Psychometric tests are not necessary but have the advantage to…
Let’s have a look at the frequently asked questions on the Psychometric Assessment Test.
In case you are planning to make important career decisions solely on a psychometric test’s recommendation, yes you should stop following them blindly. But the reason is not that psychometric tests don’t work. It is because a true understanding of the types of psychometric tests and their correct usage has been limited in India till now.
Two major problem areas have to lead to this wrong perception. The primary one being the abundance of too many generic tests being launched simultaneously in a race to capture our attention. It has left little scope for debate and consensus-building. The other factor driving this wave is the lack of any policy and quality control mechanism.
Anyway, the ground reality remains that we have to deal with this situation ourselves and hope that the future will be less confusing for youngsters and families in 2025.
Although the number is low, there are enough bright spots in this gloomy picture. Let me share a real-life example of how proper use of a relevant psychometric test can be helpful. I recently met Vidisha, a 9th grader, who was in a dilemma about her career direction. She had performed quite well in all subjects and every time she explored a new career, it confused her further. Vidisha took the help of an assessment for specific guidance on whether she should take up Humanities or Commerce or Science with Maths or Science with Biology. Using her assessment findings and consultation with a Counselor, she could clear her thinking and accordingly plan the next course of action!
Today, psychometric tests are being utilized in many schools and colleges across developed as well as developing countries. These countries are committed to pro-actively help their youth find a satisfying vocation. They know that gender, race and many other such divisive forces are big obstacles between students and their dreams. Hence, a counter-force of a much higher magnitude is needed. High-quality psychometric tests are those powerful tools.
A well-chosen age-appropriate psychometric assessment, if taken sincerely by the student, provides an unbiased mirror to the family seeking help at various stages of their children’s career path. I would also recommend sharing the report with people who have closely interacted with the student and hear their views about the accuracy of the report. You will be surprised how they can recall specific instances that re-confirm the report’s observations!
From my personal experiences in India and abroad, the best utilization of a psychometric test is easy to achieve and very much possible. Having said that, you should also remember that the role of a psychometric test is to assist with choosing an appropriate career. It does not work like an independent machine with a secret formula. It will try to capture your thoughts and experiences you have gained through discussions, effort, and practice. Back in 2012, I remember one of my students Gautam who was so desperate to choose the perfect career that he spent endless hours researching various professions and assumed that his psychometric test is a magic tool that can solve this puzzle like a Maths problem. When he received his report with a list of the top 5 suggested career paths, he called me to express his disappointment and said “I already knew about these 5 professions. Who will tell me which one of these is perfect for me?”.
I asked him to calm down and elaborate on his definition of a “perfect-for-me career path”. He said he wanted to choose something where he can succeed effortlessly and make lots of money. I probed him further saying “So you think that Sachin Tendulkar is successful just because he was able to choose the perfect career for himself?” “Yes, of course!”, he responded.
I understood his dilemma and shared a brief detail about how Sachin underwent and continues to do so, a very exhausting daily routine with long hours of practice to keep himself fit for the national team. With this context, I explained to him that he has high chances of succeeding in all the top 5 recommended paths if he pursues them with dedication. For choosing one out of those five, he must have a consultative discussion with his parents and counselor. He understood my point and agreed to bring his parents for a face-to-face meeting with his Counselor. They finally zeroed into Computer Engineering as the course and the booming Software industry as his target. Gautam is currently one of the highly accomplished Project Managers at a leading Technology company, keeps developing new skill-sets, and loves his perfectly balanced life!
Discussion with parents, personal commitment to making efforts, and gentle interrogation for reality-check by a trusted Counselor are critical aspects that must accompany psychometric testing for maximizing its effectiveness. Expecting a psychometric test to function like an answering machine is an unreasonable assumption.
It might be useful to understand this point by contrasting psychometric testing from another commonly used test- blood type testing. As you know, each individual has a particular blood type that remains the same throughout her/his lifetime. A blood test tells us specifically our blood group type (O+, O-, A+, etc.) and there is no ambiguity about it. On the other hand, psychometric testing is meant to be a broad categorizing tool and the starting point of a consultation process that leads to personalized career decisions. The report produced by a psychometric test needs an interpreter and is valid for that candidate’s particular phase of life only.
For instance, I always highlight the fact that a psychometric test generally does not take into consideration facts such as the economic realities of your situation that must be assessed before arriving at any decision. Hard thinking, which is a capability only available with skilled humans, is required when making career decisions.
So expecting a psychometric test to behave like a blood test exercise to quickly give us ready-to-use data or instruction is a bit unreasonable. What you must expect it to do is to help you avoid some of the most common factors such as peer pressure that lead to poor career decisions.
In a best-case scenario, a psychometric test is administered by the candidate’s institution (school or college) through its career guidance faculty who have interacted closely with candidates for a sufficient period of time. They are uniquely positioned to utilize a psychometric test report, first-hand observations, and recommend an objective plan of action.
I am sure you would have discussed your interpretation with your parents at length and arrived at a mutually agreeable decision. This is a fairly common occurrence and there is no harm in going ahead without consulting a professional counselor if there are no specific doubts about your report.
But if you are skipping this step because of lack of time, I would request you or either of your parents to at least have a quick telephonic discussion with a professional that takes less than 30 minutes to make an informed opinion on your decision.
In the long run, you may find a counselor’s additional insights useful. Your report, apart from the final recommendations, has many subtle reflections about your assumptions, interests, aptitudes, and preferences. They look like unnecessary details to you but a professional counselor can help you understand them in depth. This exercise may help you gain a better understanding of yourself and utilize it in your personal life decisions as well.
A face-to-face/telephonic/video discussion can take place later at your convenience once you have taken care of your immediate career decision and related administrative procedures. In fact, it is highly recommended to have a detailed session with your counselor only when you are completely at ease and not under the pressure of some upcoming deadline.
The word “prediction” is a bit misleading when we are looking at observations & recommendations made by a psychometric test. As your doubt indicates, by relying on any prediction, we tend to lose sight of the underlying factors that will lead to a particular outcome. This tendency to become complacent is dangerous.
Career guides and professionals use psychometric tests as input to get a clearer, unbiased understanding of a student’s interest & aptitude and work-profile suiting it. They never use it as the only input and suggest that a person can relax if the test confirms her/his fit with the current work profile. I personally suggest my candidates intensify their hard work in a particular direction with a ruthless focus on the key parameters that define their personal meaning of success and use a psychometric test as a confirmation of their conviction. You must develop the habit of setting short and long-term academic as well as career goals for yourself, re-setting them, and learning from your success as well as failures. Unfortunately, we cannot delegate our career decisions to psychometric tests! In the 21st-century knowledge economy, that ownership will always be with us as an individual.
I am glad that you are considering the assistance of a psychometric career test at an early stage in your life. One of the best ways to extract the maximum value out of your psychometric test is to be clear with your specific doubts at this stage. For example, in case you have studied biology and science in 11th& 12th, are you questioning whether you should continue in this direction? Or are you pretty satisfied with your past decision and are in a dilemma about whether to continue with pure life science or applied life science as your undergraduate program?
In either of the above cases, a relevant psychometric assessment report and discussion with a counselor can help you re-confirm or re-consider your choices.
The questions will be more like prompts for you to share your feelings about situations and tasks that you have experienced in the past. You do not have to assume and predict anything if a particular prompt sounds unfamiliar to you. There are no right or wrong answers here. The point you should remember is to be absolutely truthful in your responses and never try to pose as someone others expect you to be.
As you rightly mentioned, the prompts, your response, and the conclusions are closely linked to each other. The algorithm that generates your report assumes that your answers are unbiased and candid reflections based on real-life experiences of the past. It uses these inputs to come out with your key interests and aptitudes. It is important to note that these characteristics will keep evolving as you progress through your life while encountering new situations in the personal as well as professional sphere. Hence these conclusions must be viewed in the broader context.
I absolutely agree that your insights about your child’s interest and aptitude can never be substituted by any career test’s observations. However, you should also remember that as a parent who has a strong emotional connection with the child and a pre-decided dream about her/his future, you are prone to have some biased opinions that may come in the way of your judgment.
For example, I have often seen a Mother and a Father of youngsters having very different points of view about their ward’s preferences and career decisions. This difference, you will agree, is a testimonial to the generic tendency of parents to get influenced by emotions while making key decisions about their child’s career. Fortunately, with the evolution of sophisticated psychometric tools, these biases can be easily taken care of by utilizing an appropriate psychometric assessment and a counselor.
Secondly, in case you have any doubts about the accuracy of the report, you always have the option to discuss it with a trustworthy counselor. Finally, you can also share the career test report with other close relatives who have seen your child grow. Their input is highly insightful and may add tremendous value to this consultative process.
The other point I want to emphasize is that the recommendation of any reliable career test is never about ruling out or definitively prescribing a specific career path. So you should be alarmed if a psychometric test is providing ready-to-use directions. It may be a disguised test meant for producing pre-decided recommendations. Unregulated institutions often use this trick to admit gullible students and fill classrooms.
It is heartening to hear that you are pro-actively planning your career and have arrived at a conclusion about your next steps. This is also a good time to test the level of your determination by reviewing the underlying factors that lead you to arrive at your career choice. A psychometric test can be a useful tool for this analysis exercise. I have seen that people like you who have a concrete decision can better utilize a psychometric test because they have a reference point to relate to. Fine-tuning your decision and being aware of your interest and aptitude will help you chart your career path with confidence. Interests and aptitudes are important pieces of your overall personality.
You will agree that family or societal pressure often pushes us to try deciding everything about a career too early. Also, at times, we surrender to the strong temptation of money or status associated with designations and industries. If either of these resonates with you, you must re-assess your decision and make an informed opinion.
Let us assume that your decision was correct in the first place. The psychometric test report will add more weight to your decision and you will then approach every challenge with a strong sense of determination. This attitude itself will go a long way in propelling you forward in your chosen profession as well as personal life.
Now, think of the other extreme case – your decision was misinformed and way off the mark. The test will throw some interesting suggestions that may sound counter-intuitive to you but with a counselor’s help, you can understand why those recommendations came up. At this stage also, you can either accept or reject the test report if you do not feel convinced.
As you can see, not taking a psychometric test can be costly if your perception has been influenced by imagination instead of hands-on experience. On the other hand, appearing for such a test needs a small investment of time and money with no conditions attached!
Your situation is a fairly usual occurrence that is the first sign of a satisfying professional career ahead. So please don’t feel devastated. Actually, you should be relieved of being one of those fortunate people who get a clear indication from their counselor about the career direction you should take. It generally takes a lot of brainstorming and consultations before getting uncluttered on this important aspect of your life.
The next question you must tackle is whether you should blindly follow this suggested path or re-consider your original choice? I will recommend you discuss your report with a counselor to get comfortable with the reasoning behind this revelation about yourself. You must have had some justification behind your initial decision. Don’t give that up so easily. Debate it with your counselor, parents, and other well-wishers who know you as a person. This hard debating and thinking should continue till you are satisfied.
From my personal experience, I strongly believe that in the long run, it all boils down to your ability to tap opportunities, contribute with your existing skills and learn new skills from your surroundings. Overanalyzing can freeze your thought process and create unnecessary fear. You should only be alarmed if a path that you are about to choose looks toxic and suffocating to you. Your self-confidence should not be compromised at any cost.
Your short, as well as long term success, will be closely linked to highly unpredictable human elements like the emotional state and motivation of you and your team members. These aspects are very difficult to capture unlike taught skills such as verbal and nonverbal learning. You should always be aware of this big-picture.
Contrary to popular perception, a career path does not necessarily need to be directly linked to a particular course of study. This happens because workplaces evolve much faster than educational institutions. In your case, you should be thankful for stumbling across this harsh reality of life. This is a golden opportunity for you to re-assess your career plans and make a correction in your perception.
Take, for instance, administrative service aspirants. They come from a wide array of educational backgrounds and all of them have an equal chance of being successful as long as they demonstrate their commitment to and understanding of this tough job.
Another similar example is of lawyers. You will meet lawyers who have studied science, arts, or commerce in their bachelor’s education. Later, once they gained exposure and decided on becoming a lawyer, they enrolled in the relevant program. The point I am trying to make is that there are no pre-determined generic paths to success. It completely depends on your personal level of clarity on what you want to do with your career.
Private companies are even more open-minded about people’s educational and work experience. They never differentiate among candidates just based on the educational path; it is the skill set of an individual that matters. Also, they look at the evolution of your skillset through multiple lenses such as volunteerism, part-time jobs, or full-time jobs. You should utilize all these opportunities as and when they are available to showcase your intent to contribute.
One of the articles I always recommend my students to read is from Wall Street Journal by Jane Hodges. She had penned it in 2010 but its idea is timeless. To understand the psychometric testing fever that had gripped the US at that time, she takes on multiple career tests herself and finds that all of them broadly come up with similar observations! That is the reason why we should use these assessments as mirrors and not as fortune-tellers.
Welcome to the real world! You will feel better when I tell you about one of my students who chose Arts but his assessment suggested Manufacturing. This “I chose A but my psychometric test came up with Z” is a normal situation and you should not panic.
In your particular case, the best next step will be to go ahead with your commerce program and also take up a part-time, nationally approved, professional program in health sciences. The objective is to get exposure to this field with an open mind. After you have spent 6-8 months and gained some internship experiences, you will be in a much better position to evaluate yourself fairly.
I will also strongly recommend you to read an article by Caris Thetford aptly titled “No, Really: Why There Are No Right or Wrong Career Decisions”. It covers all those disturbing thoughts we encounter when we are about to commit to any career-related decision. It will help you take a bigger picture view of your career and stop worrying unnecessarily.
You should remember the fact that a good organization is built with a team of people from diverse backgrounds and is not dependent on just one type of candidate profile. Your psychometric test has highlighted an area that aligns with your natural inclination. It is not designed to finalize a course of study for you-that is a decision that needs consultation with your parents and other well-wishers.
Currently, you need to focus on mastering the basics of whichever course you have enrolled in. They will form the pillar for all other applied knowledge you build later. Many candidates misunderstand this crucial link and later get frustrated when they find themselves lacking in stretching their skill sets while moving up their career path.
So, go ahead with a determination to hone your skills in multiple domains with the right balance between theoretical and practical know-how. Keep reviewing your career plan, making changes as you discover new opportunities and get better at leading your career!
They do and it works wonders only when you add your own intent and action towards becoming more self-aware at various stages of your life. Becoming self-aware is an ongoing process that starts when we are teenagers and continues till old age. Broadly speaking, career assessments are a questionnaire used to reveal certain aspects of your character or psychological make‐up. They can either be used to simply assess what type of person you are or, more specifically, to determine your aptitude or interest for a certain type of occupation or career. Honestly completing an inventory can help you enhance your current understanding of how you interact with the world around you both personally and professionally-which is a part of being more self-aware.
These tests have become so popular because they catalyze this process of developing a sense of self‐awareness in a structured way. I would recommend you to have realistic expectations and not look for any test to provide you ready-to-use guidelines on “steps to self-awareness”.
Another area generally misunderstood about self-awareness is its nature and relationship with our surroundings. We seldom associate self-awareness as something unconnected to the world outside us but in reality, it is closely associated with what is happening around us. Our behavioral ways of interacting with our social circle are a strong reflection of the level of our self-awareness. For example in early childhood when this awareness is low, children go about their life in a carefree way without paying much attention to how their action is being perceived by others. But as soon as they start developing their self-identity, their demeanor changes!
Finally, the common challenge that we all face with devoting our attention to self-awareness is that it takes a back-seat in the long list of our other commitments. We often feel that it is selfish to take care of our self-development and hence keep ignoring this important aspect. With the advent of psychometric tests, this wrong perception is slowly getting questioned and you will find many interesting articles on this topic in leading journals. I am listing down a few below for your reference:
It is indeed very tempting to go for a free career test and I have tried at least a dozen of them to get more clarity on this dilemma faced by my students. There are two kinds of free online career tests available. The first kinds generally show you half the picture, which is very generic, and ask you to pay to share the remaining details that are personalized. The others are completely free with no conditions attached.
I strongly recommend avoiding the second type because of multiple reasons. The primary reason is that if they are providing something completely free, their existence itself is questionable; unless they are a philanthropic initiative of a generous millionaire. This is seldom the case. Secondly, they might be using these tests to capture personal details without my consent and that sounds scary to me.
If you are keen on exploring a free test to get a hang of it, go for the ones who are using the free version to showcase their capability. Completely free tests may not serve any purpose. You and your parents should also talk to their representative and raise these doubts to compare various tests.
Trying a free test does not ask for a huge investment of your time and so I don’t see any danger in it. With an open mind and complete clarity on your objective behind taking the test, you can go ahead with the free test you have shortlisted and look at their result with a trusted counselor. This discussion will help you gauge the usefulness of the test and take an informed decision. Depending on whether it matched your expectation, you can plan your next steps.
Yes, and with so many insider guidelines floating on the internet, it is fairly easy for anyone to learn how to fake a career test. However, in my view, it is a self-harming trick to play that catches up with us soon! So, stop and think twice before learning this trick. Or, learn the trick but promise yourself that you will never use it.
Let us remember the basic fact that a career assessment’s recommendation is based on the candidate’s responses. Now, for example, if someone is taking a test for deciding on which course to choose, she/he may respond falsely to get a recommendation of her/his liking. But once the study program begins; the struggling and frustrating experience will be a clear indicator of the lie.
It is similar to the more common situation where people lie during job interviews to force-fit themselves into a role in desperation. They assume that once they get in, they can somehow manage to meet the expectations of their superiors and peers.