Formal Career Assessment Tests

Are they worth it?

Formal career assessment tests, sometimes called psychometric tests, are usually developed by occupational psychologists who spend a lot of time and money trialling and refining them before they are made available for use.

The purpose of this kind of test is to try and achieve an objective measure of some aspect of your mental abilities or your personality.

Let’s face it, anyone can make up a list of questions, but how can you be sure that they measure what you think they are measuring? Will they turn up the same results whenever you take them? And will they work effectively for everyone who takes the tests?

So the time and money spent on developing formal career assessment tests is to make sure that:

  • The tests really do measure what they claim to measure
  • The tests will come up with the same or closely similar results for an individual when taken several times over a few days or weeks
  • The tests will effectively and reliably sort out the people who take them into different groups
Multiple Choice Test

The results of formal assessment tests are usually looked at alongside the results of a large group of other people who have taken the same tests, so your results are matched against theirs to see how you compare eg are you above the average, average or below average for that ability or trait.

Because of all the research behind them, these formal tests are a much more accurate measure of the issues they are
assessing than the quick quizzes you find in magazines and books. Unfortunately, it also means that they usually cost money to take – sometimes quite a lot!

Taking formal career assessment tests


If you go to a properly qualified career coach you should be able to take some of these formally designed career tests.

Be prepared to take some time over them. They may have a lot of questions and it is important that you answer them honestly and thoughtfully. There is no benefit for you in trying to guess what you think might be the ‘right’ answer. You want the career tests to help you understand yourself more clearly, so take the exercise seriously.

Once you have taken the test, you will usually get a long and detailed report giving you lots of feedback on what the test shows.

This willgive you loads of valuable information about your abilities or personality and will help you move forward with your career change.

Ideally you will also meet with the coach or have a telephone coaching session after taking the test, when you can discuss the results in detail and make sure you fully understand what they mean for you and for your career.

So if you can afford the investment, formal career assessment tests can be a great way of finding out more about what makes you tick and will make a great contribution you your career change planning.

About the author

Amy Thomas

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