Career Test Guide

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Career and personality tests offer people the opportunity to learn specific and important information regarding their personalities. Often these tests not only describe a personality, but also provide testers the chance to find out about compatible career options and working environments. These tests help people to understand themselves and others and can even lead, in some cases, to self improvement. In addition, personality tests have become a useful tool in many companies and industries, as they aid in communication and foster understanding among people with a variety of personality types.

Many tests determine an individual’s key characteristics. These tests also use questions about how people would handle themselves in certain situations to determine their personality type. Other tests ask people more directly about their beliefs and value systems. When deciding on the right career path to take, career tests can be a valuable tool, not so much for indicating a particular career but more for fostering and promoting the kind of self reflection and awareness imperative to professional development and personal growth.

Testing Methods

The Birkman Method

The Birkman Method is a personality and occupational assessment tool created by American organizational psychologist Dr. Roger Birkman. This test consists of a 298-question personality assessment and a series of related sets covering topics such as team building, executive coaching leadership development, career counseling and interpersonal conflict resolution. The Birkman Method combines motivational, behavioral and interest assessment into one single test, which offers a multi-dimensional and thorough analysis and eliminates the need for multiple evaluations. The questionnaire is delivered online and takes, on average, 45 minutes to complete. A widely used assessment, the Birkman Method has been translated into 11 languages in addition to English.

Through a combination of analyses, this assessment reveals the respondent’s typical interpersonal style and offers insights into underlying motivations and needs. The test is grouped into five major categories and evaluates an individual’s usual or everyday behavior, underlying needs in relation to completion of tasks and relationships, behaviors that trigger stress (and reactions to those behaviors), an individual’s job preferences and interests, and the ways in which an individual approaches problems and solutions.

Campbell Interest and Skill Survey-Reputable and comprehensive online assessment consisting of 320 questions, this test evaluates both interests and skills, covers nearly 60 different types of careers, and offers insightful and specific feedback. The current cost to take this test is $37.00.

Free Career Assessment- This quiz consists of 15 multiple choice questions designed to gage the career that is most suitable for an individual’s habits, thoughts, and actions.

The MAPP Test- The MAPP is ideal for students, graduates and working adults. This free career test takes 15 minutes to complete and sorts though 900 different careers to provide individuals with the possible job matches.

Holland Codes

The Holland Codes or Holland Occupational Themes (RIASEC) refers to the set of personality types described in a theory of careers and vocational choice formulated in the 1950s by psychologist John L. Holland. Holland developed his theory of career choice based upon six themes or categories of people and their corresponding work environments. These themes include Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. According to Holland, workers actively seek potentially compatible work environments. If an individual’s personality and the work environment complement one another, than the individual will enjoy the work and most likely develop personally and professionally.

The Career Key- Short self-assessment measure, developed by Dr. Lawrence K. Jones, professor Emeritus in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. It provides a three-letter Holland Code, which represents an individual’s personality and preferred work environment, as well as information about related occupations. The test is available for a fee of $7.95. Profits from test fees support a number of charitable organizations. However, Dr. Jones has licensed the assessment for free through CareerBuilder.

Self Directed Search- Developed by Dr. Holland, the Self-Directed Search (SDS) is based upon a theory that both people and work environments can be classified according to six basic types. People who choose careers that match their own types are most likely to be both satisfied and successful. This inventory takes about 15 minutes to complete. The eight to sixteen page personalized report is available for a credit/debit card payment of $9.95.

Meyers Briggs Type Indicator

This assessment is a psychometric questionnaire which measures psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. The theory of psychological type was introduced in the 1920s by Carl G. Jung. The MBTI instrument was developed in the 1940s by Isabel Briggs Myers and the original research was done in the 1940s and ’50s. Millions of people worldwide have taken the Indicator each year since its first publication in 1962. Two related goals in the development and application of the MBTI instrument were to identify basic preferences of each of the four dichotomies specified in Jung’s theory and to identify and describe 16 distinctive personality types that result from the interaction among the preferences.


Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).

Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).

When individuals decide on their preferences in each category, they then arrive at their personality type, which can be expressed as a code with four letters.

Hundreds of studies over the past 40 years have proven the MBTI instrument to be both valid and reliable. It measures what it says it does (validity) and produces the same results when given more than once (reliability).

Jung Typology Test- This free online test consists of 72 yes/no questions and takes about fifteen minutes to complete. Upon completion an individual will be given his type formula, according to Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers typology, along with the strengths of the preferences, the description of his personality type, and a list of recommended occupations and educational institutions.