What career is right for you? Some people know the answer from an early age, while for others it may take a little more time. When you're determining the path that's best for you, you might start by making lists of your qualities and strengths, reflect on your goals, go on informational interviews and talk to professionals in a range of fields. You can also take tests to gauge your career strengths. In fact, some companies will ask you to take tests as part of the hiring process.
I think it’s safe to say being asked to take a personality test or assessment as part of the job interview process is a bit off-putting, to say the least. On the other hand, most of us would probably jump at the chance to take a free career test that was for our eyes only! Here are seven career tests and personality assessments you can take to help you make sure you’re following the right career path given your skills and interests.
I went through this 60-question assessment within a few minutes and didn’t agonize over my answers. This seemed to be the most straightforward of all the career tests. Questions were specific to workplace dynamics and how you would describe your personality within certain scenarios. Surprisingly, I was shocked by how accurately it described my general work personality. It was so accurate that I almost splurged for the full 10-page report that was marked down to $11.90 from $39.95!
Full disclosure: We give this assessment to prospective employees at my company. Luckily, I was hired before this process began, but it’s still a helpful exercise. Again, I was floored by how accurate it was. The test took less than five minutes and, unlike other tests where you answer specific questions about various workplace scenarios, you were asked to circle words from a list that best describe you. Then, from that same list, you’re asked to circle the words that you think others would use to describe you. The test then measures against four main characteristics to best determine your work style and also helps in managing team dynamics. Bonus — this one is a free career quiz (with certain restrictions).
Don’t believe a five-minute assessment can be accurate? Then the Holland code is for you. With over 80 questions and an average of 20 minutes to complete, you’ll be asked all sorts of questions that you think aren’t even remotely relevant. But the Holland Code has been tested for accuracy against established interest scales. The whole assessment is set up to test your level of interest in various tasks, from repairing a dishwasher to designing a magazine cover. As a result, you’ll learn about your areas of interest as they relate to your career (or future career) and receive your score in the five major professional areas of interest, as well as a list of careers that you’re best suited for. If you’re still not sure, know that Holland Code’s methodology is the foundation for several other career assessments — clearly, they’re onto something!
Another 20-minute aptitude test, this is one of the most comprehensive out there. While similar to the Holland Code in some aspects, it asks you to rank three statements per question as either most preferred or least preferred. It certainly forces you to think more about your answers than some of the other tests, making it a bit less enjoyable to take. But hey, no one said self-exploration was supposed to be easy! Costs include a free assessment and then go up anywhere from $89-$149, depending on your career level.
This test is hosted on Truity.com, a website filled with various tests and assessments worth exploring. One of the most well-known is the TypeFinder, based on the 16 personality types formed by Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers. Once you find out your four-letter Myers-Brigg personality type, navigate to the personality types section to learn all about your type, as well as what careers are a good fit for you. While the TypeFinder test costs $29 on the Truity.com, there are various free adaptations to be found online, as well.
This test picks up where Holland Codes left off. Though Holland Codes may accurately test your interest levels in certain careers, Sokanu asserts that interest is just one aspect of compatibility. It assesses not only your interests but also who you are and want to be as a working professional. This aptitude test looks at work style preferences, personality and even salary expectations. By exploring more than 140 unique traits about you, Sokanu offers a full comprehensive evaluation that you can be sure to rely on when identifying your true career path.
Though BuzzFeed may not be the most credible authority on career assessment, their quizzes are pretty fun, and when you’re anguishing over what your next professional move should be, BuzzFeed’s “What Career Should You Actually Have?” quiz offers just the right amount of levity. I have to say, I was actually pleased with my answer. Maybe just letting go of our need for super-serious answers for a minute offers us a way to find what we need.
One thing to keep in mind as you start exploring is that there are no definitive answers, not to mention we don’t live in a vacuum. Our job satisfaction with our careers is dependent on so many variables. It’s also important to note that what makes us satisfied is not a constant, and so we may need different things from our careers at different points in our lives. Additionally, what makes you happy might not be the same thing that makes someone else satisfied, and that's okay! Just make sure you're pursuing careers that aren't necessarily the objective "best jobs in the world" (and really, does such a job exist?), but rather, the best job in the world for you. That may not be the highest-paying job necessarily — although, if that's what you want, go for it—but could be one that fulfills you on a personal level.
Whatever assessment you choose, remember these are all just guides to help us find our way to the answers that already live somewhere inside us all.
Michele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos.