People often view career counselling tests as the “be all and end all” of career counselling. Such a view however is incorrect. Career counselling tests are not meant to replace the role of a career counsellor. Rather, career counselling tests are actually one of many tools used by counsellor’s to help start clients on the path to career exploration.
Although not always a necessary or essential part of the process, career counsellors can find use of a career test useful when they encounter a client that is very “stuck” and who is unable to bring out career ideas or interests. Perhaps for example the client has a hobby which could potentially translate into paid employment or a career, but because they are so stuck in their position they are unable to see this possibility. The role of a counsellor however I often not to provide the answers and tell people what is right for them, but rather to empower them through the process to arrive at their own decisions.
A good quality career test would flesh out and bring to the surface such interests hobbies and factor these into career options to find the persons ideal career path. It’s not necessary to see a career counsellor to start this process however. People can take a career test on the internet, and this can be extremely useful if they focus on taking quality career counselling tests rather than any of the many often free and poorly constructed assessments available.
Look for a career test for which you are able to see the reliability and validity data provided by the test developer. Although understanding reliability and validity issues for psychological tests can be quite difficult and complex it’s important that any test you are taking is able to back up their claims with solid research, and unfortunately you’ll find that for free career quizzes this will usually not be available.
Only not the only tests, two of the more popular career counselling tests that do make their reliability and validity data available are the Strong Interest Inventory and Myers Briggs (MBTI) Career Report. Also available for these tests are sample reports so you can see the level of detail in the assessment and report prior to making a purchase.
If there is one piece of advice I would like to pass on it is this. A career counselling test is often a good way to start the process of career exploration, but don’t takes risks with cheap career quizzes and make sure you use only quality career counselling tests such as those listed above.