Career Assessment Tests Benefit Both Sides of the Employment Equation

by Stephanie Mayo on May 21, 2009

Personality research is not just for those seeking the ideal romantic partner or those trying to resolve emotional difficulties.  Although it can be tremendously helpful in these areas, an area in which it really has taken off is in matching employers and employees. Career assessment tests are valuable for both sides of the equation.  Today there are tests that have been empirically tested for so many different situations.  These tools can facilitate the decision making process for employers who are swamped with resumes and help a candidate who is ideally suited for a job to stand out.  Proper use of career aptitude tests is a win/win for both employers and job seekers. There are many different types of personality tests.  Some are criterion based (e.g. the characteristics that people who are successful in a given category have) and others work off the five factor premise (characteristics that all people share but which come in varying degrees in each person). The Myers-Briggs test with which many people are familiar is a theory based test.  It is an adaptation of the theories of Carl Jung.   The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory is a criterion based test that is used with both normal and abnormal psychological populations.  Five factor tests such as Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) and the DISC assessment by Inscape Publishing are just for normal populations and are the ones most commonly used as career assessment tests. The DISC Assessment and the 16PF are particularly interesting tests.  They can be taken on line (although you need to do it through someone who is certified to administer the test) and actuarial interpretations are rendered.  It is fascinating to find out the results. The tests are not difficult and there is no right or wrong answer.  They simply ask test takers their preferences from a group of forced choices (in the case of the DISC assessment) or from a bipolar scale (2 opposite choices and one neutral in the 16PF).  They are entertaining to take.  There is no pressure on the test taker.  But there are some scales that will determine if the test taker is “faking” (e.g. those “trying” to be a fit for a job).  The best thing to do is to encourage testers to just be themselves. Test results will show both the tester and potential employee whether any given job is a perfect fit or if it is only something that the job applicant can do (but would prefer some other type of work).  This is the crucial ingredient for being happy on the job.  It is also a key to keeping employee turnover low. What types of things do these tests reveal?  The DISC assessment excels in identifying characteristics based on four factors: Demand, Influencing, Security, and Conforming. It can tell you whether someone has the characteristics to be a stellar salesperson or would be more suited to work behind a desk crunching the numbers.  It will also tell you the best way to manage the people on your team because you will learn what their communication style is (and your own too) and what it takes to communicate effectively with them.  This will have an extraordinary effect on your business. The 16 PF is based on five global traits and 16 individual personality factors.  It is an incredible test that has been used for more than fifty years (with revised editions) and has been tested extensively.  It too can be taken online with an actuarial interpretation.  The categories include such items as extraversion/introversion, concrete thinker/abstract thinker, dominance/compliant, openness to change/resistant to change, rule consciousness, self-reliance, perfectionism and so forth.  Computerized analysis is extremely helpful because the 16 personality factors will influence the others (depending on the degree to which they exist).  The tests will also match up the occupations for which the test takers are most suited. Thus the test is ideal for employers who are wading through resumes and who want to make the best decision between viable candidates.  The test is also ideal for people who are interested in starting a new career but are uncertain about where they should start.  Career assessment tests are well worth the fee to use them because they will ultimately save money.  Unhappy employees who are not suited for their jobs will find other jobs as soon as possible.  In tough economic times they will stick it out but underperform or add negativity to the work environment.  Those who are considering a career change will save money by making the right decision about which educational option should be pursued for example. There are many, many other tests that are available.  It is important to make sure that the tests used have been empirically tested and have high reliabilities and validities.  Reputable test providers will be able to provide the statistics that substantiate any claims made.  They will also be able to help select the right test for the purpose that you have in mind.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Business May 23, 2009 at 4:51 am

These tests can also be used for potential entrepreneurs – giving insight into your ability to successfully start, grow and succeed in business.

Lori May 24, 2009 at 9:25 am

Yes, there are so many great uses for these tests. Other uses for example are: identifying personalities and how they influence health beliefs. What personality obstacles will interfere with sticking to a regiment (e.g. cardiac recovery, obesity, fibromyagia)

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