Career aptitude tests for college students

Career aptitude tests for college students

Do they make sense?

The Holland Career Model was developed by Dr. John Holland in 1985 to determine which personalities should work in which workplaces. His idea was simple. He thought that each person had a dominant set of characteristic or mode of operating and two secondary modes of operation.

Holland’s Career Model has six personalities: realistic, enterprising, artistic, investigative, social and conventional. People interested in Holland’s work can take a short questionnaire that asks them to label themselves with personal adjectives, as well as to choose in what they are most interested. After the quiz, quiz takers are labeled with their primary, secondary and tertiary modes of behavior. For example, an artistic person with secondary social and enterprising characteristics will be happier in a different workplace than an artistic person with realistic and conventional interests.

When I take quizzes like these, I’m always tempted to change my initial impulses when I find that my chosen path is incongruous with the letters that I’ve chosen, but I tried to stick with my first choices for this one.

In using career quizzes—like Holland’s and the like—to determine student strengths, it’s important to remember that students do not always have the life experiences—Holland’s diffused identity—to pinpoint what they actually do and do not like. Certainly, it seems like many students would drastically change their Holland codes from freshman year to senior year. It is particularly important to check on the consistency of the Holland code when young students because they are likely not to have a great deal of self-awareness, simply because they have not had enough experience to rate themselves well.

Also, as I was taking the quiz and was asked to describe myself, I thought that young students are quite likely to describe themselves with adjectives given to them by their peers, teachers and parents in high school, so it seems like the section on likes and dislikes may be a more accurate predictor. Other career aptitude tests could be equally murky for young, inexperienced students. I’m not sure how valuable they would be for young students who haven’t yet explored the world—in advising practice, I might be more likely to recommend them for my junior and senior students.

What do you think about using career aptitude tests in college?