Career Assessments & Tests
Explanation of Holland's Codes and the Strong Interest Inventory
Career counselors at Career Counseling & Planning Services (CCPS) use a variety of different methods to help learn more about your career interests. One career
test that students can take at CCPS is the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). It is one of the most widely used assessments of occupational interests and is designed to compare your interests to individuals in many different occupations. While no test is able to tell you what careers you would be good at, the Strong Interest Inventory is a great place to begin looking for possible careers/majors that match your interests.
The Strong Interest Inventory was developed by three vocational psychologists named E. K. Strong, Jo-Ida Hansen, and David Campbell and was based on the work of John Holland. Holland defined six basic occupational themes (called Holland codes) that can be used to categorize occupations as well as individuals.
Characteristics of the Six Themes
Chart adapted from
||All pictures © KU University Relations
||Machines, Tools, Outdoors
||Operating Equipment, Using Tools, Building, Repairing
||Science, Theories, Ideas, Data
||Performing Lab Work, Solving Abstract Problems, Researching
||Self-Expression, Art Appreciation
||Composing Music, Writing, Creating Visual Art, Cooking
||People, Team Work, Human Welfare, Community Service
||Teaching, Explaining, Helping
||Business, Politics, Leadership, Influence
||Selling, Persuading, Managing
||Organization, Data, Finance
||Setting up procedures, Organizing, Operating
The General Occupational Themes and Basic Interest Scales from Understanding Your Results on the Strong Interest Inventory Profile 1994, Stanford University. All pictures courtesy of University of Kansas,© University Relations.
The Six Holland Codes
This category contains occupations where individuals have an interest in working with objects such as tools and machines. Mechanical creativity and physical dexterity are important skills for this theme and some of the work activities of these occupations involve operating equipment, using tools, building, and repairing. Individuals who score high on this theme prefer dealing with things rather than with ideas or people. Some of the careers in this category include auto mechanic, construction worker, plumber, carpenter, and jobs in agriculture.
This group of occupations centers around an interest in science, theories, ideas, and data. Analytical skills are important for this group and some of the common work activities are performing lab work, solving abstract problems and researching. A high score in this theme is indicative of someone who is creative, prefers to think through problems, and enjoys challenges. Some of the careers in this category include biologist, audiologist, chemist, physicist, meteorologist, psychologist, and physician.
This theme includes occupations involving self-expression and art appreciation. Some of the skills needed in these occupations are creativity, talent, and artistic expression. Composing music, writing, and creating visual art are a few of the work activities involved in careers in this category. High scorers have artistically oriented interests and a greater need for individual expression, and generally describe themselves as original, expressive and unconventional. Some of the careers in this category include artist, cartoonist, composer, editor, writer, advertising executive, and photographer.
This category contains occupations that involve working with people such as human welfare and community service. People skills such as listening and showing understanding are very important for this category. Teaching, helping, and explaining are all potential work activities for this category. Someone who scores high in this category tends to be sociable, humanistic and get along well with others. Some of the careers in this category include nurse, physical therapist, social worker, teachers, speech therapist, and athletic trainer.
Occupations with an interest in business and leadership roles can be found in this theme. Communicating with others and an ability to motivate and direct others are important skills for these occupations; selling, managing and persuading are all possible work activities. Those who score high in this theme are often described as ambitious and enthusiastic. They tend to prefer social environments in which they can assume leadership and enjoy persuading others to their viewpoints. Some of the careers in this category include human resources director, marketing executive, investments manager, and store manager.
This category consists of occupations with an interest in organization, data and finance. Math, data analysis, record keeping and attention to detail are all important skills for these occupations. A high score in this theme indicates that an individual is most effective when dealing with well-defined tasks. In addition, these individuals prefer to know precisely what is expected of them and could be described as orderly and dependable. Some of the careers in this category include accountant, banker, credit manager, secretary, small business owner, and paralegal.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Another career assessment offered by CCPS is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). While the Strong Interest Inventory is designed to gain information about your preferences and inclinations, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment designed to provide feedback about an individual's patterns of behavior. The assessment was created by Isabel Briggs-Myers and Katharine Briggs and was based on the theory of psychological types by Carl Jung. The MBTI can be helpful for undecided students in several ways. It can show how an individual likes to make decisions, organize his or her life, and acquire information. The MBTI can also demonstrate where an individual focuses his or her attention (on the outer world of people and things or inner world of ideas) and what types of career environments may be best suited to their personality.
The MBTI identifies four separate dichotomies. An individual is assumed to have a preference for one of each pair of opposites over the other. For example, each person's MBTI Code will include only one letter from each row (e.g. INTJ). It is important to note that a preference for one alternative of each dichotomy does not mean that the opposite, less-preferred side is never used. With the information provided, individuals can investigate what careers and work environments may best match their preferences. By utilizing the MBTI and the Strong Interest Inventory together, students are able to construct a more accurate perception of their individual career interests and personal strengths.
Table adapted from Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Career Report by Consulting Psychologists Press
|Where a person focuses his or her attention
|People who prefer Extraversion tend to focus on the outer world of people and things
||People who prefer Introversion tend to focus on the inner world of ideas and impressions
|The way a person gathers information
|People who prefer Sensing tend to focus on the present and on concrete information gained from their senses
||People who prefer Extraversion tend to focus on the future, with a view toward patterns and possibilities
|The way a person makes decisions
|People who prefer Thinking tend to base their decisions primarily on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect
||People who prefer Feeling tend to base their decisions primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns
|How a person deals with the outer world
|People who prefer Judging tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled
||People who prefer Perceiving tend to like a flexible and spontaneous approach to life and prefer to keep their options open
How do I take the Career Assessments?
To take the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and/or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI), just call CCPS for an initial appointment (864-2768). During this initial appointment, you will meet with a career counselor to discuss your background, previous career interests, and other factors related to your career decision. This provides you and your career counselor with the necessary background information in order to get the best results from the SII and the MBTI. After the initial meeting, you will be given instructions so you can take the career assessments on the internet at your convenience. After the tests have been completed and scored (typically at least two working days), you and your career counselor will go through the results together in order to discuss how this information relates to your specific situation. The fee for taking the SII and/or the MBTI is $25 for current KU students. CCPS does not allow students to take any career assessments without meeting with a career counselor for an initial session and a feedback session.
Click here for more information on Making An Appointment and CCPS Fees.