Personal Career Focused Assessments (PCFA) are used to support counselors to help uncover interests, abilities, skills, motivations, values, and other personal factors to help clients define and construct their careers (Harrington and Long, 2013). These tests attempt to help the client find what careers would be most satisfying and where they may become the most successful. I took three tests to discover if I am currently on the right path for success as I move into private practice. I took the Holland Code Career Test, Big Five Personality Test, and the Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential Career Assessment (MAPP). This paper will describe these tests, and what I discovered about myself. It will also critique each on accuracy and usefulness for me as well as for my future clients.
Assessments are a method of identifying relevant career planning and decision making through assessment tools. Harrington and Long point out that “the development of assessments, tools, and interventions allows us to understand motivations, trends, environmental/social/political factors that have affected how we historically and currently serve clients” (2013, p 83). The counselor must be knowledgeable about assessments to ensure that clients remain the top priority with the changes in workplace and economic environment. Furthermore, counselors will serve diverse client populations. The counselor can obtain more information from the National Career Development Association (NCDA).
It is important to consider the evaluative criterion for career instruments (Englert and Plimmer, 2017). It is important when evaluating assessment tools to make sure they assessments qualify as psychometrically sound, check for statistical strength, culturally appropriate, and a “qualitative approach that relies on meaning making, reflection and reflexivity to deal with complexity of career problems” (Englert & Plimmer, 2017, p. 21). With the increasing changes in jobs, looking at a good in-depth design that encompasses job positions that have multiple tasks, or varying client needs.
The NCDA states that career assessments often entail self-assessment tools to assist clients as they gain insight and move forward in their career (2015, p 1). This can be challenging as assessments focus on personality type skills, values and strengths. This begins by helping with alignment of the steps through visual representations. Interest areas can align the client with the required functions of a job description. Then looking at values the client identifies as important to align with an organization’s values. Finally, looking at personality traits to identify overall fit of working within the chosen organization. It would be beneficial to have the client visit the site. Knowing this information will be beneficial in understanding the outcomes of my assessments and how they may be valuable to me and future clients.
Holland Code Career Test
With the Holland Code Career Test (HCCT) there are six interest areas Building, Thinking, Creating, Helping, Persuading, and Organizing (Neukrug, Sparkman, and Moe, 2017). These personality types are based on the way Holland theorized that individuals relate to the world of work. This test was used to determine interests. John Holland’s theory of occupational choice states that individuals express their personality through their career choices. This means that jobs that best fit the personality of the individual will find satisfaction in their job. This test asked for demographic information. Following the demographic information, 60 self-administered questions were asked. It took about 15 minutes to complete this assessment. This test has a reliability score of .82. This will help me to decide what organizations align with my interests through an understanding of my passions and what engages me.
My outcomes were 99 percent Building, 72 percent Thinking, 98 percent Creating, 100 percent Helping, 89 percent Persuading, and 18 percent Organizing. This is interesting because I thought I was an organized person. However, with this assessment, Organization refers to managing data, information, and processes. Organizers like to work in structured environments to complete tasks with precision and accuracy. I do not like to work in this kind of environment. Although, I came to realize that I am not specifically organized as much as a “shifter.” This is an area that needs some improvement. This is insightful and is helpful for me and for my future clients as they begin the workforce or are in transition.
Big Five Personality Test
Psych Tests AIM, I. identifies this assessment as designed to measure five main personality traits for personal and professional development (2011). The purpose of this test is to evaluate specific personality characteristics and skill sets. The traits are Extroversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Intellect/Imagination. It is a self-administered on-line test and has 50 questions on a Likert scale (1=disagree, 3= neutral and 5=Agree). It takes about 3-8 minutes to complete. Demographics were collected at the beginning of the assessment. The author’s identify unlimited personality variables with five prominent ones when asked questions about extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experiences. The age population is 17 years of age through adult. This test can be used for educational, informational and entertainment purposes. The authors identify it is not for psychological or psychiatric advice with no guarantee of accuracy or fitness for a particular purpose.
This assessment was taken for research and understanding. My scores showed Extroversion at 67 percent, Emotional Stability 95 percent, Agreeableness 62 percent, Conscientiousness 62 percent, and Intellect/Imagination at 76 percent. This is interesting because I scored high in Emotional Stability and low in Conscientiousness. It initially sounded incongruent but looking at both factors it became clear that Conscientiousness was in relation to careful diligence. I can be impulsive and disorganized at times especially when I am overwhelmed of which seems to be quite often lately. Whereas Extroversion has to deal with being outgoing and social. This assessment is helpful for understanding personality. Personality has multidimensions and that is what makes each individual unique. It is fun and for future clients it may be a homework assignment that would not be extremely relevant to therapy.
Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential Career Assessment MAPP
The Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential Career Assessment (MAPP) is intended to measure an individual’s potential and motivation for a given area of work. It entails three major areas of concentration: Job Profiling, Job matching and Teamwork Capabilities. It is a 71 self-administered assessment scored on a Likert scale. It can take 20-25 minutes to complete.
After taking the MAPP through Assessments.com, I discovered several tasks that are identified with some truth although not necessary for the purpose of the test. These tasks were not motivational: Math is like a foreign language to me, I can compose, arrange, improvise music. The math statement has some relevance. although I love music, I have no idea how to read music so, to compose, arrange and improvise music would be extremely difficult for me. The statement that I “prefer to be an executive rather than a manager and more inclined to be a manager rather than a supervisor” is long-winded. I believe that what was being interpreted is the desire to have a private practice and be an entrepreneur.
This was not a complete report, it was a sample which left much lack with assessments that are only partial sentences and level one value ratings are missing. The level two areas showed areas of consideration in the past such as animal trainer, creative writer, or business training. I wanted to like this test. However, the concept of breaking down the Worker Traits in order of priority is appealing with each section thereafter inter-relating to identify themes. A full report would be useful. If a future client was having extreme difficulty in identifying who they are and what career they wish to pursue, this may be an appropriate assessment.
All three of these assessments pulled out most of the basic information necessary for helping to identify the target areas. It seems to be a prepackaged form that represents one’s career choice. The assessments should assist the client to find career areas that would be most satisfying and where they may become the most successful. These trust on internal reliability to predict future outcomes. It would be beneficial for the client to understand what the client’s internal awareness would be just as informative as determining career choice from an assessment. The tests appear to focus on standardized responses to conform or establish norms that are beneficial to organizations rather than individuals. The Five Point Personality Test is not an assessment that is recommended for an official assessment but is a test that appears to show some core personality points. In the big picture what a counselor may pick for an assessment tool should be reviewed and researched for appropriateness to what is being assessed. What is taken from the assessments should be considered for the good of the client and relevant to the client. A consideration with regards to culture, lifestyle, and demographics should be considered. Assessments can be the beginning of a relationship between counselor and client as it does not take into consideration aspects such as goals, and job search strategies.