How To Choose a Career Aptitude Test or Personality Test

by Peter Axtell

The right career aptitude test can provide important insight for planning a midlife career change

Career aptitude tests, personality tests, and career interest inventories literally litter the career planning landscape.  And while there is no question that the right career aptitude test or self assessment can provide a useful framework for thinking about a career choice or midlife career transition, with over 2,500 different career tests available, it can be daunting to figure out which one is likely to be best for you.

With this in mind, has made available a free, downloadable guide designed to help people select a career aptitude test that is best suited to their needs -- whether it be selecting their first career, making a midlife career change, or transitioning to a happy and productive retirement.  Know Yourself: How to Find Wisdom and Insight from a Career Aptitude or Personality Test is a short, easy to digest monograph that provides an overview of some of the most highly regarded tests available on the market.

As the guide makes clear, not all career aptitude tests and personality tests get good grades.  You can find many online quizzes on the internet that are little more than games.  They may be fun and free but you will gain about as much insight from them as reading your horoscope.  Quality tests are almost never free, and some of the more exhaustive ones can cost hefty sums.  And while some career aptitude tests are self-directed, meaning you can take them and interpret them on your own, many require that you work with a qualified professional. 

As a rule, the best career assessment test options are backed by scientific research showing that they are reliable and valid -- meaning that they actually predict what they are intended to predict.  In general, you can find data about the validity of a career aptitude test on its website or in its test manual.  If the test providers don't offer such information, you may want to look for another test -- especially if the one you are considering is expensive to take.

Know Yourself identifies a list of roughly a dozen excellent career aptitude test options that are likely to fit the needs of most individuals.  The monograph goes into particular depth in its discussion of  two particularly well known and trusted tests -- the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) -- which is primarily a personality test, and the Strong Interest Invtentory (SII) -- which assesses your work interests and suggests compatible careers.  The two tests are often packaged together because they are highly complementary and provide feedback on different dimensions of an individual's career needs and work personality.  When taken together they can provide extremely useful insight for those looking to find more satisfying and fulfilling ways to live and work   One reliable resource for taking these tests is a website called, where the two tests in combination can be purchased for $99 -- including a one hour session to interpret the results with a trained professional.

In addition to Myers Briggs and the Strong Interest Inventory, the Know Yourself monograph provides summaries of other career aptitude tests, along with links to websites where those tests can be accessed.  Here is a list of the career aptitude tests covered.  (Click on any one to access more information):

In its final section, Know Yourself provides some useful tips for how to take a career aptitude test in order to get the most reliable results, as well has what to do with the findings once you have them in hand.

You can download a free copy of this guide by clicking here: Know Yourself: Finding Insight and Wisdom from a Career Aptitude or Personality Test.

by Peter Axtell | Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Self-Assessment, Create the Life You Want

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