Searching for an Interest Inventory online brings you to a plethora of options. Here at Career Assessment Site we recommend the Strong Interest Inventory® test based on its long history and credibility, but beyond this point there are questions you should ask yourself when looking for a career assessment test. A proper Interest Inventory should help you answer questions like:
- Who Am I?
- Why Do I Want To Work?
- What Am I Interested In Doing?
- Where Do I Want To Work?
These are all critical questions that when properly answered can either validate that your current career direction is right for you, or provide you with counter evidence of alternative career directions that you may want to explore.
Who Am I?
The first question an Interest Inventory should answer is, “Who am I?” In the context of career activity, we are what we do, and optimally, we do what we like. An effective Interest Inventory such as the Strong Interest Inventory test measures which career fields and activities we like, and which activities we dislike. This information helps paint a picture of who we are from a career perspective.
Why Do I Want To Work?
The data that this Interest Inventory gathers should also help answer the question, “Why do I want to work?” This question goes deeper then “to make money” or “provide for my family”, and can provide clarity about what motivators drive people toward specific career fields. In the case of the Strong Interest Inventory test, Individuals are categorized into six different General Occupation Themes that measure different work activities, potential skills, and values.
If you are interested in reading an in-depth overview of the themes and the rest of the Interest Inventory then check out this blog. The Interest Inventory aims to paint a broad picture of an individual’s career interests and possible career exploration pathways.
What Am I Interested In Doing?
The next question a quality Interest Inventory should answer is, “What am I Interested in doing?” The Strong Interest Inventory answers this question with the use of Basic Interest Scales. An acceptable Interest Inventory will provide an answer that narrows your interests from broad categories to more specific occupations.
A key component of answering this question is also differentiating what interests you might enjoy as career options versus leisurely activities. In a perfect world, our career would be something we love to do as much as we love our hobbies and leisure activities. In reality, there are areas that you may enjoy doing in your free time, but the thought of having to do it for a living might sound stressful or deflating. Maybe you enjoy sketching pictures during your free time as a form of stress relief, but the idea of working for an animation studio with strict deadlines and limited creative freedom is not your definition of happiness. Or maybe the opposite is true and strict operating procedures and deadlines invigorate you in a work setting, but you enjoy flexibility and freedom with your leisure activities. This Interest Inventory test assesses this type of preference.
Where Do I Want To Work?
The final question an Interest Inventory should answer is, “Where do I want to work?”, meaning what kind of work environment you prefer (not where you want to work geographically). The Occupational Scale section of this Interest Inventory addresses this question, but different Interest Inventories have competing methods for achieving this goal. The Strong Interest Inventory has a brilliant method that can be described as “reverse engineering” in order to answer this question. It’s based on the theory that a job environment is not created by the activities performed at a job, but rather the combined personalities and preferences of the individuals performing the work.
For example, if a theoretical corporate law office was filled with individuals that are very conventional, organized, and traditional then its work environment would differ wildly from a theoretical environmental law office filled with artistic individuals that focused on creativity, thinking outside of the box, and self-expression. Both jobs have a foundation in Law, but each attracts a different type of individual that creates a unique work environment. So the Strong Interest Inventory test takes the like/dislike trends of individuals in a specific occupation and compares them to your results.
The Occupational Scales are great for individuals who are researching different career fields, because it will tell them whether they have interests in common with other professionals working in the specified field even before starting extensive research.
Keep in mind the questions we have covered today. The main goal of our Interest Inventory is to be a tool that can help you figure out your interests and decrease the amount of time you spend searching to find your best fit career path. The sooner you can eliminate career paths that don’t fit your likes, the more time you can focus pursuing a rewarding and enjoyable career. In some cases this can save months, if not years, of trial and error effort, which had been the norm before the use of an Interest Inventory became a more common practice.
I hope you found this blog insightful. If you would like to take an Interest Inventory to find your best-fit career then head over to our career assessment page and complete the Strong Interest Inventory test.