Interest inventories are psychometric tools that help individuals discover their interests, preferences, and occupational strengths and challenges. These inventories use varying items in the form of multiple-choice questions to quantify a person’s likes, dislikes, ideals, and motivations. Interest Inventory assessment tests can be of great value when making decisions regarding career or educational pursuits, as they provide insight into the type of occupational tasks and work environment you prefer, college and high school academics and curriculum, as well as hobbies and general activities individuals may find fulfilling.
There are several popular interest inventories that are commonly used in university career centers, private career counseling practices, and through online administrators, each with its unique focus and approach. Online administrators generally provide the entire process from start to finish 100% online. When using an online administrator, assessments are completed on a desktop, laptop, or tablet, and your results are sent to you in PDF form to your email on file. Additionally, a complimentary consultation to review your results to understand your reports should always be offered as most interest inventories, such as the popular Strong Interest Inventory® and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®, are Level-B Psychological Restricted Assessments, and the interpretation of your results is of the most importance.
Here are some of the most effective and popular interest inventories:
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII): The SII is one of the most recognized and verified interest inventory assessments available to the general public. It is used by psychologists, career counselors, and online certified administrators and is the go-to assessment for university and college career centers. It was first created in 1927 and has been revised for accuracy many times. Developed by E.K. Strong, Jr., and later modified by Jo-Ida C. Hansen and David P. Campbell, the SII compares the test taker’s interests with those of individuals in various occupations to suggest potential career matches.
The SII measures an individual’s occupational and personal interests in six categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.
Realistic (R): These individuals are practical, hands-on, and mechanically inclined. They enjoy working with tools, machines, or animals and prefer outdoor environments. Careers in this category include construction, mechanics, forestry, or agriculture.
Investigative (I): Investigative individuals are analytical, curious, and enjoy problem-solving. They prefer to work with data, ideas, and concepts in scientific or research-oriented fields. Examples of careers include scientist, engineer, or mathematician.
Artistic (A): Artistic individuals are creative, imaginative, and expressive. They enjoy expressing themselves in a creative manner via graphic and visual arts, writing, and theatre arts. Some career examples are graphic designer, actor, writer, or musician.
Social (S): Social individuals are empathetic and compassionate and enjoy helping and interacting with others. They excel in careers that involve working with people and providing support, such as teaching, counseling, or healthcare.
Enterprising (E): Enterprising individuals are ambitious, assertive, and enjoy taking on leadership roles. They are often drawn to business, sales, and management careers, where they can persuade and influence others.
Conventional (C): Conventional individuals are detail-oriented, organized and prefer working with structure and routine. They excel in careers that involve managing data, finances, or administrative tasks, such as accounting, data analysis, or office management.
Additionally, the Strong Interest Inventory provides information on one’s best-fit careers, work environments, and educational opportunities. An individual can be categorized into one to three of the interest classifications, and these interest categories are one of the main areas in which the assessment chooses what careers best suit you (along with other metrics such as your basic interest scales and occupational scales). Your assigned interest categories can be used with websites such as Onetonline.org, which is a government database that allows you to search for a career by your interest categories as mentioned above, providing you with invaluable information such as employment growth, daily responsibilities, income, and expected education (by state and career) as well as other important career information and statistics.
Another assessment that is not necessarily considered a 100% interest inventory though has many interest inventory properties is The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®): The MBTI® is a personality and career assessment that provides information about what careers are best suited by one’s personality type (The MBTI Career Report and The Strong Interest Inventory and MBTI Combined Career Report). The MBTI® provides information on how people prefer to live, relate to others, make decisions, learn, contribute at work and to occupational teams and function in corporations.
While not simply an interest inventory, the MBTI® grants awareness for individuals to learn their personality inclinations across four dichotomies: Extraversion-Introversion, Sensing-Intuition, Thinking-Feeling, and Judging-Perceiving. One’s 4-letter verified personality type helps guide individuals toward careers and environments that align with their personality preferences.
When utilizing the MBTI® for career exploration, one would want to be administered The MBTI Career Report as well as the Strong Interest Inventory and MBTI Combined Career Report. The MBTI Career Report lists the most popular occupations for your personality type, the least attractive jobs for your personality type, the most attractive job families for you, your strengths, and challenges in the workplace as well as suggested strategies to improve your workplace functioning with others.
The Strong Interest Inventory and MBTI Combined Career Report is an insightful, highly valuable assessment that combines both your verified personality type and SII interests to supply an individual with a wealth of career information including but not limited to:
- Areas of least interest
- Your top ten Occupations for the SII and the SII and Personality Type Combination.
- Your top five personal style scales describing your interests and personality preferences when it comes to your work style, learning environment, leadership style, risk taking, and team orientation.
- Top five interest areas
- Provides you with your 4-letter MBTI personality type.
- Combines your personality type with your SII theme code category, such as Realistic, Artistic, Enterprising, Social, Investigative, or Conventional, to provide you with career fields that reflect both your Myers-Briggs Personality Type and your Strong Interest Inventory (SII) Category Theme Code.
- Occupations to explore
- Action steps
- Career development strategies and how to stay motivated during your career search.
These assessments and interest inventories are popular as they provide insights into an individual’s personality, values, and preferences, which can be useful in making important life decisions. While each assessment has its unique approach, they aim to help individuals identify their interests and match them with potential career paths and personal pursuits while guiding them toward fulfilling careers and educational paths. The most appropriate assessment will depend on the individual’s needs and goals. It’s important to work with a qualified professional when using an interest inventory to ensure the results are properly interpreted and applied.
Another popular interest inventory is the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS), a career tool that helps individuals match their interests and skills according to various occupational categories. Developed by David P. Campbell in the 1990s, the CISS is focused on the idea that the top career choices are those that associate with both interests and skills.
The CISS determines people’s interests and skills amongst seven occupational classifications, which are like but distinct from Holland’s RIASEC model, as can be found in The Strong Interest Inventory® line of assessments. The seven themes in the CISS are:
- Influencing: Involves influencing, leading, and overseeing others.
- Organizing: Involves organizing, arranging, and directing activities.
- Helping: Involves working with people to provide encouragement, support, care, or assistance, as in counseling or a medical practice.
- Analyzing: Involves researching, gathering, and evaluating information, such as in mathematics and science
- Producing: Involves building, restoring, and repairing tangible products, crafts, etc.
- Adventuring: Involves engaging in physically challenging activities or risk-taking tasks, such as in athletics, the military, and law enforcement.
- Expressing: Involves creating or performing artistic, literary, or musical works.
The CISS is made up of 320 questions, with 200 focused on interests and 120 focused on skills. For each question, individuals express their interest level or skill, Strongly Dislike or Poor to Strongly Like or Excellent. The questionnaire generates scores for the seven occupational themes and 53 basic scales, providing specific information about the person’s interests and skills.