As I’m sure you’re aware, the pandemic has prompted many people to reassess their careers. Such pondering is no longer reserved for the New Year.
However, regardless of how determined an individual might be, change is never easy.
We live in a world where people have become accustomed to instant gratification, whether it’s streaming a favourite show or finding solutions on a search engine. So if there’s a speedy tool that can make career transitions a little smoother, those with a desire to make a change will be all over it.
Enter, the psychometric test.
Psychometric tests can be very divisive. In my role as a Career Coach some potential clients tell me that they detest them whilst others say they love any tool that can give them an insight into their preferences and style.
But do these tests really work?
Before I attempt to answer this question, it’s important to understand what a psychometric test actually is and how it differs from career aptitude tests. This is because your perception of what these tests reveal will impact your ultimate level of satisfaction.
According to JobTestPrep, a psychometric test is an all encompassing term which refers to any activity or assessment that is conducted in order to evaluate a candidate's performance and includes, but is not limited to, attributes such as skills, knowledge, abilities, personality traits, attitudes and job/academic potential. Psychometric tests are not limited to helping people identify a suitable career path. They are commonly used to help recruiters identify the most suitable candidates for a role. There are also many different types of psychometric tests. A career aptitude test is one such type.
A career aptitude test is used to help individuals understand how a variety of the above personal attributes impact their potential success and satisfaction with different career options and work environments.
Based on these definitions, it is clear that career aptitude tests should not be seen as tests that will tell an individual what they should do with their career. In fact, I’ve never come across anyone who has chosen their career solely based on career aptitude test results. It is also worth noting that they are not actually tests but assessments of an individual's attributes. As I always say to clients, the assessment assumes you are brilliant. The report will simply tell you how. Career aptitude tests can therefore serve as a confidence booster too.
Used in isolation, a career aptitude test will not provide everything that you need to help you choose a suitable career path. There are many factors that need to be considered, including your limiting beliefs and your personal circumstances. For example, a suitable role may not be local to you or you may have young children to consider.
In addition, all career aptitude tests are limited because they aren't able to match your attributes to every job that exists, not to mention the jobs of the future that haven’t been created yet.
Therefore, when reading a report an individual will often start off sentences with ‘yeah, but…..’, especially if they jump straight to the career suggestions without looking at their attributes.
This is why it’s wise to discuss a test report with an expert/Career Coach after completion as it’s important to have someone who can help you make sense of it. A good Career Coach will also ask you challenging follow up questions that will help you to make good, wise decisions about your next steps without telling you what to do.
Of course, some psychometric tests are more comprehensive than others, therefore it’s important to research the various types thoroughly. Reading user testimonials is a great starting point.
So to conclude, career aptitude tests can help you to identify your best attributes, boost your confidence and give you some ideas about the direction your career could go in terms of qualifications and careers. However, they won’t tell you the whole picture and therefore reports should always be discussed with an expert afterwards.