All About Self-Assessment Tools
When describing or putting into words an aspect of us, it can be a daunting task.
Self-assessment tools help to enhance self-awareness and guide your career exploration.
They should be used with other sources of information and reflection to develop a holistic understanding of yourself and make informed career decisions.
This article explores the framework we should use to approach these tools, the different kinds of tools, exercises that will help us work on them, and how to apply the assessment to a job search.
What is the correct Framework?
Before choosing and completing any of these tools, ensure you clearly understand its purpose. Begin by understanding the purpose and scope of the assessment you are taking. Read the instructions carefully and familiarize yourself with the measured concepts and dimensions. This will help you approach the evaluation with the right mindset and context.
Once you have finalized the assessment and with the results in hand, digest the information considering the following:
1. Reflect on the results: After completing the assessment, reflect on the results. Review the descriptions and explanations provided for each dimension or strength. Consider how the results align with your self-perception and experiences. Reflect on specific examples from your life that support or challenge the results.
2. Seek professional guidance if needed: If you find it challenging to interpret or understand the results of an assessment, consider seeking advice from a qualified professional. A career counsellor, psychologist, or coach can help you make sense of the assessment outcomes and provide additional insights based on their expertise.
3. Recognize the potential for bias: Remember that self-assessments are subjective and can be influenced by various biases. Avoid taking the results as absolute truths or limitations. Instead, view them as tools for self-reflection and exploration. Be open to considering other perspectives and feedback from trusted sources.
4. Identify patterns and themes: Look for patterns and themes that emerge across different assessments or dimensions. Notice commonalities or consistent strengths that are identified. This can provide a more comprehensive understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and help identify areas where you can leverage your abilities effectively.
5. Apply the insights to your career choices: Consider how the assessment results can inform your career choices. Explore job roles, industries, or work environments that align with your strengths and preferences. Look for ways to leverage your strengths in your current or future career path. Also, identify areas for growth and seek opportunities to develop skills related to your weaknesses.
6. Use assessments as a starting point: Remember that assessments are just one piece of the puzzle. They provide a snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses at a particular moment. Use assessment insights as a starting point for further exploration and self-reflection. Combine them with feedback from others, real-world experiences, and ongoing self-assessment to develop a well-rounded understanding of yourself.
7. Revisit assessments periodically: Revisit self-assessments periodically, especially during career transition or personal growth. Your strengths and weaknesses may evolve as you gain new experiences and self-awareness. Repeating assessments over time can help you track your progress, identify changes, and adjust your career trajectory accordingly.
Here are a few popular self-assessment tools and personality assessments that can provide insights into your strengths and weaknesses:
1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The MBTI is a widely used personality assessment that categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types. It explores preferences in extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. The assessment can help you understand your natural inclinations, which can help identify strengths and areas for growth.
2. StrengthsFinder: StrengthsFinder is an assessment developed by Gallup that focuses on identifying and leveraging your unique strengths. It identifies your top five strengths from 34 themes: communication, adaptability, empathy, and strategic thinking. This assessment can clarify your natural talents and how to apply them effectively.
3. Big Five Personality Traits: The Big Five personality traits, also known as the Five-Factor Model, assess five broad dimensions of personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These traits can provide insights into your personality strengths and potential areas for development.
4. DISC Assessment: The DISC assessment categorizes individuals into four main personality styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It helps you understand your communication and behavioural preferences and how you interact with others. This assessment can highlight your communication, problem-solving, and teamwork strengths.
5. VIA Character Strengths: The VIA Character Strengths assessment focuses on identifying your core character strengths and virtues. It assesses 24 character strengths: creativity, perseverance, kindness, and leadership. Understanding your character strengths can help you align your values with potential job roles and find opportunities where you can thrive.
Exercises and Resources:
Here are a few self-assessment exercises and resources that you may find helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses:
1. "What Color Is Your Parachute?" by Richard N. Bolles: This career development book offers a range of self-assessment exercises and tools to help you identify your skills, values, interests, and personality traits. It provides practical guidance for career exploration and decision-making.
2. ONET Interest Profiler: The ONET Interest Profiler is a free online tool developed by the U.S. Department of Labor. It assesses your interests across various job categories, helping you explore potential career paths that align with your preferences.
3. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath: This book includes an access code for the StrengthsFinder assessment, identifying your top five strengths out of 34 themes. It provides insights into leveraging your strengths for personal and professional success.
4. VIA Character Strengths Survey: The VIA Character Strengths survey is a free online assessment that helps identify your core character strengths. It measures 24 character strengths, such as curiosity, perseverance, or kindness, and provides a personalized report on your strengths profile.
5. 360-degree feedback assessments: 360-degree feedback assessments involve gathering feedback from multiple sources, including supervisors, peers, and subordinates. While typically used in professional settings, they can provide valuable insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development. Some examples of 360-degree feedback tools include TruScore, Qualtrics 360, and SurveyMonkey.
6. Life Values Inventory: The Life Values Inventory is a self-assessment tool that helps you identify and prioritize your values. It explores various domains of life, such as career, relationships, and personal growth, and provides insights into what is most important to you.
7. Holland Codes: The Holland Codes system categorizes individuals into six different personality types based on their interests and work preferences. It can help you explore career options that align with your personality type. There are various online resources and assessments available that utilize the Holland Codes system.
Remember that self-assessment tools should be part of a broader self-discovery process, combined with introspection, feedback from others, and real-world experiences to understand your strengths and weaknesses better. Additionally, working with a qualified professional, such as a career counsellor or psychologist, can enhance the interpretation and application of these assessments to your career goals.
How to apply the assessment in the Job Hunt?
· Reflect on your values, interests, and strengths: Review the results from your self-assessment exercises and reflect on the values, interests, and strengths that emerged. Consider how these align with your personal and professional aspirations. Think about the activities, topics, or tasks that energize and engage you the most. Identify any patterns or recurring themes that can guide your career decision-making.
· Explore compatible career options: Explore options that align with your values, interests, and strengths. Look for roles, industries, or organizations that resonate with the characteristics identified in your assessments. Consider how your skills and strengths can be applied in different contexts and seek opportunities that leverage them.
· Seek informational interviews or job shadowing: Reach out to professionals in fields or roles of interest and request informational interviews or job shadowing opportunities. Engage in conversations with individuals who work in those areas to gain firsthand insights. Ask about the day-to-day responsibilities, required skills, and the alignment of those roles with your identified strengths and interests. This firsthand information can help you validate and refine your career choices.
· Set goals and create an action plan: Based on the insights gained from your self-assessment exercises and research, set specific career goals that align with your identified strengths and interests. Break down these goals into actionable steps and create a plan to acquire the necessary skills and experiences. Consider additional education, training programs, or networking opportunities that can support your career transition or advancement.
· Experiment and gain practical experience: Seek opportunities to gain valuable experience in your areas of interest. This can include internships, volunteering, freelancing, or taking on side projects. Practical experience allows you to test and validate your career choices, further develop your skills, and clarify your preferences and strengths in a real-world context.
· Review and adapt: Regularly review your career decisions and progress. Assess whether you are experiencing fulfilment and growth in your chosen path. Be open to adapting and adjusting your career trajectory based on new insights, changing circumstances, or emerging opportunities. Continuously reevaluate and refine your career decisions as you gain more self-awareness and experience.
· Seek professional guidance if needed: If you find it challenging to make career decisions based on the results of your self-assessments, consider seeking advice from a career counsellor, coach, or mentor. These professionals can help you interpret the assessment results, provide additional insights, and guide you through making informed career choices.
Remember that self-assessment results are meant to inform your decision-making process. Still, they should be combined with other factors such as market demand, job market trends, and personal circumstances. Making career decisions is a dynamic and iterative process, and staying open-minded, adaptable, and willing to learn along the way is essential.