According to Richard Bolles, 72, author of the best-selling book What Color Is Your Parachute the best diagnostics are those that assess rather than test. “You can’t flunk an assessment,” he says. But you can misuse one. “Never let an assessment tell you what to do,” warns Bolles. “Its purpose is only to give you some clues about your skills and interests; you’ve got to decide whether the clues are useful.” And, Bolles cautions, no test is totally accurate. He suggests completing at least two or three tests before comparing their results and taking any of their conclusions to heart.
So which Web tests measure up? One of the best is John Holland’s Self-Directed-Search. This test is based on the theory that people and work environments can be classified into six basic types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. The test determines which three types describe you, and it suggests occupations that could be a good match. The Keirsey Character Sorter is a first cousin of Myers-Briggs. It sorts people into four temperaments: idealists, rationals, artisans, and guardians. Like Myers-Briggs, it not only places you in an overall category, but it also offers a more detailed evaluation of your personality traits.
Here’s an in-depth look at five of the best known Web-based career-assessment tools.
|Site||Score||Fee & Time||Pass||Fail|
|Self-Directed-Search||According to SDS, people and work environments can be classified into six types: realistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional. The test determines which three types describe you and suggest suitable occupations.||$7.95;|
|Your secrets are safe with SDS. You don’t have to enter your name to take the test or see the results.||The site uses a Java applet to administer the test, which makes the interface a bit clunky|
|Birkman Method Career Style Summary||The Birkman test not only probes for hard skills but also evaluates your interests, your motivations, and how you respond to everyday pressures. You walk away with a color-coded guide to your interests and your style of behavior.||Free about; 20 minutes||The site also retrieves a list of jobs that might be right for someone who has your interests and style.||You can only get part of the Birkman test on the Web. If you want a complete assessment, you’ll have to find a career counselor who administers it.|
|Keirsey Character Sorter http://www.keirsey.com||A first cousin of Myers-Briggs. It sorts people into four types or temperaments: idealists, rationals, artisans, and guardians. And just like Myers-Briggs, it provides a detailed evaluation of personality traits—as well as your overall category.||Free about; 20 minutes||Along with your results, you’ll get a list of famous people who fit into your category.||Besides learning about famous folks who share your personality type, there isn’t much information about how your results relate to your career.|
|Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator||The RHETI looks at nine personality types: reformer, helper, motivator, artist, thinker, skeptic, generalist, leader, and peacemaker. The test determines your basic type.||Free ten; minutes||If you’re looking for a quick, straightforward snapshot of your personality, this is the test for you. Its killer app? Identifying your most basic fear and desire.||Taking this test can be a test. Make sure you answer as many questions as possible, but don’t feel obligated to answer those that you don’t identify with. Also, be careful to answer what you’re really like, as opposed to how you hope to be.|
|CareerLeader||Actually, it’s three tests in one. The first assesses your interest. The second looks at what’s important to you in a job (money, autonomy, and so on). The third evaluates your abilities.||$95 for a 60-day subscription;|
each part takes at least 90 minutes.
|Great attention to detail. In fact, if you skip too many questions or inconsistently answer questions, you will get an invalid score||If you want to find the jobs or careers that are best for you, you’ll have to buy “Discovering Your Career in Business” (Perseus Press, 1997), by the tests’ creators.|
Source: “Testing the Testers”
Original Publication: Fast Company
Subject: Internet Resources