Before you set foot in that interview room, you need to have your spiel down pat. But do you know yourself well enough to even have a spiel?
Understanding yourself is critical when choosing or changing your career, says Phoenix-based HR consultant Lisa Barrington.
Don’t worry: You don’t need to go on some soul-searching walkabout to understand your strengths, interests, emotional intelligence, values, personality traits, and motivations more fully. There are free online self-assessment tools you can use instead.
These tools “offer insight that the individual might not have had prior to taking the assessment,” Barrington says. And while many of these assessments work best when administered in full by a professional who can interpret the results, these 10 free versions can give you a sense of where you should be headed and how you should be marketing yourself without your having to spend a single cent.
One of the most well-known assessments, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results in a four-letter “type”—INFP or ESFJ, for example. The test is meant to identify basic preferences for each of four dichotomies (such as introvert and extrovert) and describes 16 distinctive personality traits.
You’ll have to pay $50 to take the real test, but there are plenty of imitators on the Internet.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
This personality assessment is based on Keirsey Temperament Theory, which divides people into four “temperaments:” guardian, idealist, rational and artisan. The assessment measures how people communicate and what their actions tend to be. Yes, the test is 71 questions long; no one said getting to your emotional center would be quick.
This assessment can help you identify your motivations and what’s really important to you in your career. By ranking different aspects of work, the results can encourage you to look at jobs or industries you may not have considered before.
You’ll walk away from this test with a list of 739 jobs rank-ordered based on how well they suit your style. Not bad, huh?
Big Five personality assessments divide people into five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. The assessment identifies a preference out of the five and can help you identify learning styles as well as work preferences.
This test will also make you laugh a little along the way. Try answering “I have a rich vocabulary” or “I worry about things” with a straight face.
This personality assessment starts with Myers-Briggs dichotomies and adds archetypes from Jungian theory as well as some from the Big Five. Which is psychobabble way of saying you’ll learn whether you’re an introvert or extrovert if you take this test— and at the end, you’ll be labeled with one of 16 personality types with cool names like “Mediator,” “Commander” and “Defender.” Most importantly, the test promises to take less than 12 minutes.
This survey lets you rate activities you enjoy, your personal qualities and school subjects you like. Then you can see which career clusters are a match for your interests. And this is another quick one, clocking in at 5 to 10 minutes.
This tool uses information from O*Net information, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, to help determine your interests as they relate to work. Unlike the other tests, this one asks you how to rate how much you’d enjoy performing very specific work tasks like “building kitchen cabinets,” “laying brick” and “buying and selling stocks and bonds.” It’s really nicely color-coded as well. Hang in there, this one is 60 questions.
More than 8 million people around the world have taken this assessment at Assessment.com. “The reason people take the MAPP is to find their way in life,” he says. It tells you what you love to do and what you don’t love to do. It also uses the O*Net job list to identify which jobs might be good fits.
You’ll have to fork over $90 for their “starter package,” in which you’ll see your top 20 general career matches. Their “executive package” costs $149.95 where you’ll get a 30-page assessment and ranked matching to 900 careers. But if you just want to try it for free, you’ll be matched with five potential careers.
This assessment examines your suitability with different careers based on six occupational themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. The test identifies your top interest area and how it compares to the other areas, and what this means for your career interests.
Sorry in advance, but this test clocks in at 20 minutes, with a whopping 87 questions.
PI Behavioral Assessment
The Predictive Index predicts primary personality characteristics that describe, explain and predict day-to-day workplace behaviors, says Greg Barnett, a Boston-based industrial and organizational psychologist who is responsible for setting and executing the scientific agenda for the Predictive Index. This rigorously tested study looks at your strongest workplace behaviors and determines your management and influence styles