Should you trust that career test?

Should you trust that career test?

Personality and career assessments are promoted as tools to help people make better job choices, but can you trust the results? At best, career assessments expose you to new options and help you make informed decisions. At worst, these tools devalue your potential and discourage you from opportunities.

It's dangerous to have 100% trust in any assessment because even the most well-regarded career test has flaws. Part of this is because assessments can't be created in a vacuum. Every test is biased by the culture and experience of the people who created it. The best ones are tested across different populations -- but that's not always a possibility.

Your own biases play a role too. If you don’t trust your skills in an area, you may score poorly regardless of actual potential. For example, if you never changed a tire, does that mean you could never be a skilled mechanic? 

When you take a career test, consider how it was created and how your own experiences may be influencing the results.

First, check how the assessment was developed and tested for accuracy. Were the subjects college students in a Psych 101 class or do they hail from different age groups and locations? Then, check into the history. Is the test well regarded or relatively unknown? 

After taking an assessment, consider what influenced your responses. Have you been exposed to the area they are asking about? Are you scoring highly in sales skills because you have been working in sales for eight years? 

Career and personality tests can be helpful if you aren’t sure what next step to take, but don’t let them limit your choices. Assessments can expose you to different careers and help you gain a better understanding of how you work best. Use assessments as tools to explore your future, but not determine your fate.

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