certainly not without limitations.

WHY PERFORM AN ONLINE CAREER TEST?

To assess work personality

Your personality traits have different manifestations in your personal and professional lives, with different advantages and disadvantages. By performing a career test, you can find out which of these traits relates to your work performance and how. Introverts, who have hard times to achieve social recognition, can get applauded for their reliability or autonomy. Meanwhile, a person with great social skills and a favorite at every party could be the gossip central of a workplace.

Because most traits can be perceived positive and negative, there is not one good answer to the test questions. It means cheating is useless – you will only “fake your way out of the job”. The test will also show the employer not only if you can do the job, but if you will do it, based on the assessment of your behavior.

To find ways to advance

Career advancement is a tricky game, sometimes blocked by factors other than professional skills. Luckily, there is more than one way to advance, and a good use of career assessment tests can be to help select a suitable one. The process will again involve exploring your good and bad side, too.

Narcissists are sometimes hard to be around, but if you happen to be one, you can be a great leader and thrive in powerful positions. Others are paralyzed by the pressure of constantly making decisions, but will make useful contributions in data analytics or reporting.

Still, getting along with people is a requirement for most career advancements. If you do have people skills, you can consider many options, so a free online career exploration can be a crutch to lean on telling you what other traits you possess that point to a direction. It can also tell if you dealing with humans and their problems don’t come to you naturally.

But career development is not always about leading others: it can also be excelling in your field. Your creativity might make you the best graphic designer or your empathy drives you the heights in your health care profession.

 

To work better in a team

It has been proven several times that teams with the right combination of personalities perform better than uniform teams. Natural differences between team members increase the effectiveness of communication, and, therefore, productivity.

Ideally, team members possess at least one of the major teamwork skills, such as collaboration, contribution, accountability, encouragement, conflict resolving, and challenging others. Also, a team often develop its own roles and, ideally, most of them are constructive.

There is always a leader, then someone who is good at motivating others, and another one who is a brainstormer. People with more analytical minds will prefer to do the tasks of an administrator or a summarizing role. Members with diplomacy skills will be the ones who facilitate a compromise.

Destructive roles are also often developed, but these should be eliminated as soon as possible. You might think of unnecessary criticism, a know-it-all attitude, aggressive behavior, or conflict avoidance.

Recent research has found that mostly it is the communication styles of personality types that affect the outcome of teamwork. The quantity, quality, distractions or keyword usage characteristics together can make or break a team’s success.

 

Career tests can help decide if your position in your team builds on your strengths, or if your weaknesses hinder team performance because you’re at the wrong position. You can define an ideal role for yourself in which you can perform better, and contribute to a better performance of the collective. There’s always room for improvement based on personality if it is clearly linked to an improvement in efficiency and business results.

To realize full potential

Everyone has the potential to fulfill his or her dreams, but realizing this capability is easier said than done. First, you have to be in the right place, at the right time. Then, it involves a great deal of self-knowledge, to know when you’ve arrived there.

Furthermore, signs of reaching someone’s full potential might be different. For some, it is making the most advancement possible on the career ladder. For others, it is getting the highest quality work done.

Sometimes your special gifts are obvious and have long shown. In other cases, people think they are so average there’s no special place and time to achieve what they dream of. This is where a career aptitude test can play a major role in clearing the fog.

On the journey of knowing yourself better, nature, habits, strong and weak points are all stops to include. Look for several tests to better define your values and see which ones will help you overcome your barriers.

If you find any of these traits describe you well, you have a good chance to succeed, because they are commonly associated with success and they can commonly be found in people. Some examples are:

  • Optimism
  • Determined, goal-oriented
  • Gratefulness
  • Curiosity
  • Openness to change

However, as well as career exploration can confirm you having or not having these traits, they are in no way an indicator of whether you will be able to reach your full potential. It will always depend on when and how you use your innate abilities, and also how you develop them.

Some of the tests will even call your attention on fulfilling your career needs on different levels. There can be different types of questions trying to assess what you think career success entails to be equally satisfying both professionally and emotionally.

 

To get support for a career change

Testing is one way to approach a career change. You might want to spend some time on that, but you also need to give thought about it. Yes, that will include being ready to accept if it says the job of your dreams is not really suitable for you.

Doing such a test from time to time is also a way of looking back to career choices made, and realize bad ones in time. Self-reflection doesn’t come naturally for some, and filling out a career or psychometric test is the easiest way to start.

If you realize your frustration can really be deducted to a bad career choice, test results might give you the motivation and drive to change your life. Sometimes it’s all it takes to make the first move, regardless of the results.

If you’ve known too well what your problem is, and you are already motivated enough, that should lead you to the next question: are you prepared? Make this your focus when you’re interpreting the results of an assessment. Look for signs of risk-taking attitude, planning abilities, responsibility, spontaneity, and openness. These are some of the traits that will help you along the change.

No matter what was your original plan when you started your career, and whether it was well planned or ad-hoc – you have to re-develop it? And the great part of this work can be done by testing yourself.

WHEN TO TAKE A CAREER TEST?

Everyone deserves a good career

The age at which you finally know what you want to be as a grown-up is farther away with each generation. Still, there is one thing everybody’s sure of: that they want a good career.

But what makes a career good or bad? Is it just an individual perception, or there are objective measures to create a definition from?

Well, you have probably guessed it, not really. With the exception of financial stability, which is also a doubtful measure, all the other criteria of a good career are rather subjective. Definitions include working with a purpose, doing a job that presents an opportunity to grow through adequate challenges.

A bad career, one that you want to avoid, is one that doesn’t use your strengths, doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and doesn’t give you fulfillment at the end of the day.

To get the benefits, you might want to know what your starting point is, and what skills and personality traits you can build on along the way. There are also typical times when such assessment is appropriate:

Watch this inspiring lecture on what makes a career fulfilling.

 

Typical timing #1: During studies

Free online career tests are very popular among young people trying to select a major at the university or starting a career when approaching the end of their studies. After all, these are periods of insecurity, where career guidance is essential, and many would accept it more from an independent online source than from Mom or Dad.

Picking a career becomes no less of an easy choice, but dedicating some time to fill out assessment tests will keep you from overwhelming. The reach of these tests should not be overestimated, though: they are intended to show a vague direction.

If it’s the first time you try researching career options, the most important advice is to keep it honest. You will know nothing useful about yourself if you try to comply with some obscure external expectations. Besides, there are no good or bad answers, either.

Choose a time and a place where you feel comfortable, and give the necessary thought to each question. If you have done it right, you will recognize yourself among the strengths or interests listed.

Then, expect the test results to contain hints to more than one possible professions. Be open-minded about all possibilities, and try to think skills, instead of job titles. These, plus your values and interest will actually help you narrow down the career field. If you are really lucky, you can even recognize common patterns with the studies you have been pursuing!

Typical timing #2: Pre-employment

There could be many times when it is not even you who wants to find out about your true motivations and values.

Career aptitude tests are common tools used by recruiters, as part of the candidate screening process. Most often in the middle of the process, after your application had been shortlisted and you have been screened by phone, and before you are invited for a face-to-face interview.

A funny clip on career placement tests and how they might be misused.

 

They can aim for weeding out the unskilled, but also to know whether or not a candidate will fit in the company culturally. In this latter case, the test will contain questions regarding values, talents, and temperament.

Testing can occur at all levels of the corporate hierarchy, but their content might differ. Candidates for mid-level managerial or executive positions are more likely to get tested for their personalities, as well as people applying for positions that strongly rely on working with a team.

Also, this type of screening is on the rise because of the well-known deficiencies of the resume, and because this seems a more objective evaluation of aptitude than relying solely on the candidate’s self-perception or on recruiter bias.

According to a 2011 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 18% of US companies use some sort of psychometric test, and experts agree this figure is growing at a 10%-15% rate per year.

You can deny filling out these tests but you can also use them to your advantage – more about that in the fourth chapter [How Can You Profit from an Online Career Test?].

Typical timing #3: During employment

Aptitude tests and personality tests are very useful helpers of the HR department when it comes to filling internal vacancies or deciding about promotions. Just as in the previous cases, test results can be good indicators of future performance, especially if there is a bottom line to compare to – as this is about people who are already working at the company.

If you are subject to such testing during your employment, don’t take it as an offense, nor does it show a lack of trust in you. It is rather a way to show you are considered for something more than you are currently doing.

But you performing above average in your current position doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to do the same one level higher. More responsibility or more administration, necessary in the upper regions of the career ladder, can have a counter-effect on some.

By testing your behaviors, one can more easily tell if you have the skills and traits that come with a more senior position. In the end, it can lead to more job satisfaction, whether you stay where you are or get promoted.

To some extent, you can also prepare to these assessments, as they can be a little different from what you’d expect. In many cases, they present you real-life situations taken from the actual position that you will have to solve. While there is no right or wrong answer here, think knowledge, skills, and attitude to be demonstrated in your answer.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF CAREER APTITUDE TESTS? FROM JUNG TO GAMING

Psychological Background

In an effort to understand the behavioral differences among people, psychology has long worked on defining certain criteria along which these differences can be measured. The aim of these studies was to describe normal behavior on one hand and to be able to predict pathological behavior on the other. Work psychology later found out that typology might help in managing people in the workplace.

Carl C. Jung: Psychological Types

Although not without predecessors, Carl C. Jung was the one to lay the foundations of modern-day personality typization with his book titled “Psychological types” in 1921. He incorporated the previous theories of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler but created a unique theory that became influential for generations to come.

In his book, Jung identified eight types of personalities, characterized by one of four main cognitive functions and two main attitudes.

 

Each person performs either an extroverted or an introverted attitude. Accordingly, extroverts and introverts draw energy from diverse sources: extroverts from the external world and social interactions, while introverts more from observing and contemplating.

The four main functions again form two dichotomies: thinking and feeling are the judging functions, while sensation and intuition are the perceiving functions. Both attitude types can have either function, but they are using them in very different ways.

The perception of information along the lines of sensation and intuition means believing in cues originating externally or from someone’s fantasy. The information then can be processed by thinking or by feeling, or along the lines of rules or emotions.

These are the resulting eight personality types:

  • Introverted sensation
  • Introverted intuition
  • Introverted feeling
  • Introverted thinking
  • Extroverted sensation
  • Extroverted intuition
  • Extroverted feeling
  • Extroverted thinking

While all of these might be used by the same person at different times, there is usually one dominant function and attitude that describes a person more than the others. Jung thought that in this hierarchy, the dominant character is really that of the conscious, while the unconscious can still bear the other traits.

Otherwise, preferences are more or less natural born, although some development throughout one’s life is possible.

Organizational Behavior

Over time, it became clear to psychologists and researchers that human behavior within a professional organization is a field worth studying separately. Organizational structures, as well as other people or group of individuals in the organization, can have a significant impact on one’s behavior.

Organizational behavior studies emerged as a separate field in the 1940-50s, influenced by psychology, sociology, and several other disciplines, but it only became acknowledged by the American Psychology Association in the 1970s. Its main aim is to understand human behavior as it became clear that was crucial for a more effective management of organizations of all kinds.

According to researchers, it all comes down to a change in roles when individuals get in an organizational setting: people act differently while working than in their personal lives, and this distinction often causes conflicts in both settings. Or, the advantages and disadvantages of such distinction can be enhanced or minimized by taking behavioral characteristics into account.

Productivity was one of the first and main concept that kept scientists busy, but their approach to people’s workplace behavior soon introduced other views, such as decision-making patterns and other sociological and psychological concepts.

The techniques included mainly mathematical and statistical models to describe how to make better decisions taking human behavior into account. The main beneficiary of it was the management, at all levels.

Quantitative methods had their popularity rising when the focus was on more effective organizational structures, mainly in the 1970s. In the most recent times, anthropology and leadership studies have had a major impact on the discipline, shifting the focus to culture and qualitative research.

The findings of organizational behavior studies have since penetrated the modern-day organization: the significance or the workers’ personalities, their job satisfaction, or a variety of motivation techniques from the managers’ part, became commonly known as having an effect on the organization as a whole.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

The scientific study of human behavior within an organization can be approached from many different directions, as you have seen above. But one approach that has been prevailing recently is that of industrial psychology.

In today’s labor market, characterized by talent shortage and ruled by the idea of employees having to fit culturally in an organization, industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology can provide employers solutions for the better selection of workers, as well as the improvement of their well-being.

 

It is widely believed that if the employees of a company are carefully selected and their emotional needs are taken care, it reduces the number of pain points with the workflow. I-O psychologists are, therefore, used to help with the design of better processes for recruiting and selecting these employees, and the appropriate, personality-based motivation and engagement.

The design of such processes included the use of various tools, among which tests are given preference. By using a good selection of them, I-O psychologists can predict the possibility of a good fit based on objective measures, or which team will have the best performance.

It is essential though that the validity of these tests be accurate and the reliance on them making decisions should not be exclusive. In order to correctly predict job performance, I-O psychologists must make sure the tests they select cover the necessary skills and personality traits for a specific position in their assessment and contain no irrelevant measures. They have to be somehow realistic as well because tests that are too abstract will provide results that are too hard to interpret, let alone base a hiring decision on it.

I-O psychology is, after all, a scientific discipline, and that means an obligation to introduce processes that are reliable in producing equally good results in equal circumstances.

Test Types

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Probably the most common career test, filled out by two million people per year, is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Merging the original typology of Carl Jung (see Psychology background) and her own findings, founder Katharine Cook Briggs developed an inventory of personality types to understand and describe the differences among people.

She worked with her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers who created the first questionnaire in the 1940s and further developed it based on their many decades of research. It was intended for public use from day one – the researches mission was to help people better understand their preferences and make better career choices based on this knowledge.

This instrument has eventually become a standard among assessment tests, frequently used by many employers worldwide to assess their workforces. Many other uses have also been explored, as further research and development of the theory behind the test, as well as many challenges, have been ongoing ever since.

The main concept behind the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was to identify the basic preferences of Jung’s eight types (organized by two dichotomies) and to elaborate the sixteen distinct types, the result of all the possible interactions among the alternatives. This is supposed to help to know oneself better and manage workplace interactions accordingly.

The test offers a multiple-choice style questionnaire where you have to indicate your preferences among certain behaviors. The result is your personality type in the form of a four-letter abbreviation, deriving from the words Extraversion, Introversion, Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, Feeling, Judging, and Perceiving.

Myers Briggs Types

© Wikimedia Commons | Jake Beech

The most important advantage of this assessment test is that it has a long history proving it both valid and reliable. It, in fact, measures the personality of people and has repeatedly given relevant results for decades.

With Myers-Briggs, you can quite easily find out how to draw energy to get you through your workday, what could help you to perform better, to be able to fix some burdens you might encounter in your work life that has been hindering your performance. Furthermore, you can adjust your communication style and message when trying to resolve workplace conflicts, knowing that there could be personality differences behind.

Knowing your type can support your decisions not only at work but also in many personal aspects of your life. Think about selecting the proper material for learning based on your learning style, improving your relationships with your family, or create opportunities for your personal growth.

Among the disadvantages, the most common problem that will get in the way of proper interpretation is the results being on the borderline of two types. Exploring all the 16 types and using your intuition might help to select the best fitting one, but some simply become overwhelmed by the many options.

What’s more, Myers-Briggs is not always suitable for those who are not clear about their own preferences, like young people still on the road to self-discovery. Especially if they are not aware that someone’s type can even change over time, as the answers this person gives to might differ depending on life circumstances or other factors.

 

MAPP

Motivation Appraisal of Personal Potential, or MAPP as it is widely known, is the most used career assessment test specifically for work-related purposes. It was developed in the 1990s by Henry Niels, founder of Assessment.com, and has been filled out eight million times ever since.

It became a success early on, mainly due to the fact that it was the first career test available online, and so much different from the paper-and-versions of that time. Niels realized the prevailing assessment tests were just too long and detailed for the use of everyday people, and that in the online world, it has to be much easier to use: both the filling of the test material and the interpretation of the results.

Just as many predecessors, he based his assessment on personality typology but focused more on the motivations of the different types. The first users of the test were business trying to recruit good fits for their positions, but then MAPP was let go of such restrictions and Niels made it available to the public, which has also become its most important competitive advantage.

So a MAPP assessment ended up containing 71 pieces of three statements, about your preferences. You have to select which one of the three you most and least prefer. The assessment takes about 15 minutes to complete – just the right attention span on the web.

The results are shown immediately and contain a long description reporting on one’s personality, including nine work-related traits. Contrary to the simplicity of the test itself, this explanation part is considered too long and too hard to interpret by the online reviewers.

An indisputable advantage of the MAPP report is that it gives job recommendations besides the narrative, based on your scores compared with the scores of certain professions, which gives good career guidance.

A very insightful TED talk on motivation in businesses.

 

Work Personality Index

The Work Personality Index (WPI) is another example of psychometric testing used in career guidance, team assessment, and candidate selection. It was developed by a research and development group led by educational measurement expert Dr. Donald Macnab of Psychometrics Canada. The first version of the assessment came out in 2001, and an updated version in 2014.

The personality inventory behind this test contains 21 traits, organized in six so-called scales.

The categorization is based more sources, the Occupational Information Network model of the US Department of Labor, the California Psychological Inventory, and the revised version of the  NEO Personality Inventory.

These scales measure the work-related preferences of an individual regarding one’s own working style, teamwork, problem-solving, and stress tolerance, among others.

What sets this test apart from the others is that it only measures traits that are directly related to work performance by making respondents react to typical work situations. Because of this, it is only suitable for those who already have some kind of work experience, and not for school-age people for just choosing a career.

After completing the assessment, WPI provides one of five report types for different purposes. Depending on the user and the goal, there are reports for individual career development and leadership competence, selection in hiring, help for a career change or a job match.

Gamification

Career assessment tests have been losing their appeal lately, especially among young employees. In an effort to lure them to complete those tests again, gamification has been adapted to career testing and game-like assessments were born.

They are based on the assumption that instead of a tried-and-played job interview performance, people can more easily be themselves and show their true characteristics while being immersed in a game.

Large corporations were the firsts, teaming up with smaller video game developer companies, to create career games that are just as fun for the candidates as they are informative for the hiring manager.

These companies, including the likes of insurance company AXA, or accountant Deloitte, realized that by adding games to their selection toolbox, they are able to better assess behaviors related to real work situations, and improve in diversity hiring by considering people who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to land a job at that workplace.

Videos can successfully recreate the actual work environment, be it a restaurant or an office, and present real-life challenges to the player. Accordingly, the action taken by those same players will surely be relevant to the job at hand.

They are also easily scalable, making it suitable for mass recruitment. Eventually, they get a more diverse workforce, considering even those who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance, with traditional recruitment methods. Companies can also compare the scores or action of the candidate gamers with some of their existing staff, to get a comparison of the skills.

Still, these games have to meet the highest standards when it comes to validity and reliability, just like it is the case with traditional assessment tests, in order to consider an equal part of the recruiter’s toolbox. This usually takes a strong psychometric background of the developer and a large enough candidate database to test on.

Considering the high costs of game development, no wonder it didn’t seem accessible for a long time for other than large corporations. However, there are other types of games open for use by any organization, even individuals.

Some game-like career tests aim for going through the usually annoying, still necessary steps of self-discovery in less time and in a more entertaining way. You can easily get done with identifying your work personality by connecting dots for 8 minutes, manage a theme park or release fireflies.

HOW CAN YOU PROFIT FROM A FREE ONLINE CAREER TEST?

Benefits as an Employee or Job-Seeker

There are many different ways to learn about your motivations, values, and interests at work: a self-assessment test is one of them. Whether you take it at the beginning of your career or in the middle of it, or you take one regularly, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your professional advancement.

Why Is It Important to Know Yourself?

Getting to know yourself is beneficial in all aspects of life and your career is no exception. In the best case scenario, this is a lifelong process, with lifelong benefits.

As a job seeker, especially when looking for a job for the very first time, the insights you can gain from such an assessment are invaluable. Sometimes simply facing a tough question is enough to get you thinking about what matters you the most. If you steer your career in that direction, it is more likely to be satisfying in the long term.

Other times, the report you get after completing a test will contain the career advice you need. It can reassure you about the choices you had made regarding your education, and helps compare your ideals about your working life with actual requirements for living it. Those who know themselves will not spend time or money on activities that don’t support their self-realization.

Knowing yourself is also useful in planning. On the road to a rewarding life, including a good-fitting job, there are many steps to take, and planning your action steps accordingly require choosing from many options.

With a little self-knowledge, some of these options will become irrelevant, while others are more likely to lead you to success. The same knowledge will protect you from biases from the part of your influencers, like family or teachers.

Here are some typical but disturbing questions it is worth to get an answer to:

  • What do you do well?
  • What motivates you?
  • What type of lifestyle do you prefer?
  • How much are you willing to take risks?
  • What is your attitude towards hierarchy?
  • How do you interact with other people?
  • How do your moods affect your life?

Ideal Circumstances to Taking the Test

Not all states of mind are equal when it comes to taking a career aptitude test or a personality test. You want to be at your best when you want to find out about yourself so that the results would reflect the best of you. When you feel energized, someone made you happy by giving a positive feedback, or something happened that built up confidence in you – these are all good moments for testing.

But when you decide it’s the right time, you might also want to think about it as the only time: the time you dedicate exclusively to this purpose. Help yourself focus fully by excluding all distractions. Make sure you are not disturbed by either family members, postmen or pets, as there should be no music and no TV in the background. This is how you make your inner voices heard!

By the way, you cannot expect realistic results that are actually helpful if the answers you choose are from a fictional character, and not a real person – you. We all want to be somebody else sometimes, but filling a career test is not the right time for role-playing. Answer the questions on the test honestly, and make sure nobody is checking your answers from behind your back, literally or theoretically, to avoid unconscious bias.

Using the Test Results for an Application

It might be your own initiative or the recruiter’s to fill out a career assessment test during the application process to a job. Whatever the case, you can use the results to your advantage.

If you take it independently, make sure you ask somebody to revise the findings with you, as a realistic interpretation is the first step towards successfully using it for a job application.

Although these reports usually don’t contain anything truly negative, feel free to leave out anything that is unacceptable for you and to focus on the traits that you consider the most positive ones. Then compare it with the job description or job advert, and make sure to include all the attributes that match one of the requirements.

If you take the test as an official part of the application process, i.e. suggested by the recruiter, then obviously you won’t have such room to give your own interpretation of the results. However, you can prepare for being tested: you can find out what type of test is, and find similar ones online. You can read sample reports and make yourself familiar with their interpretation. The rule of thumb: be as job-specific as possible.

Using the Test Results for Career Development

Even if you started out on the right career path, you can still feel stuck at some point in your life. Still, it is never too late to reflect on your choices or make adjustments if necessary. This is when you need to start career planning all over, beginning with assessing your values, strengths, and weaknesses.

As people can change a lot over time, it is wise to think out of the box about yourself and approach the results of a test open-minded. The first thing you can use the test for is to see how much you have changed and in what perspective.

Furthermore, the suggestions made by the test can serve as an inspiration to try new things or discover new sides of yourself that can be used to give a boost to your career, to reach your full potential.

If you discover something not so favorable through the assessment, don’t take it as an offense, but as something that provides a good opportunity to develop. Behaviors can be improved and attitudes can be changed for the better – these are efforts always appreciated by an employer.

Either way, the advantages profusely outweigh any disadvantages that may come in the form of interpretation difficulties or privacy concerns. As a bottom line, you learn to balance your priorities again and find hidden resources for further learning or, if necessary, for a career change.

Benefits as an Employer

Why Is It Important to Have the Professional Profiles of Your Employees?

Employee engagement is all the rage these days, and adequate motivation, inspiration, and management, in general, are necessary for reaching the next level. But what counts as adequate depends on the person: that is the main reason why an employer needs to know its workforce.

Depending on who is difficult or easy to manage, a variety of techniques is needed. So the more the managers know about the personalities in a given workplace, the more effectively he or she is able to guide them to create more value for the business.

You can study the most common typologies described in the Psychology Background chapter, or you can apply a different approach, but the point should always be to strive for discovering people’s potential. There is no such thing as a bad personality, only a bad trait. By being aware of those, the most common pitfalls can be avoided, and teamwork can be improved. Besides that, everyone has their positive side that can add to the team, and the diversity of strength again adds up to better performance.

The other thing that makes personality assessment so important is the improved retention among the employees: a lower turnover rates saves a lot of money and energy for the business. Recruitment can be a starting point of retention efforts, and with the help of organizational psychology, you can get ahead of your game. Get a profile of your candidates, and compare it with the current team, to see which one of them would fit in culturally and personally, and still bring something new to the table.

Practical Advice to Make Your Employees Take a Test

Whether you are to test your employees’ aptitude or personality, the best advice to make them participate is to go straight up to them and ask. Of course, you will need some solid arguments when they ask about your reasons.

First of all, you need to dispel any misunderstandings and assure them that nobody is going to be fired as a result of a test report. Moreover, reassure them that there is no such thing as failing on these tests, since there are no right or wrong answers, either.

But all this might not be enough – then it all comes down to transparency. It should be obvious that everyone gets his or her own report, to see what you see. This way, they get a chance to know themselves better, to identify their strengths and values.

Then, you should also be transparent about your own motivations, for example by sharing some of the arguments in the above chapter. Employees need to know that by taking the test, they are taking a step towards improving not only themselves but also team performance.

And last, but not least, transparency is important when it comes to the validity of that specific test you intend to use. Let your team know how carefully you had selected and that it measures exactly what you need to measure, and nothing else.

Good Methods to Interpret Test Results

When it comes to interpreting the results of a career test, there is no such thing as too much caution. It is important that the employees do not ignore them, as well as do not take it as a judgment.

The best way to avoid unnecessary emotions is to follow instructions regarding the interpretation if the developer of the test provides any. But even in the lack of an official instruction, discussing the findings of a free online career test should always be a private consultation.

Resist the temptation to only throw numbers around: no ratio, percentage, score, or inventory number of a personality is informative without context. The main purpose is to improve, and it is only possible if everyone is one the same page about where the starting point and the end goal are.

If the test results describe a personality, a good method to interpret it positively is to add your own observations about that person. A positive feedback, on the other hand, will encourage the subject of the test to try to improve on the weaker traits as well.

Always ask for feedback, too: to which extent does your employee agree with the test results? What are his or her objections? What career ideas does the test inspire? Let the employee know your ideas about the next steps, too.

But whatever the method, always remember, and make the employees remember, that this is just a test – one perspective, no more, no less, and it should be treated like that.

WHERE CAN YOU TAKE A FREE ONLINE CAREER QUIZ?

Online, of course, but we have a more detailed answer than that. Some sources are more trusted or more comprehensive than others, and besides having a plethora of free options out there, we also show you that sometimes it is worth to pay for a career exploration.

Free Resources

Where Do You Find Such Tests for Free?

Fortunately, free assessment tests are not so hard to find. A broad selection of free career orientation materials is available on the O*NET site, one that is supported by the US Department of Labor, and contains tests that can mostly be self-assessed and self-interpreted.

The types of these and other questionnaires can range from a short quiz to a detailed and time-consuming, multiple-choice test material. They might also have different names that signal a different focus.

Look for personality tests if you want to know more about yourself and your major personality traits, and not just in relation to work. Look for aptitude tests if you are trying to assess your skills in the relation of an actual job or occupation. Look for career assessment test if you want to measure how much you enjoy particular endeavors.

You can narrow your search by target groups, too. There may be separate types of test suitable for fresh graduates and career changers. For example, the connection between their major and their possible future careers is answered on “What Can I Do With This Major?.” Although not in the usual multiple choice test format, this website aims to address the most common problem of higher education students, the connection between a major and a future career.

How Do You Know Which Tests Give Professional Results?

Except for when you take a career quiz for fun, there are certain factors to consider to decide about the professionality of such an evaluation.

  • You want the test to be valid. It should measure what it says it will measure. Its questions must give relevant results specific for career guidance. Look for any evidence showing the developer of the test used scientific methods for the elaboration of the questionnaire.
  • You want it to be reliable. In other words, it should show consistency over long periods of time and among a significant number of testers. It has to produce similar results with similar types of people. Also, the same person has to score the same if taking the test twice, with not much time between the two occasions.
  • You want it to be easy to fill and not to take too much of your time. Most assessments can be completed in 15-20 minutes by the average person. If you see a test takes more time than that, or it has a language that seems incomprehensible by just quickly looking at it, skip it.
  • As yet another option to make sure you are not wasting your time with a test is to check its reviews online. Although the page is currently not updated, Toptenreviews.com has a site dedicated to career aptitude tests where you may still find the one you are about to take.

Resources with a Paying Option

While there is really a good variety of the online career tests that are offered for free, many providers offer both a gratis and a paid option. Make sure to explore the additional value on offer, because there are times when it is worth to invest in them.

The most common case is when you only get a short summary as a result of testing, and you are asked to pay, should you wish to get a detailed report of your career assessment. This more comprehensive version might reveal more things that push you in the right career direction.

To get the assessment from a renowned institute or professional is another reason many people are willing to pay a contribution. The providers of the original Myers-Briggs or MAPP test are themselves the guarantees of quality research behind the tests and a proven track record of relevant test results.

It also happens now and again that the report you get puts you on the borderline for some skills or personalities or otherwise uninterpretable. Though you can pay for a package with a one-on-one consultation included, giving you the chance to ask your specific questions about the report.

Finally, many test makers have utilized the power of assessments right away by providing unique career recommendations. They either do that by matching relevant skills in your profile with those in the job ads, or giving a score for how likely is the fit between you and the job.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons | Jake Beech under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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