Top 3 Trait Tests

Today in this video we’re going to go over different types of trait tests.

Career Aptitudes Trait Tests

Essentially trait tests are used to help match people with particular career types. Now, often as we grow up we go through various stages – what are you going to be when you grow up? Oh, I’m going to be a firefighter, a fighter pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever. We come up with different things that we think we want to be as we grow up and our various aptitudes and inclinations help channel us eventually towards a career that we find more or less satisfying.

Now some people from a very early age know exactly what they’re going to be. My dad for example. When he was asked as a 12-year-old to write an essay about what he was going to be when he grew up he wrote a very strong, powerful, persuasive essay about how he was going to be an airline pilot and that’s exactly what he did. It never wavered. It never changed. Everything from that 12-year-old essay forward was aimed at him becoming an airline pilot. He flew for the Navy for six years. Then went into the commercial airline industry. Did that his whole career and retired. So some people know what they’re going to do. Other people, like me, we struggle sometimes. What are you going to be when you grow up? What are you going to do? What are you going to pursue? Well I don’t know. I have different inclinations, things I like, some things I don’t like. I’m just not sure. And when that happens these kinds of tests that I’m going to talk about can be helpful and those who work as career counselors and others trying to help people identify what they’re good at, what they have aptitude for, what they might enjoy doing often use these tests as well to help people find a career that is satisfying and help match their aptitudes their inclinations with a particular field or area of endeavor.

So as we go over these, remember the goal or the desire or the idea is to say that if here’s the type of person you are, here are your strengths and weaknesses and these career areas might be a match for you. So maybe you should explore training and/or pursuing a job in these areas based on these aptitudes.

Now, I know we want to encourage kids, and I’m not saying we should discourage kids – and we often tell them you can be anything you set your mind to. Well, I know we say that to encourage kids to try hard and not give up but there actually are limits to what we’re able to do. I remember as a high school student seeing the movie Top Gun which I know dates me. Some of you weren’t even born when Top Gun came out but maybe you’re familiar with it. Anyway Tom Cruise – fighter pilot – I came screaming home from that movie – Dad – Dad – Dad, I know what I’m going to be. He said what are you going to be son? I’m going to be a fighter pilot. Then he sat me down and he said – tell me again, son, are you color-blind? Yes sir. Do you wear corrective lenses? Yes sir. Alright that automatically rules out your career as a fighter pilot because you have to have proper color vision and you’ve got to have good uncorrected eyesight so even if I’d set my mind to becoming a fighter pilot there was no way the military was going to take me given my limitations. And so these tests help us identify strengths and weaknesses and could help channel someone towards a specific endeavor or area. Not a specific job but at least an area where they would excel.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

So going over those briefly. We have the first the Thematic Apperception Test. This was developed in the 1930s and was based on the idea of showing people pictures and as they looked at these pictures they were usually hand drawn, they were usually asked to tell a story about the picture and they believed that the person looking at the picture would draw from their internal personality to make up the story and that revealed things about themselves, things that would tell you about their likes and dislikes, their fears and phobias, things they’re good at and not good at. How they perceived the world and how they perceived themselves. Now, what they found though, as time progressed and these hand drawn pictures from the 1930s that were standardized actually led people to come up with very dark and sinister stories, so they started substituting them with photographs and then when people looked at the photograph you got more normal stories. So you know, times change, but the whole idea behind the story is looking at the picture and the person coming up with their own story about what led up to what’s happening. What’s happening now? How does it resolve and end itself? Where did it take place? All of this helps reveal what the person is inside without them knowing that’s what they’re doing. At least that’s the theory behind the test and a properly trained counselor who administers this test – it’s usually between 10 and 20 pictures – although I think there’s an official catalog of 30 or so pictures that they can draw on – or draw from – to collect their smaller sample. They then listen to what the person says and then start picking up various themes or threads of what’s true about this person’s personality – how they view the world, what they like, what they don’t like, perhaps aptitudes they have or don’t have so the TAT – the Thematic Apperception Test is one way of getting information.

Minnesota Viewpoint Test

But the Minnesota Viewpoint Test is also a diagnostic tool used by career counselors to try to come up with general aptitudes that people have and matching them into career choices. If you say you like the following things then these career choices would help match those things. So then finally the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a test developed by a mother-daughter team, and they based it on Jungian types. Jung kind of hypothesized that we’ve got types within personalities that are antithetical to each other. Some people are thinkers. Some people are feelers. Some people are extroverts. Some people are introverts. More or less it identifies what people are like in terms of their personality. For example, someone who is introverted, who is very internal and not enjoying gregarious company, you don’t want to make him head of your door-to-door sales force because he’s not going to want to knock on doors and talk to people about a product. You want an extrovert who gets energy from being around people, who likes going door-to-door initiating conversations. It doesn’t have to be a deep conversation – things like this so by identifying extroverts versus introverts and thinkers versus feelers and the various ways these can be coordinated to one another helps career counselors say this is the type of personality you are. These career choices might fit. Perhaps you should pursue training and/or applying for these type of jobs. So these are just some diagnostic tools used by counselors and there others, of course, to try to help a person discover who they are and help the counselor as well in guiding them to a career choice if they’re not like my Dad who at 12 years old knew exactly what he was going to do for the rest of his life. So for the rest of us who aren’t as certain sometimes finding out more about ourselves through these types of tests can help us with general selection in career types. Extroverts are going to be good at sales and in public speaking and things like this. Introverts may be better librarians if they’re extreme introverts. They need to be alone and they like detailed work. These sorts of things can be tested for, discovered and then you can show them a list – well here are you’re going to be most comfortable and where you’re going to excel.

Basically, this has just been a real quick overview of this whole idea of trait testing for career choices.


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: February 6, 2024