Making a career choice, whether for students or those already part of the workforce is perhaps one of the most challenging and potentially far-reaching decisions a person may face.
In this article, we discuss a unique and psychometrically robust assessment solution that we propose for use in career guidance and planning contexts.
In summation, the solution provides a summary of an individual’s natural behavioral strengths, potential work-related interests, skills, and aptitudes.
The conceptual model
A core assumption of this approach to career choice is that people are more likely to enjoy and succeed at work that matches or closely resembles their personality, interest, skills and values.
Conversely, to the extent that work does not match these internal attributes and capacities, we predict less fulfillment and success in each career path.
The model, referred to by the acronym AIMS, explain the four main dimensions of measurement that we use to understand the match between career choices and career-related attributes:
- Ability: the capacity to acquire new skills and knowledge
- Interest: categories and spheres of work that the person may find engaging
- Motivation: attitudes and beliefs about what is important at work
- Style: characteristic behaviours and natural strengths relevant to career choice
Based on the model above, our assessments measure several constructs that provide the practitioner a detailed perspective on the AIMS model.
In terms of abilities, the following cognitive constructs are included:
- Verbal reasoning
- Numerical reasoning
- Inductive reasoning
- Deductive reasoning
- Concentration, details
- Visual/spatial thinking
Within the report, the abilities section features a summary of suitability to careers or work environments involving intellectual or practical tasks aligned to assessed aptitude strengths.
In terms of interests, the well-known Holland approach to career environments is used to provide a perspective on suitable career environments for the candidate:
- Practical, hands-on work (Realistic environments)
- Scientific, analytical work (Investigative environments)
- Creative, design-oriented work (Artistic environments)
- People, socially-oriented work (Social environments)
- Business, sales related work (Entrepreneurial environments)
- Procedural, highly structured work (Conventional environments)
As before, the reporting section for interests includes a summary of suitability to careers or work environments characterized by the candidate’s unique constellation of career interests.
For motivational elements, motives and values that will direct a person’s career choices, motivational patterns, and general level of happiness at work are included.
The final component of the AIMS model, styles, is measured using personality dimensions that will direct a person’s career choices. This construct is further subdivided into:
- Task-related competencies
- Interpersonal competencies
- Self-related competencies
- Interpersonal competencies
Each element of the AIMS model is featured in the solution’s report along with a summary findings page that is intended as an at-a-glance overview of the results relevant to the AIMS model as well as a career fit profile based on O*Net job categories (O*Net is one of the largest open-source resources of job category information in the world).
A sample summary page is displayed in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2. The summary career fit section of the AIMS report
In addition to the summary page above, specific sections are included that clarify each element and construct of the AIMS model.
Finally, the AIMS report includes helpful information related to O*Net career categories as well as a career choice worksheet to aid feedback and career guidance. This section will be particularly useful for either self-directed or mediated career counseling.
Target audience and applications
While the traditional audience for career choice assessments has been school leavers and students, the AIMS model is also targeted at candidates who are already involved in a career but who are contemplating mid-career shifts or who wish to explore alternative career pathways.
In addition, the solution requires candidates to:
- Have a minimum reading comprehension level equivalent to Grade 10.
- Be computer literate to complete the online assessments
Of course, the challenge of assisting candidates in making productive career (or subject) choices goes beyond just assessment results.
We recommend the use of this solution in conjunction with:
- Career counselling/guidance interviews
- Professionally mediated assessment feedback to integrate and contextualise the results presented in the report
- Using additional, contextual and career related information (some of which is found in the report’s O*Net career information and career choice worksheet) to aid the interpretation and application of test results.
Over the years many of our clients and partners have asked for a comprehensive and scientifically credible career choice assessment solution. Based on our product team’s research and expertise, we believe that this solution meets those criteria.
The combination of ability, interest, motivation and style delivers a holistic and contextually-relevant sketch of a candidate’s ideal and best-matched career paths and categories that will aid greatly in any career guidance application, from school-aged to mid-career transition adult candidates.
If you would like to know more about this career assessment solution, including the assessment tools required, or for more detailed pricing information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.