Online Career Aptitude Tests

Are they worth it?

man working at laptopIf you are thinking of changing your career, then you will probably have tried some online career aptitude tests – there are plenty out there!  What did you think of them?  Did the results feel ‘right’ to you? Did they give you any new insights to help you with your career?  How do you know whether you should be taking the results seriously or treating them as a bit of light-hearted entertainment?

Are they really worth trying?

You may well be asking yourself whether it is worthwhile taking these online career aptitude tests.  Do they really help when you are trying to find the right career?  Well, the answer is – yes and no! Here are some of the pros and cons as I see them.


Easy to access – just fire up the internet and navigate to the page!  So much easier than finding a specialist occupational psychologist, going along to take the test and then returning for your feedback.

Quick to take – most online career aptitude test are quick and straightforward to take.  You can complete them in 5-15 minutes so they are not a big drain on your time

Instant results – you get your feedback at the click of a button, so you can review the report they offer and see what suggestions and ideas come up to help you with your career planning.

More detailed feedback available – most online career aptitude tests give you the option of accessing more detailed feedback, so if the results ring true for you, you can ask for more, though this will often be a priced product. But the free assessment is a good way of testing the water before you part with any money!

They make you stop and think – even if it is at a fairly superficial level.  Any career change should start with a process of review and reflection and if this does not come naturally to you, then taking an online test may just help start that process.


Superficial – let’s face it, anyone can throw up a quick questionnaire and post it online.  Some online tests do not really add anything very new or surprising to your career research and fail to tell you anything you did not know already.

Poorly designed – the best career aptitude tests are professionally designed and this takes time and money, so they are unlikely to be made available for free.  Online tests may have little research behind them and so probably do not accurately measure what they claim to measure.  Results need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

No magic solutions – no test, however well designed, will offer you the magic solution to your career challenges.  There will always be more information about you that has to be taken into account, so please don’t do these online tests in the assumption that they will provide an instant Magic Answer to your career woes!

Hidden costs – a test may be advertised for free, but you then find you have to pay for additional detailed feedback.  This can be frustrating, but if the initial results look interesting, you may decide it is worth paying for more information.

If you want to try a few online aptitude tests, take a look at these suggestions

So on balance…?

I think some online career aptitude tests can be a useful staring point in that they just get you thinking a bit more deeply about your current work situation and they may give you some useful additional insights when you are researching new career ideas.

That is probably the case with the simple personality test on my website. It is not a properly developed and validated test but it will give you a few insights into yourself which can be useful when looking for a career change.

However, it remains true that you get what you pay for and if you want an in depth analysis of your personality, skills, interests or working style then you should consider approaching a career coach who is qualified to administer a properly researched and developed psychometric assessment.

You should be given the opportunity to discuss your results and make sense of them in relation to other factors affecting your career choices. In the long run, this will be a much more beneficial way of spending your time and money.

What do you think?

  • What has been your experience of online assessments?
  • What insights have you gained from them?
  • Which ones would you recommend to others?

From The 5 Minute Career Coach January 2015

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About the author

Amy Thomas

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