Personality Testing for Career Assessment

Published: Jul 11, 2006

By Ian Morrison

If you could have any job, what would that job be? What sort of factors would you look for? Would you want to be paid a lot of money? Would you want to be able to come and go as you please? Would you be the boss?

In order to choose a career path that will give one the utmost satisfaction for the rest of their working life, employees in the life sciences, as in all industries, should engage in self-assessment.

Research conducted by psychologist John Holland suggests that all personalities, as well as all occupations, can be categorized according to several personality characteristics. According to Holland, it is critical that people find occupations that "match" their personality type. Although often used as a human resources selection tool, personality tests are a useful aid in self-exploration. And personality is not static. Over time, people's personalities are subject to change and any test that measures personality is typically just a snapshot of that particular moment.

Choosing a Personality Test

There are many personality tests that are useful for career assessment. These tests can be found at career banks/centers, on websites, and at colleges/universities. As you consider which test to use, keep in mind the concept of validity. Often there is no easy way to verify the validity of online tests. As well, a certified administrator is often required for the personality test's results to be accurately interpreted. Therefore, in considering a personality test, be sure to use a reputable test that comes from a reliable source.

One of the more common and reliable personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, which ranks a person based on their responses to a series of questions. The questions are organized into four categories, each made up of two opposing traits (Extroversion or Introversion, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, and Judging or Perceiving). During the test, the person chooses – from pairs of opposing words or short statements – which statement is most like them (or both or neither, if applicable). People tend to like this test because it is fast, comprehensible, and, according to most, accurate.

Aside from your personality, your choice in career should also be influenced by your interests, values, skills, and talents. The old adage, "find something that you would do for free and find a way to get paid to do it" is really true.

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