The following tips will help job seekers choose the right career test:
- Consider taking a high quality career interest inventory. The best valid interest inventory will do four things: help you understand yourself better, match you with careers that are likely to lead to satisfaction and success, suggest careers you had not thought of, and give you comprehensive information about each one. Through this process, you learn about yourself, the pros and cons of each job option, which helps you make a successful career decision.
- For a serious career decision, choose a serious, valid test. Quizzes, games, sorters, profilers, and finders that assess and match you with jobs are all career tests. To be helpful, they must be valid measures. But few of them are. For a test to be “valid,” there must be published, scientific evidence that it measures, in fact, what the author claims it measures. If you want accurate information about yourself and job options that fit you, take a valid test.
- Make sure the test website contains information about the test's validity. It should mention specific studies or offer a professional manual you can see. A manual will describe validity studies; for an example, click here. If no such information is available, avoid using it.
- Look beyond credentials, links, and endorsements. A Ph.D.'s endorsement or authorship does not make a test valid; anyone, with or without a Ph.D., can create an invalid career test. Links from schools, government and professional organizations are well-intentioned, but often unreliable.
- Seek the help of a professionally trained career counselor who recognizes the importance of test validity. They can help you choose the right test and help you interpret your results. The National Career Development Association provides helpful consumer guidelines on selecting a counselor and CounselorFind of the National Board of Certified Counselors can help you find a certified counselor near you.
These tips also appeared in a recent post about career tests and The Career Key on MSNBC columnist Eve Tahmincioglu's CareerDiva blog; please visit her site for more helpful career information.