What Is a Career Exploration Test?
Updated 5 November 2020
What Is a Career Exploration Test?
Career exploration tests help people find a career path that suits their strengths, personality and interests. They are a useful tool for students, graduates and individuals seeking a career change.
The tests explore your preferences and motivations when it comes to a job, and some also assess your aptitude and skills.
Based on your answers to quick and relatively basic questions, a career exploration test judges how successful and satisfied you are likely to be in a range of careers.
Some career tests are more general and recommend sectors – such as engineering, finance, arts or law – whilst others make more specific recommendations and match you to certain roles.
A basic results profile is usually available for free, with more detailed ones available through a paid channel.
Why Might You Want to Take a Career Exploration Test?
If you are feeling unsure about your future direction, taking a career exploration test can help to focus your mind on what you want from your career.
The many career options available can seem overwhelming, so taking a career test can help to rationalize your thought process. It may also enlighten you to potential career options you may not have considered.
Career exploration tests aim to get you thinking openly about options that will suit your personality and strengths. They provide targeted advice based on the type of job role and working environment you are most likely to thrive within.
They work on the premise that understanding yourself will provide critical insight into how to choose or change your career.
If you are having doubts as to your suitability for a certain job role or are questioning where your strengths or abilities lie, a career exploration test may be a reassuring boost to reaffirm your confidence in a chosen path.
Obviously, the results of a career exploration test are not definitive, but they can be a helpful guide.
You can use the results of a career exploration test as a base for further research, to see if any of the recommendations are worth seriously considering.
If you see a path that interests you, it may be that you can get a feel for what a career in the sector would be like through an online course, shadowing opportunity or internship.
The insights these tests provide may also help you to reflect on and strengthen how you work in your current job role.
What are Career Exploration Tests Like?
Taking a career exploration test is an explorative, self-reflective process, not a stressful one.
The tests are not timed and can be completed at your own pace, but it is recommended that you complete a test in one sitting.
You will likely be asked a wide range of questions about which skills you prefer to use at work, which workplace tasks you find most appealing and what kind of environment you like to be in.
Most tests are multiple-choice questions in which you rate statements according to their accuracy in relation to you.
The test experience and presentation of results will differ depending on the type of test you chose to take, as there are various types available online.
The most common types are:
Personality tests – These explore the makeup of your personality by asking questions to isolate and rate specific temperament traits. The personality insight they provide is more detailed than that of a career aptitude test alone, and they are a useful step in career planning.
Career aptitude tests – Career aptitude tests directly match jobs and career options to your personality type, aiming to guide you towards roles in which you will excel. They often ask questions around several different metrics, such as your history, motivations, goals, preferences and values.
Intelligence tests – These measure your intellect or IQ, which can be used to indicate potential careers for consideration. Whilst some intelligence tests touch on emotional intelligence and personality, taking an intelligence approach alone may be limiting. After all, finding the perfect career is about far more than your intellectual ability to complete the job at hand.
Behavioral tests – Behavioral tests explore your emotional reactions by assessing your hypothetical reactions to different life or work challenges. They go a step beyond theoretical personality tests by looking at how your personality actively shapes your behavior and interactions with others.
Specific examples of these different test types are explored in the What Are the Best Career Exploration Tests on the Market? section below.
How Are Results Provided?
How the results of your test are provided will vary slightly depending on the format of the test taken and the provider used.
Usually, however, your results will be available online once you have submitted the assessment. Most test providers require you to sign up for an online account and your results will be available to access via their portal.
Some personality tests, such as Myers Briggs, require extra research to be undertaken to fully understand the implications of your personality type in relation to your every day and professional life.
Other tests will use the data you provide to bring up a list of professions that best match your preferences, personality or motivations.
Whilst these lists are a useful starting point, they are not exhaustive, and you will have to conduct further research around the recommendations to make the most of the test results.
What Are the Best Career Exploration Tests on the Market?
The wide range of career exploration tests available can make even choosing a test confusing.
Below is our list of some of the best tests to take:
Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator
These are based on whether you fit the categories of:
- Extroversion (E) or Introversion (I)
- Sense (S) or Intuition (N)
- Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
- Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)
The test can be taken online for $49.95 and the personality data provided is scientifically validated. Additional support to help you understand your best-fit personality type and its implications and insights is also available.
123 Career Test
It characterizes personality using the Holland Codes.
There are six personality types in the Holland model:
The test is free and takes five to ten minutes to complete. It uses images to ask questions about specific work activities, so is light-hearted and engaging.
The results consist of percentage interest-level scores for different sectors – business, engineering, technology, multimedia, public service, legal, education, communications, social science, science, healthcare, finance, the arts, culinary and trade vocations.
Further information about careers in each sector is provided, including basic information about the education required and career outlook. There is specific information for school students under each heading.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
The Keirsey Temperament Assessment sorts people into four temperaments:
The test aims to provide insight into how your personality and temperament relate to your professional life.
Keirsey Temperament Theory and the associated assessment products have been developed over seven decades of research into human behavior.
The test takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
You are required to answer the questions by selecting the options which come the most naturally to you. This enables the test to capture the most accurate picture of you and provide useful tailored recommendations.
My Plan Career Assessments aim to assist in exploring your underlying work preferences and motivations. There are four assessments available:
- A Personality Test
- An Interest Inventory Test
- A Career Skills Profiler
- A Career Values Assessment
It is recommended that all four tests are taken, and a complete test package is available for $19.95.
As an example of what to expect, the Values Test has twenty questions and takes approximately 12 minutes to complete. It asks you to rank different aspects of work to reveal your underlying work values.
These correspond to six work value clusters, and you will receive a score for each one.
From this, a ranked list of over 700 occupations is provided. This extensive ranked list is the selling point for the My Plan assessment, as it provides an excellent base for further research.
The Career Explorer Career Test takes twenty minutes to complete and matches your input on interests, goals and personality traits to potential career choices.
The test measures 140 traits and uses these to make recommendations from a list of over 800 careers.
The test prides itself on being more comprehensive than others on the market, going beyond generic suggestions by building your unique psychometric model.
The test measures career fit using four metrics:
- History and Goals
You can take the Career Explorer test for free and receive your top matches, or pay for the premium version which will reveal your match level with all 800 plus careers and give additional reports on your strengths and weaknesses.
The paid version is part of a membership model for career development priced at $4 a month.
Career Fitter Career Test: Work Personality Analysis
The Career Fitter Test uses its 60 questions to ascertain which type of work environment you are likely to find most fulfilling.
The test is free, and you can take it as many times as you like.
You will receive a free career test report and for a more comprehensive insight, there is the option to view your premium career report which provides access to additional career research, videos and a search function to explore who is hiring in your location.
Career Fitter has been offering career tests for over 20 years, and its paid product comes with a satisfaction guarantee. The questions must be answered as honestly as possible, though, as a career test can only be as accurate as the personal information inputted.
The MAPP Career Assessment
The Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential was launched in 1995 and aims to help you uncover your calling by matching your career motivations to an extensive database. More than eight million people have taken the test to help guide their careers.
There is a free online test that aligns your career motivations with your top 10 vocational areas. Following this, it is recommended to take the full MAPP test, which will match your answers to over 1,000 possible careers.
The free test takes only 22 minutes to complete, and results are immediate. The assessment has been tested for validity and reliability by psychologists and results are correlated to the Myers Briggs Strong Interest Inventory.
The test is quick and fun to take and provides an extensive tailored base from which to conduct further career research.
Truity: The Big Five Personality Test
The Truity Big Five Personality Test uses your answers to score you against the ‘Big Five’ personality traits. These five dimensions are:
The questions require you to rate each statement according to how accurate it is in relation to you. There are 60 questions, but they are very quick and easy to complete.
It is best not to think about the answers too much, but to select the option which matches your natural response.
You will receive a brief report of your test findings for free, with a more extensive report available for a fee.
This report will provide a percentage score relating to each personality trait, along with an explanation of related qualities and what these might mean for you.
Data is also represented as a series of circumplex graphs exploring your personality patterns. These reveal your core personality pattern, but also more specific patterns relating to interpersonal relationships, social interactions, communication, emotions, motivations, productivity, rewards and esteem.
The comprehensive personality data provided can be usefully applied to determine the kind of career and workplace which will suit you best. There is a section on what the implications of your results are for your work life at the end of the report.
Career exploration tests can be extremely worthwhile in providing insights into careers that will provide optimal opportunities to engage and express your unique personality and strengths.
They should, however, be treated with discretion as not all career assessments available online have professional or scientific validity.
The results are formed from the information you provide, so the recommendations will only be accurate if you are truly reflective and honest when answering the questions.
Despite their subjective nature, career exploration tests can provide quick and handy insights to help with anything from CV writing to full-scale career planning.
Even if a career exploration test does not enlighten you to a new career path, simply understanding how you think and how you prefer to work will help you to effectively outline and showcase what you have to offer to potential employers.
With free options widely available, quick and fun career exploration tests are a great starting point for career research.