Career counseling plays a crucial role in supporting individuals in their career development by providing guidance and assistance in various aspects of career planning and decision-making. Within the field of career counseling, the utilization of quantitative assessment tools has gained significant importance. These tools enable HR professionals to objectively assess and evaluate individuals’ skills, interests, personality traits, and values, providing valuable insights for effective career counseling interventions.
Career counseling for adults aims to guide individuals, including those without a profession and those who want to change their current profession, individuals who want to advance in their careers, those who are unemployed or retired but want to work, and those who want to return to the workforce, to be directed towards suitable jobs based on their personality and abilities and to be directed to the correct vocational courses during their vocational education planning phase.
As part of the process of career counseling for adults, quantitative assessment measures refer to measurement and analysis tools used to assess individuals’ personality traits, interests, values, and abilities. Integration of quantitative assessment tools in career counseling offers valuable opportunities for HR professionals to support individuals in making informed career decisions. By utilizing these tools, HR professionals can provide comprehensive and evidence-based career counseling services, ultimately empowering individuals to navigate their career paths successfully. Some commonly used quantitative methods in career counseling for adults include:
Aptitude Tests: These tests are used to measure individuals’ abilities in specific areas. These tests can help individuals determine the most suitable options in their career choices.
Personality tests: Personality traits can play a significant role in individuals’ career choices and performance in the workplace. Therefore, personality inventories are frequently used to measure individuals’ personality traits.
Values Inventories: These inventories are used to measure individuals’ values that are important for their career goals and job choices. These inventories can help individuals identify the most suitable options in their careers.
Vocational Interest Inventories: These tests are used to determine what types of interests’ individuals have in their career choices. These tests can help individuals identify the most suitable options in their careers.
You can easily find following tests and inventories by conducting a search using the names of the assessments or inventories on search engines like Google. Many of these assessments are available through official websites, educational institutions, or assessment providers.
Aptitude tests are measurement tools used to gather information about individuals’ cognitive, academic, and specific abilities. Since the concept of ability refers to the capacity for learning, ability tests are used to identify what individuals can excel in rather than focusing on their current situation.
The General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) was developed by the U.S. Employment Service in 1947. GATB covers verbal and performance tests. The test takes approximately 2 hours to complete and is administered to individuals aged 16 and above. It was later renamed as “Aptitude Profiles.” GATB measures 11 abilities through 9 subtests. GATB predicts three main factors: Cognitive Factor (general learning ability, verbal, and numerical ability), Perceptual Factor (spatial ability, form perception, and clerical perception), and Psychomotor Factor (manual dexterity and motor coordination).
The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, developed in 1966, is a widely used paper-and-pencil test. It is used for 11th-grade students and above and adults. It takes 3 hours to complete and consists of 10 subtests: Basic Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Numerical Operations, Coding Speed, Automotive and Shop Information, Mathematics Knowledge, Mechanical Comprehension, and Electronics Information.
The Different Aptitude Test is a battery consisting of eight subtests used for educational and career planning for students in grades 7-12 and adults. The subtests include verbal reasoning, abstract thinking, mechanical reasoning, numerical reasoning, language usage, perceptual speed, spatial relations, and attention tests. The test duration is 235 minutes, and the web-based version is 90 minutes.
Measuring personality plays an important role in career counseling due to its ability to reveal clients’ characteristics, attitudes, and motivations. Many career’ theories state that personality development is one of the fundamental elements of career development. Personality tests have been developed to measure individuals’ levels of compatibility with their personal and social qualities, demonstrating a behavioral scale feature. Although these tests were initially used in the field of psychology, they are increasingly being utilized in the field of career counseling as well. Personality tests can be employed in various areas, such as determining a person’s vocational suitability, making job choices, enhancing job performance, setting career goals, and improving workplace compatibility.
In the field of career counseling, some of the most used personality tests to understand individuals’ characteristics are:
Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor (16 PF) Inventory is used to measure the fundamental traits in a person’s structure. It is a paper-and-pencil test applicable to adult groups of all ages and educational levels. It consists of 16 sub-dimensions and 5 global factors.
Hacettepe Personality Inventory, developed by Prof. Dr. İbrahim Ethem Özgüven, is used to measure personal, social, and general levels of compatibility and to identify problems related to personality. It is a paper-and-pencil test applied to adult groups.
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) – Group Form is a personality test used for psychiatric diagnosis. It is administered to individuals aged 16 and above. It consists of 10 primary sub-tests and 3 validity sub-tests.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is another important tool used for personality assessment. It is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types and aims to determine individuals’ personality types that differ in four main dimensions. It includes the dimensions of Extraversion (E) / Introversion (I), Sensing (S) / Intuition (N), Thinking (T) / Feeling (F), and Judging (J) / Perceiving (P). These four dimensions are combined to determine 16 different personality types.
Values refer to the aims to be achieved, supported ideals, and desired behavioral patterns rather than the expression of thoughts and emotions.
The Work Values Inventory (WVI) by Super is the most well-known scale for measuring occupational values. This scale was developed by Super and colleagues in 1957. The scale measures 12 occupational values with six items each. Values such as achievement, security, prestige, altruism, autonomy, creativity, change, economic return, and lifestyle are assessed by the scale.
The Values Scale (VS) was developed by Super and Nevill in 1986. The scale consists of 105 items based on 21 occupational values and is responded to using a 4-point rating scale. This scale provides the individual’s hierarchy of values, and the results are compared with norms obtained from high school students, university students, and adults.
The Minnesota Importance Questionnaire (MIQ) was developed in 1981 to measure occupational values and needs. This scale measures six occupational values and 21 job-related needs organized around these values. MIQ can be applied to individuals aged 16 and above, and individual scores can be compared with scores of individuals in 185 occupations.
The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) was developed by Weiss, Davis, England, and Lofquist to measure the occupational values and needs, which are an important aspect of job satisfaction. This questionnaire has short and long forms, and three types of scores are obtained: intrinsic satisfaction, extrinsic satisfaction, and general satisfaction.
The Edwards Personal Preference Schedule (EPPS) is an inventory developed by Ailen Edwards. This inventory measures the relative importance of an individual’s psychological needs. Psychological needs such as achievement, affiliation, order, exhibition, autonomy, understanding emotions, intimacy, recognition, dominance, self-blame, showing compassion, change, perseverance, opposite-sex relationships, and aggression are evaluated using this scale. EPPS assists in selecting a profession that is suitable for the individual.
Interest inventories can be defined as a set of tests widely used in areas such as interests and career guidance, aiming to systematically identify an individual’s special abilities, areas of interest, etc. Occupational interests are often in the form of fantasies during childhood. In the late stages of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood, the development of realistic stages in occupational interests occurs. There are limitations when using interest inventories in adults because it is assumed that with the enrichment of experiences from a certain age, interests will be better recognized.
Interest inventories are a collection of tests that aim to systematically identify an individual’s special abilities and areas of interest. They are widely used in areas such as career guidance and career planning. Occupational interests typically begin as fantasies during childhood and transition to the realistic stage in the late stages of adolescence. There are limitations when using interest inventories in adults because it is assumed that with the enrichment of experiences from a certain age, interests will be better recognized.
The most commonly used interest inventories for determining individuals’ career preferences and career orientations are as follows:
The Strong Interest Inventory, developed by E.K. Strong, measures individual interests in six areas (occupations, subjective areas, activities, leisure activities, people, personal characteristics) with 291 items based on Holland’s Personality Types Model. It is suitable for high school students, college students, and adults.
The Kuder Career Interests Assessment and Occupational Preference Survey was developed in 1939 by American psychologist Frederic Kuder and is designed for high school and college students, as well as adults making career changes or reentering the workforce. The inventory consists of 168 groups and 504 statements related to activities. There are 10 subtests, each determining a separate area of interest. These interest areas are Outdoor, Science, Calculation, Mechanical, Persuasive, Literary, Fine Arts, Music, Social Service, and Office Work. Profiles for various occupations have been developed within these ten areas.
The Thurstone Interest Schedule, developed by L.L. Thurstone, assesses ten interest areas related to jobs and occupations. These interest areas are Arithmetic, Biological Sciences, Language, Physical Sciences, Accounting, Management, Persuasive Work, Music, Commerce, and Help Services. The inventory consists of 100 items.
The Self-Directed Search (SDS) developed by Holland in 1971 consists of six sections. The current form of SDS includes two main packages: assessment and career explorer, and it was revised in 1994. A triple personality coding is created for the individual based on Holland’s Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C) personality types, and suitable occupations are suggested among the 1309 listed occupations. In the Assessment package of SDS, there are 228 questions in four basic dimensions, such as activities liked and disliked by the individual, feelings regarding their competencies, interests or disinterests in certain occupations, and self-reports in 14 different areas such as mechanical, technical, sales, office work, and management. Each area contains questions aimed at determining the six personality types.
The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey: It is developed for adults. In this inventory, 124 occupations are evaluated, and scores are assigned to each occupation to determine the occupation that interests the individual the most.
The ONET Interest Profiler is a career assessment tool found in the online occupational information database called ONET, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is used to determine the interests and skills of job seekers or individuals looking to change careers. The inventory uses a 60-item questionnaire to determine which occupations a person is interested in. These questions include activities and tasks related to occupations. The survey results are divided into six main categories that reflect participants’ interests and skills: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional.