Career assessments come in many forms and vary along several dimensions. The assessments selected by individuals or administrators vary depending on their personal beliefs regarding the most important criteria when considering career choices, as well as the unique needs of the individual considering a career decision. Some common points of variance are:
Methodology - some assessments are quantitative in nature and precisely measure key attributes believed to influence an individuals potential success and satisfaction with a career. Others are qualitative exercises designed to help individuals clarify their goals and preferences, which can then be used to make more informed career decisions.
Measured attributes - assessments vary with regard to the specific personality attributes measured. Some assessments focus on an individual's interests, and perhaps aptitude, while others focus on skills or values. More robust assessments use key development indicators (KDIs) that define measurements for specific types of careers and match individual career aspirations with the needs of companies.
Validity - many assessments, particularly those offered on the internet, lack evidence for "validity," which is the degree to which interpretation of the results of the assessment or decisions made from the results are useful. Typical evidence of validity is verified empirically. Users should evaluate any tests psychometric properties when assessing whether to use it for a particular purpose, and how much weight to give to the results.
When the validity of the assessment for its intended purpose cannot be evaluated, results should be interpreted with appropriate caution.
Target customer profile - some assessments, such as the Strong Interest Inventory, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Careerscope and Traitify are designed to serve broad markets (i.e., virtually any individual choosing a vocational program or Career Clusters, starting their career or considering a career change. Although they may lack well-established reliability (replicability) and validity (usefulness), they can, nevertheless,
be useful in helping the individual to identify their career goals. While these tests or assessment tools can be useful, the American Psychological Association's ethics code indicates that psychologists using those tests clearly explain the limitations of the tests to their clients.
Career assessment interview - a career assessment interview with a trained career counselor or a psychologist who is trained in career counseling can be crucial in helping to integrate tests results into the broader context of the individual's passions, personality, culture and goals. For those interested in this sort of more comprehensive help with their career search a good starting point can be to contact the National Career Development
Association (NCDA). Within the United States, this national body awards the designation, "Master Career Counselor" (MCC) to specially qualified career counselors