People choose their careers in a plethora of different ways. Some people have a career in mind even when they are children—maybe they dreamed of being a soldier, firefighter, teacher, or even a doctor and then work tirelessly to make that dream a reality. On the other hand, for most of us, a career is something we stumbled into through a series of events. What started as an occasional weekend pet-sitting for a few neighbors became a part-time job as a dog walker and then a career as a veterinary technician. Mowing lawns for pocket money might have become work experience to apply for a job as a landscaper or horticulturist.

While there’s nothing wrong with pursuing opportunities as they arise, it is also important to value your strengths, preferences, and goals. It is worth taking the time to ask yourself: What do I enjoy doing? What do I look forward to? What kind of environment do I want to work in? How much flexibility or structure am I looking for? These and other questions can help you learn more about yourself and discover career trajectories that may be a good fit for who you are.

A Brief History

The Strong Interest Inventory® is based on the work of Edward Kellog Strong Jr., a psychologist who initially published the Inventory in 1927 to examine and compare the vocational pursuits and interests of women and men. The first version was entitled the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and was among the first assessment tools to quantify individuals’ preferences and interests. Since then, other researchers expanded on this work to account for new careers that came into existence with changes in technology, such as computer scientists and radiologists, and to increase the accuracy of the assessment itself through more sophisticated statistical analysis techniques. By 2004, the Strong Interest Inventory® was considered the most comprehensive interest inventory in existence, and since then, its popularity has only increased. Today, digital data collection methods allow experts to collect more responses from more working professionals than ever before, meaning that when current job seekers take the assessment, their responses are compared to a more extensive database, which increases both the accuracy and validity of the assessment itself.

The Ideal Tool

Over the better part of a century, the Strong Interest Inventory® has become the preferred career coaching tool for counselors and career professionals for several reasons:

  1. It is easy to use. Job seekers take the survey-style questionnaire, submit their responses, and receive a comprehensive analysis of their preferences as well as a direction towards specific career categories and work environments that may appeal to them.
  2. It is flexible. Its insights can be beneficial to people in any stage of employment, from students considering educational options and recent graduates starting out in the workforce to established professionals seeking a promotion and those considering a career change.
  3. It is powerful. It not only describes individuals’ proclivities, strengths, and preferences in a variety of areas (e.g., leadership style, participation preferences, risk tolerance, etc.) but also makes connections between those preferences and different professional environments.
  4. It is trustworthy. For nearly a century, the Strong Interest Inventory® has been the most researched and most comprehensive career inventory in existence.

The Strong Interest Inventory® combines a comprehensive questionnaire and advanced quantitative analysis with clear, actionable reports that represent the pinnacle of career transition, college academia, and high school counseling. It is affordable and widely used throughout the United States, Canada, and internationally-being available in several languages.

Common Strong Interest Inventory® FAQ’s

 How Does The Strong Interest Inventory® Work?

The first step of choosing a career for many people is accessing The Strong Interest Inventory® and its associated assessments. The Strong Interest Inventory® is a well-established, research-based career assessment tool that has been used for decades to help job seekers identify careers in which they can discover their interest patterns and preferences. The Strong Interest Inventory Test has helped thousands of people find careers in which they can be fulfilled and have a happy work life. This assessment test is founded on the premise that different careers appeal to different people and that professionals who function in given careers share specific characteristics and interests. For example, engineers typically think in technical ways, have a proclivity for mathematics and reasoning, and may enjoy tinkering or building in their spare time. Most engineers share these traits regardless of their specific area of expertise or their specific day-to-day responsibilities. In the same way, teachers tend to enjoy nurturing others and helping their students achieve their potential. At its core, the Strong Assessment provides job seekers with a systematic way to analyze their preferences and traits and then compare their results with the results of professionals working in those fields.

 What Does The Strong Interest Inventory® Measure?

The Strong Interest Inventory® measures what it states. It is an interest inventory that assesses interest patterns based on how you respond to the 291 questions included in the assessment. The Strong Interest Inventory measures your “likes” and “dislikes” as well as testing your interest areas compared to your gender and whether you lean towards five interest areas including Realistic, Artistic, Enterprising, Social, Investigative, and Conventional. This is known as the RAESIC Hexagon or one’s General Occupational Theme Codes.  An individual is assigned a one to three-letter theme code depending upon their responses and in turn, are provided their best fit occupations based on their Theme Code among other factors. The assessment goes further in comparing your interest to those interests of individuals who find themselves fulfilled, content, and happy in certain professions, with the belief that if they share your interests as well as your interests for the profession, it is more likely that said occupations would be a good match for you.  General Occupational Themes (occupational interests) are measured using a five-point scale of interests. These are: “Very Little”, “Little”, “Moderate”, “High”, and “Very High”.

Strong Interest Inventory Test

Read about the most frequently asked questions regarding the Strong Interest Inventory Assessment

 When Would you use a Strong Interest Inventory®?

The Strong Interest Inventory® can be a valuable tool for individuals in any career, college, or High School stage who are looking for guidance on their future careers and college course curriculum and college major choice as well as High School activities and college planning in High School.

The Strong Interest Inventory can help specifically with individuals who are in specific situations:

  • Career Exploration: The Strong Interest Inventory® is a blueprint for individuals who have just graduated from High School or College and are in search of their first c
  • Career Transition: The Strong Interest Inventory® can help those individuals who find themselves unhappy in their current occupation discover a more fulfilling career that is a better match for their preferences and who they are.
  • Selecting a college major: The Strong Interest Inventory College Edition can help current and prospective students identify their subject matter interests and gain a deeper understanding of related subjects that may be valuable complements for their primary field. For example, a student may combine their interest in computing and art by pursuing a graphic design degree.
  • Developing a career or leadership: The Strong Interest Inventory® highlights not only one’s preferences but also one’s potential areas for growth. Those who try to develop their blind spots may be in a better position to negotiate for a raise or may attract leadership attention for a promotion.
  • Increasing worker engagement: The Strong test provides the necessary insights for prospective and current employees to find positions that capitalize on their preferences and interests which can increase levels of dedication and motivation.
  • Re-entering the job market: The Strong assessment can support people who have taken a break from the workforce transition back into the job market by helping them find a career that is right for them.

Is The Strong Interest Inventory® Free?

 The official, proven, and effective Strong Interest Inventory® is not free, however, it has lower price points whereas it can be purchased using The iStartStrong Assessment for as low as $39.95 for immediate download- so no waiting for your report to be created and sent to you via email, iStartStrong reports are available for instant download to your computer as a PDF document. Additionally, free assessments claiming they are administering the official or unofficial Strong Interest inventory® will not be providing you with the type of reliable and valid information you need for a successful career search, nor a valid collegiate or High School assessment that would provide you with proven facts to best suggest areas of academia and appurtenant information to help you succeed scholastically. that can be obtained quite reasonably.

Where Can I Take The Strong Interest Inventory®?

The Strong Interest Inventory® is available through online certified administrators, some psychologists and therapists’ offices, career counselors, and university career centers. If you are looking for a streamlined process without any red tape that includes a complimentary phone consultation and an online test-taking user-friendly platform, then an online administrator is for you. If you are seeing a psychologist, career counselor, career coach, or therapist who would like you to take the Strong Interest Inventory, they will most likely utilize an online administrator to provide you with your assessment(s).

Who Can Give The Strong Interest Inventory®?

In order to administer The Strong Interest Inventory®, one must be level-B certified or have the educational requirements to administer psychological assessments.

How Long Does it Take to Take The Strong Interest Inventory®?

The Strong Interest Inventory® contains 291 Questions and takes 30-35 minutes to complete. It is completed 100% online using any computer with an internet connection and reports/results are sent as a PDF document to the participant upon completion of the assessment. A consultation to review The Strong Interest Inventory is included with all Strong Interest Inventory® administrations except for The iStartStrong which is a non-restricted assessment. Assessments are completed on a user-friendly platform, though it is not compatible with mobile devices or outdated internet browsers such as Internet Explorer.

How Do You Interpret a Strong Interest Inventory®?

The Strong Interest Inventory® is a Level-B Psychological Restricted Assessment and is generally interpreted by a certified or educationally qualified individual or career center. The main data points and definitions will be explained to you as well as your higher interest areas, top occupations, and occupational areas. Using the results of your assessment, your interpreter will discuss your General Occupational Theme Code, Basic Interest Scales, and your Personal Style Scales with you.

Variations of the Strong Interest Inventory®

Today, researchers have developed several different variations of the Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment, each of which is customized to meet individuals’ specific needs. The depth of the participant’s results/report depends upon the assessment chosen prior to administration. The idea behind variations of the assessment is to provide the most valuable and actionable insights possible depending upon the circumstances of the individual completing the assessment. Some of the variations available are:

Strong Interest Inventory® Profile
While the Strong Interest Inventory® Profile is typically considered the “standard” or “baseline” career analysis, it is still incredibly powerful. In addition to shedding light on one’s preferred occupations, it also delves into the work environment itself, the situations one thrives in, and generally understanding the circumstances and conditions in which one works optimally. Armed with this information, individuals can motivate change to improve their current position, seek a promotion, or change careers.

Strong Interest Inventory® Interpretive Report
The Strong Interest Inventory® Interpretive Report builds on the Strong Interest Inventory® Profile by providing an even more nuanced analysis of one’s interests and preferences as well as how they connect to one’s vocational preferences. The Interpretive Report includes Top 10 Recommended Careers, along with links to their entries in the O*Net government database, which contains details on responsibilities, education level, salary ranges, and more. The Interpretive Report also includes career motivators, and advice for enhancing one’s current position, in addition to strategies for developing an action plan to decide among multiple career options. It is among the most comprehensive career assistance tools available.

Strong Interest Inventory® Profile Plus College Edition
The Strong Interest Inventory® College Edition supports current and prospective students as they determine their course of study. It can help connect students’ interests and preferences with academic majors or degree programs which will eventually lead to careers in which they can be successful. This resource provides insights into many different aspects of collegiate life, including extracurricular opportunities and detailed course descriptions, as well as strategies for optimizing one’s learning environment and gleaning the greatest benefit from collegiate resources. This assessment is best suited for Junior and Seniors in High School who are planning to attend college, college students who are looking for direction, and those individuals who are looking to begin or return to a university in their adult years.

Strong Interest Inventory® Profile Plus High School Edition
The Strong Interest Inventory® High School Edition is designed to set young adults up for success early in their career journey. Its analysis is targeted to the pre-collegiate experience and includes recommendations for what general summer internships and volunteer opportunities match their interest patterns as well as academic enrichment programs and other resources that are particularly beneficial for high achieving young people. This assessment is best for freshmen and sophomores in High School.

iStartStrong

The iStartStrong™ provides an interactive component that allows individuals to explore certain parts of the report with ease. For example, it allows takers to virtually access additional content on recommended occupational fields, detailed career information and the academic courses and subject areas that may be relevant to those careers, and material regarding specific interests or occupational themes. This is a great tool for those who would like immediate access to their results with instantaneous report/results download once completing their assessments. The iStartStrong is also a non-restricted assessment, meaning an interpretation session is not needed as it is quite a user-friendly assessment and self-explanatory.

The Strong Interest Inventory® and MBTI® Combined Career Report 

This report combines the strength of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® with the Strong Interest Inventory®. While combining your personality preferences with your interest patterns contained in your Strong Interest Inventory® Assessment, this report provides a wide-angle view and an unmatched career assessment. It provides the knowledge and insights you need to identify work environments that complement your preferences as well as your innate characteristics, so you can find a career in which you can be content with and feel fulfilled.