Career Assessments: 6 Reasons To Take Them

by | Career Growth

People often turn to assessments and inventories when feeling stuck or lost in their careers. Although an online test can’t tell you what you should do for a living, it can provide you clarity, direction, and hope as you explore what’s next. Continue reading to learn some of the benefits of taking a career assessment test, as well as how to decide which one is right for you.

1. Confirm whether you’re on the right career path.

One of the most common reasons people turn to career tests is to discover potential new vocations worth pursuing. They’re also often used to confirm that you’re working in the right vocation.

Personally speaking, my own Strong Report returned “Career Counselor” as the top occupation out of more than 130 potential options. Although I knew career coaching was my craft and calling, seeing “Career Counselor” as my number-one occupation provided me with an extra boost of confidence that I was working in the right profession.

If you’re earlier in your career or considering going back to school, many assessments will provide you with suggested majors. Conversely, if you’re a leader with a decade or more of experience, you can use your assessment to focus on those careers that might be a natural pivot, rather than a total relaunch, and make use of your transferable skills.

[Read: Is Technology A Good Career Path?]

Best Career Assessment Test

The Strong Interest Inventory is one of the most popular career assessments on the market.

Kyle Elliott Strong Interest Inventory Report

As a tech career coach, I use this career assessment at least weekly with clients who are considering a career change and looking to learn more about potential career paths. While no assessment can tell you what exactly you should do for a living, this inventory provides a jumping-off point – backed by data – by providing a number of potential occupations to begin exploring.

What career changers most often appreciate the most about the Strong Interest Inventory is the wealth of knowledge covered in their personalized report, including:

  • Your interests, work activities, potential skills, and personal values.
  • Predictions as to how satisfied you will be across hundreds of potential occupations and the similarity of your interests to people who currently work in each occupation.
  • Your preferences when it comes to approaching people, learning, and leading, as well as your interest in taking risks and participating in teams.

2. Clarify your strengths – and simultaneously bolster your confidence.

Another common reason people turn to assessments is to support them in communicating their strengths. If you’re in the process of interviewing for a new role, you need to be ready to answer the question, “What are your biggest strengths?” If the idea makes you nervous, you might consider taking a strengths inventory so that you can learn more about yourself and your professional gifts.

Plus, learning to identify and communicate your strengths will not only help you build powerful talking points for your next interview but also bolster your confidence, which you can never have too much of when looking for a new job. Win-win!

[Read: How To Stop Selling Yourself Short In Your Career]

Top Strengths Assessment

If you want to learn more about your strengths, the CliftonStrengths assessment (formerly Clifton StrengthsFinder) is the tool you want to use. You not only gain a better understanding of your strengths but also how they combine to create your unique talent DNA.

You might have completed the CliftonStrengths in high school or college or at a leadership seminar years ago, but it doesn’t hurt to take it again from time to time as your strengths can shift slightly as you age.

CliftonStrengths 34 Assessment Report

When you complete the CliftonStrengths 34, you uncover:

  • Your unique CliftonStrengths 34 Theme Sequence, including personalized Strengths insights for your top 10 themes.
  • Customized tips to take your leadership skills and performance to the next level using your Strengths, as well as blind spots to watch out for.
  • The relative distribution of your unique CliftonStrengths 34 across four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.

Fun Fact: You have a one in 275,000 chance of having the same top 5 strengths as someone else, and a one in 33 million chance of having those strengths in the same order.

3. Learn more about your personality and preferences.

Beyond your strengths, it’s also important to understand your personality and the critical role it plays in the workplace.

Many organizations turn to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI®, because it allows you to quickly learn more about yourself and your preferences across four pairs of opposite tendencies that can cause conflict:

  • Directing and receiving energy (Extraversion and Introversion)
  • Taking in energy (Sensing and Intuition)
  • Deciding and coming to conclusions (Thinking and Feeling)
  • Approaching the outside world (Judging and Perceiving)

Once you know more about yourself, you can then better understand and work with people who have different personality types.

Keep in mind: Your personality preferences impact how you relate to others, act and react, make sense of the world, and determine life choices.

Best Personality Assessment

The MBTI® is one of the top personality assessments on the market. It was first published in 1962, and since then, more than 50 million people have trusted it to help them learn more about themselves.

MBTI Inventory Report

A typical MBTI® report includes:

  • Your four-letter reported MBTI® type (for example, ISTJ: Introversion | Sensing | Thinking | Judging).
  • A description of your personality type.
  • Characteristics that are frequently associated with your reported type, including the ways in which you interact with others, how you prefer to operate at work, and blind spots to watch out for.

As a bonus, you can use your MBTI® report to explore the most and least popular occupations based on your MBTI® type.

4. Uncover your core motivations.

The Enneagram test is another assessment worth exploring if you want to learn more about yourself.

Beyond summarizing your personality, the Enneagram dives deep into the patterns that unconsciously shape who you are as a person and motivate you at your core.

I’ve observed first-hand the value and impact of the test in supporting individuals in better understanding themselves and their subconscious drivers.

[Read: How To Find Meaningful Work]

Most Popular Enneagram Test

Because the Enneagram has gained increasing popularity in recent years, there are a lot of free and low-cost tests on the market. However, not all of them have the same validity and accuracy.

As an iEQ9 Integrative Enneagram Accredited Practitioner, I’m partial to the iEQ9 Enneagram test. The iEQ9 is undeniably the most comprehensive Enneagram assessment in the world, with more than 450,000 respondents to date and a 95%+ accuracy rate.

iEQ9 Enneagram Report

Here are a few of the characteristics included in a typical iEQ9 Enneagram report:

  • Core Enneagram Type and Subtype
  • Motivation, Behavior, and Psychodynamics
  • Strengths, Challenges, and Blind Spots
  • Centers of Expression (Action, Thinking, Feeling)
  • Self-Awareness and Integration
  • Strain Levels

5. Understand how you approach communication and conflict.

With workplaces becoming more diverse, you must learn how to communicate with a wide array of colleagues, as well as those who approach conflict differently than you do, if you want to be successful.

Learning how different cultures tend to approach communication and conflict can reduce your stress and anxiety during challenging conversations.

Top Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory

The Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICS) is a research-backed assessment tool that can support you in improving your communication abilities, resolving conflicts, and solving problems across cultural boundaries.

More than 100,000 people across 20+ countries have trusted the ICS to help them learn how to better communicate and resolve conflict across cultural differences.

Your Individual ICS Profile includes a comprehensive breakdown of each of the four intercultural communication and conflict resolution styles: Discussion, Engagement, Accommodation, Dynamic.

Dr. Kyle Elliott ICS Inventory Results

You also learn your intercultural conflict style(s), plus research-backed techniques to navigate cultural differences in conflict style and how you resolve disputes.

6. Get hired for your next job.

Finally, if you’re on the hunt for a new job, you may run into prospective employers who are deploying assessments and inventories to evaluate talent.

These assessments can be found across various stages of the recruiting and hiring process, including:

Most Popular Hiring Assessments Used By Employers

While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the most common assessments used by employers in the hiring process:

Note: Certain psychometric assessments like the MBTI® are NOT approved for selection and hiring.

How To Choose The Right Assessment For Your Career Goals

Before taking a career assessment, it’s important to clarify your goals for completing the inventory. If you want to learn more about your personality, for instance, you’ll want to opt for a test like the MBTI® or Enneagram. Conversely, if you want to explore potential career paths, a career inventory like the Strong might be a better choice.

Final Thoughts On Career Assessments

Please know that career assessments aren’t a magic eight ball or silver bullet. You still must engage in the internal reflection of clarifying what you want in your next role, as well as how a target position supports you in your long-term career trajectory.

Also, while inventories like the Strong link to resources such as O*NET OnLine, which provides a wealth of information on various occupations and their outlook, online career tests don’t take into account your background, experience, education, or salary requirements. Instead, they’re a jumping-off point as you engage in additional reflection and exploration.

If you have any questions about career assessments, please don’t hesitate to contact me or schedule a consultation. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!

(Full disclosure: While I am certified in several of the assessments and inventories listed in this article, there are countless low-cost and free career assessments available to identify potential occupations. A simple Google search will return tons of free career resources. That said, know that free career tests are often limited in their quality and validity.)

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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