Friday, February 12, 2010

Assessment Tests

Some of the most common questions I get from workshop attendees and clients alike have to do with the validity and helpfulness of assessment tests.

There is no answer to the "which test is best" question because it depends on your needs and your level of self-awareness.

If you are highly self-aware, many assessment tests are going to fail the So What Test. In other words, they'll confirm what you already know. Worse, many of them aren't actionable.

One of the most famous, and best marketed, tests is the Myers-Briggs. I am well aware that a lot of people claim to get value out of that test. But what horrifies me is the pathological attachment some people have to their results. One person I know won't date people who aren't a "match" her four-letter Myers-Briggs category. Putting that kind of faith into anything is not a good strategy. In fact, it's not a strategy at all. It's stupidity.

I bring this up today because I just finished reading an interesting article about Myers-Briggs specifically that confirmed the hesitations I have had over the years:

If your purpose in taking an assessment is to get a better handle on the types of careers that might interest you, the best test I've found by far is in Pamala Oslie's book, Life Colors. Talk about accuracy. It's the only test I've ever taken that listed motivational speaker as a possible career. Of the other 20-30 possibilities mentioned in the results, I had either done or considered 75% of them.

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