Assessment Tools: Avoid the Pitfalls; Reap the Benefits

I’m a structured person and consequently am drawn to psychometrics assessment tools as a helpful method in client/needs assessment. The variety of tests, inventories, and checklists out there is astounding. Tools are available for almost anything from the well-known personality or interest inventories used in career planning workshops to general aptitude or conflict style used by employers for employee screening or development. Results can be compared to specific occupations, geographic regions, genders, age groups, or more. Smarter, reactive tools can even adjust through the testing process directing test takers to different questions based on how they are responding.

testAlthough the scores on such tools can provide insight into your client on a variety of dimensions, it’s important to not get lost in the number provided or to over, or under, interpret results. Keep in mind that psychometric tools are valuable tools, but they are just that, tools.

It’s best to conceptualize “assessment” is an overarching process where career practitioners seek to support their clients to develop a better understanding of themselves. Although psychometric assessment tools can support a process of self-discovery; they won’t always be  appropriate. Be sure to use a variety of methods (e.g., questioning, visioning) from your toolbox when working with clients. Decide, together, what assessment methods work best; clients, after all, are the experts on themselves.


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