Career Aptitude Tests for Adults

Four different types of aptitude tests, based on personality, instincts, motivations and skills, are the most commonly used.
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Individuals starting a career, changing careers or re-evaluating their workplace skills could benefit from career aptitude tests. Such examinations evaluate a person's aptitude for various lines of work. The styles and approaches of these tests are many and varied. Four different types of aptitude tests, based on personality, instincts, motivations and skills, are the most commonly used by employers and employees alike.

1 Personality Tests

Personality tests assess a person's personality along different axes, and career counselors can use the results to suggest careers that best suit a particular personality. One of the most common personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is based on the psychological theory of Carl Jung. Also known as MBTI, the test assesses personality along four axes: extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. Another exam, the Five Factor Model, is similar, but assesses personality based on five instead of four metrics.

2 Instinct Examinations

Some career aptitude tests examine how a person instinctively reacts in certain situations, as a way of seeing if a person's gut reactions suit certain careers. The Kolbe A Index, for example, assesses a person's instincts on four metrics: fact finder, follow through, quick start and implementer. These assess how a person gathers information, arranges and designs, deals with uncertainty and handles space and tangibles. Additional assessments beyond the Kolbe A Index can use the test's results to see which careers best suit a person's instinctual way of solving problems and initiating action.

3 Motivation and Potential

Other career aptitude tests assess why a person wants to perform the work she does, and what motivates her to perform well on the job. The Motivational Appraisal Test, for example, gives information on whether a person needs recognition to thrive, or whether they will continue to perform well even if they work in the background. Other exams, like the Opra Group's Genos Employee Motivation Assessment, assess what motivates employees to work well in certain situations: on a team, as a leader or as an organizer. These types of career tests help employees assess what types of jobs would be most rewarding, but they also help employers understand how to best motivate their workers.

4 Skills Aptitude

Some career tests are more specifically targeted at the direct skills required at a job. These exams sometimes resemble IQ or SAT exams, and require test takers to answer word problems and riddles. These exams aim to reveal how well a person can conduct spatial reasoning, how well they can reason through logical arguments or the strength of their quantitative skills. Unlike other types of aptitude tests, a test taker can practice for these exams through practice tests and questions.

Kevin Wandrei has written extensively on higher education. His work has been published with Kaplan,, and Shmoop, Inc., among others. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University.