Friday, 18 September 2020

Types of Career Inventories

There are many types of career inventories, and for someone new to the field, the differences between them might seem rather esoteric or arcane. So I thought I would do a short post and quickly illustrate the differences.

Most of the following lend themselves to either a qualitative or a quantitative method, but some - such as aptitude tests - are largely, even solely, quantitative. In general, inventories are not considered qualitative assessments. However, some - such as interests and values - can be understood using a card sort, a narrative technique, or via interactive drawing therapy (IDT). 
Aptitude: Aptitude tests are not often used in NZ, but they may sometimes be used to identify those who have the highest performance where there are limited places. IQ tests fit this category.
Skills: Skills tests are those such as TOSA (for Word, Excel etc), literacy, numeracy, or digital competence tests
Interest: Interest inventories are those which measure where our interests lie such as Holland codes/RIASEC and CareerQuest
Personality: Personality tests are those that measure the personality we have, such as HBDI, MBTI, DISC, Smalleys, etc.
Decision: Decision assessments are those that help clients to learn more about the way they think about their career choices and explore new ways of thinking about their decisions, such as the Career Thoughts Inventory (CTI), or the Career Decision State Survey (CDSS)
Achievement: Our education qualifications, exams, etc. That we meet a certain standard of performance.   
Values: Values inventories are those which measure our values, such as Work Values inventory, life values inventory, work and motives inventory.
I hope that helps!


  • Osborn, D. S., & Zunker, V. G. (2016). Using Assessment Results for Career Development (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.
  • DigiNole. (2020). Career State Inventory (CSI) as a Measure of Readiness for Career Decision Making
  • Saunders, D. E. (2014). Using the Career Thoughts Inventory in Practice: Helping Clients Shift from Self-Doubt to Certainty. Career Planning and Adult Development Journal, 30(4), 101-114.

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