Assessment Forum – Cohort 4

Instructions:  You have been asked to help design a career assessment program for your customers. What are one or two assessments [formal or informal] you would use with your customers? Make one original post and then respond to one classmate’s post. You will make a total of two posts.

Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

49 thoughts on “Assessment Forum – Cohort 4”

  1. Kathy Sarmiento says:

    I work with mostly youth, and when I ask them what career they would like to go into, the usual response is something that makes lots of money or they have no idea. I like to start them off with an interest profiler assessment on CAcareerzone that uses the Holland Code to match them with jobs with a similar interest based on their results. Once they get the results they reflect on if the jobs that were matched are of an interest to them. If the job matches it is encouraged for them to research more information about the career, like is training needed, what skills do they need, or what that person might be doing on a daily basis on that job. This hopefully gets them thinking about whether it is something they would enjoy to do but also the results can offer an insight about if the job is in high demand in their area.

    1. Serena Mosteller says:

      Yes, I have similar experiences. Many of my customers choose careers because they’ve heard that the job pays well and a high salary is their main motivation. Often they are being influenced by family and friends to pursue a particular position. I agree that comparing their interest with the actual duties of their chosen position can serve as a “reality check”.

      1. Renee Brooks says:

        I agree we use the Onet assessment with customer to assist with identifying customers work related interest and focus on their career job searches. We work with adults they may have not worked in a while and are continuing to seek an career but are not sure which field they would like to seek, so we start with the Onet assessment first. At time we need to advise some additional training to continue in the field they would like to seek a career. Also at times the customer may change their mind and want a career in a total different field.

        1. Tracy Forbush says:

          We’re in a similar situation, Renee. Even if a client comes to us knowing what they want to study, or what career path they want to pursue, we ask them to complete the Onet assessment first. Then we use that as a conversation starter to compare their results to what they think they want to do.

    2. Jahmiel McBride says:

      I agree, Kathy. I think the interest profiler assessment is a great resource because its helps clients match their interests with possible occupations. Working in a public library and with mainly adults, I see a lot of people looking to reevaluate their careers or look for new opportunities where they can find satisfaction in their jobs. With adults there may not be much room for risks, so I would use this interest profiler with the O*Net Workplace Importance Locator as well. With teens, I might apply some of the Krumboltz’s methodology, because I would encourage them to keep their options open and to test their dream out to ensure their interest matches their job choice and it’s not just a hobby.

    3. La-Toya Jones says:

      I most certainly agree, that with youth they cannot bypass the thought of making money. Especially when they come from a community that has low socio economic status surronding them. It is hard to get them to passed the money game. I think that the Holland code is a great place to start with them, allowing them to see beyond money and actually take a true look at their own skills. Opening up a career journey, that they may have never explored.

  2. Serena Mosteller says:

    I like to start with a skills inventory because it gives the client a chance to brag on herself. She can get comfortable sharing her experiences and how well she performed certain skills. If she lacks confidence and can’t identify her skillset, I can help identify skills that she may not have undervalued.

    A second assessment choice that I like is an abilities test. This can offer affirmation if the client has chosen an appropriate career path. Conversely, it can offer a reality check if the client’s aspirations are not congruent with the desired career path.

    1. Kathy Sarmiento says:

      I agree Serena. Giving them a chance to brag about themselves might get them to more comfortable and open when conversing. Talking about ones self is one of the hardest things. Sometimes just by helping them realize the skills they have will help build their confidence and see that they have a skill set that is valuable.

    2. Shawnda Walker says:

      I also think the skills inventory and abilities test are a great place to start. At times its difficult in my office because a lot of our customers have problems with discussing their own skills. They try to tell you more of what you want to hear. I also agree that both assessments help guide the customers to the correct career path.

  3. Jahmiel McBride says:

    For a formal assessment instrument, I would use the O*Net Interest Profiler because it’s web-based and easy to use. This assessment will provide clients with scores based on Holland’s R-A-I-S-E-C Interest structure, and also show them possible job fits based on their preparation level. For an informal assessment instrument, I would use the O*Net Workplace Importance Locator. This assessment assist clients in identifying what’s important to them in a job, what would take for them to be satisfied with what they do. Understanding my client’s interests, skills, and values will help me to give them advice on what they need to do to pursue their career goals.

    1. Christi Goni says:

      I agree, Jahmiel. Understanding our client’s interests, skills, and values is extremely helpful when trying to offer advice and guidance in regard to pursuit of their career goals. Job satisfaction can have a big impact on job retention so taking these steps early on can make a big difference in our client’s long term success.

    2. Zachary Jones says:

      I can definitely agree with you Jahmiel we want to understand our client interest , skills, and values. I feel by understanding these 3 elements we can better serve. Even if there choice may be to start their own business, at least assessing these three elements can lead to a better career fit and longevity. I also feel like this method of operation will make it easier to really get to the root of what a individual really aspires to do with their career.

    3. Yassin Kargbo says:

      I would definitely use the O*Net Interest Profiler when it comes to dealing with teens. From my experience most teens usually do not know what they want to do when it comes to choosing a career path. Using the O*Net Interest Profiler would help me speed up the process and help me narrow what their career interests are.

  4. Christi Goni says:

    My client’s range in age from 18 year old’s that did not qualify for our Youth Program to retired adults looking to re-enter the workforce. There are many useful assessments available but I feel like their relevance can depend largely on the stage of life a participant is in. I often refer youth aged client’s to the O*Net Interest Profiler or the Interest Profiler at However, with older Adults and Dislocated workers I often find that assessments such as the Values Inventory at are very helpful and well received. The fact that they are easy to use for those that are not particularly computer savvy is also a big plus.

  5. Renee Brooks says:

    I work with adults so the formal and informal assessment would probably be used by staff depending on their roles. Our ultimate is to get as much information we can from the customer to assist with seeking full time employment. Sometimes the career agent will use the informal assessment to gather information pertinent information about the customer. At times we have used the Onet assessment to receive accurate and reliable interest that will help them identify the career interest. The Onet Interest Profiler is an exploration tool that can help the customer discover the type of occupations they would like and find interesting.

    1. ayang says:

      I agree with you. Helping clients find the right career or work for full time employment is great. Finding the right job will make clients feel happier and more likely to stay within the company.

  6. Tracy Forbush says:

    We tend to use the Onet assessment as a way to start the conversation, whether a client knows what career they want to pursue or not. Sometimes the results match up with their intended path, and sometimes the results may show that the path they think they want to pursue may not be the best fit. Either way, it’s a good place to start the conversation. But, if there are discrepancies, we may arrange for a tour or informational interview with an institution or person who works in that field. For example, we get a lot of clients who come to us saying they want to go into health care professions, but after their Onet assessment, it shows that health care may not be the best field for their actual interests. In that case, we can reach out to our partner schools to arrange for a tour of the nursing school and clinical labs. We could also arrange for job shadowing with our in-home support or hospice teams so that the client could see what a day in the life of a nurse might look like. The assessment is the jumping off point, but it isn’t the end of the conversation by any means.

    1. Sarah Brown says:

      I appreciate that you don’t treat the assessment as the end-all, be-all. By arranging for job shadowing opportunities, you are giving your clients the control to make the best decisions for themselves, which I feel is the ultimate buy-in. When reviewing an abilities assessment profile that doesn’t quite line up with a client’s career choice, I like to let them know that it’s not ruling the career out, they may just have to work harder in one area in order to make it happen. Definitely not a conversation ender.

    2. William McIntyre says:

      It is great that you move beyond the assessment with exploratory options like work experience (WEX), adult internships, and job shadowing to provide clients with a real world application. Often times case managers do not help people fill in the missing pieces to make an informed decision. It is important to walk customer through the process with patience and understanding.

  7. Aaron Leson says:

    Great comments so far from everyone on this chat board. Very impressive and keep sharing the information. Build your knowledge and your networks.

  8. Sarah Brown says:

    I have worked on both the Young Adult and Adult/DW/Discretionary Grants teams and generally feel that doing an interest assessment, such as ONET’s Interest Profiler (or Personality Mosaic for those without internet access/computer proficiency), provides valuable information to get the conversation started; whether to confirm an expressed interest area or to begin exploring career avenues. My organization the ability to provide clients with another assessment, CareerScope, that is also an abilities/aptitude profiler, to further assist us with our client conversations and planning.
    I think it’s also important to understand personal values and motivators, so I would recommend the Work Importance Profiler ( We currently offer the Predictive Index assessment for both clients and staff, which also helps to determine these traits, drives and needs. I appreciate the variety of assessment tools at my disposal to best suit the individualized needs of our clients.

    1. William McIntyre says:

      I totally agree. These are great assessment tools. Moreover, you have included what motivates them, which is the game changer. People overcome many obstacles based on their motivation and passion.

  9. Zachary Jones says:

    In my experience, I generally encounter young adults or first time employees with little to no experience, and those who have been out of work for a period of time. My ideal method of assessment would be to start a client with both a life values skills inventory or a O*Net skills inventory. I feel this can help with making sure the client is well prepared but also see where the client is at on a skill level. Life values will help you to understand the basic needs of the individual as it will tell you how they prioritize the major life roles. Where as the O*Net skills inventory gives a baseline as for what foundational skills they have and what will be needed by the individual for success. It also provides a slight insight into the interest based on the skills they choose, even if the ones chosen are skills they look to acquire. This followed with O*Net Interest Profiler, can allow a client and you to understand what needs to be done in order to be prepared or enter an particular career field. I think the foundational work for a career field and knowing what that looks like, is what is going to be needed as it will help refine career choice. But also understanding the skills needed and taking the particular time to work on these skills will lead to overall sustainability and longevity in a career choice. So in my opinion a good overall process is identifying the basic life necessities(roles), determine skills necessary or needed, and then discover the interest and build from there.

    1. Clark Davis says:

      Zachary – I feel like our clients are very similar. Many of mine have a very limited range of work experience, which often times is a means to make ends meet and therefore does not produce much satisfaction at the end of the day. I think it’s a really great idea to promote a job search based on skills and values so that the clients can feel empowered by and proud of their choices… even if they don’t land the dream job. Some times the first step in the right direction is the most important one!

    2. Shandra Womack says:

      Zachary, I totally agree with you. The ONET Skills Inventory is another great tool for first time employees. This is a very important piece of the puzzle. This tool definitely identifies what life skills they already have to prepare for next steps towards employment or career goals.

    3. Nikiesha Virgil says:

      I agree with your comment regarding life values. I find that even when clients identify their interests, their values sometimes are the determining factor in which direction they would like to pursue. Generally one assessment can never tell the whole story. If we are to set our clients up for success the more they understand themselves (interests, abilities, values, motivations), the higher the probability that they would choose careers that make them.happy and successful

    4. Brittany Switzer says:

      I agree. It is definitely important to understand how the customer prioritizes their life roles, as well as showing the customer what their future career will look like. A lot of times customers think they would like to pursue a certain career based on what they have seen others do around them like a family member or friend, rather than what they are actually interested in and are a good fit for. An assessment may reveal a completely different path for the customer.

  10. Clark Davis says:

    Many of the clients that come to my organization are looking for either a quick job or a change of scenery. The area where I work is home to many, many mushroom farms where virtually anybody can get a job if they’re willing to work hard enough. These jobs are fine for anybody looking to quickly make ends meet, but usually do not pay very well and don’t allow for the employees to really express their skills and values. For those clients who might be ready to move beyond “just a job,” the O*Net Interest Profiler seems like a great way to for them to learn more about themselves and what would make them feel most satisfied in the workplace.
    Conversely, I really like the MySkills MyFuture skills matching tool for my clients that have a firm grasp on what they like to do, but are having trouble finding opportunities where they can showcase their skills. MySkills MyFuture allows job searchers to find job types similar to ones that they have done or have interest in. It also finds local job listings for each type as well as typical wage ranges and education requirements. It does a lot of my job search work for me!

  11. Shandra Womack says:

    Being able to successfully work with out of school youth (18-24) for the last three years has been a pleasure. I’ve learned that some youth just need to work right now and others want to return to school. I educate my class about the different between having a job and having a career. This allows me to assist individuals accordingly and break them up into two groups. One group will be my career seekers and my other group will be my job seekers.
    ONET Interest Profiler is a excellent tool that is great for job seekers and career seekers alike. This formal assessment does not required the use of an email (90% of youth do not remember their email information) and this assessment can be saved to the assigned computer. I explain to my youth that this is not a test and that there are no right or wrong answers. That this ONET Interest Profiler assessment consist of 12 to 60 easy-to-read multiple choice questions. This assessment takes about five to ten minutes for participants to complete. Once this assessment has been completed, it will provide a series of numbers and coded letters (Holland’s Code…R, I, A, S, E, and C). Two copies are printed. The first copy is for the individual and the second copy will be filed away in the individual’s personal file. From there, the participant can search for jobs (job zones, my next move) or careers (my next move, education) on ONET using provided codes.

  12. La-Toya Jones says:

    I work with youth from middle school to high school and am currently focused on the seniors and their post secondary plans. Currently, I am using a formal assessement called This assessment has allowed me to open the doors with the students who for example answer the question of “what do you want to do when you graduate?” with the response of ” I plan to be a youtuber”; to explore the possibilites of their interests more. This assessment provides the students and I with a resource that has allowed us to prioritize their interests, towards future career goals and review their journey on getting there. It gives us further details on fields, College majors and so much more. The other assessment that I would explore using with my students is the Holland Party Game. This would be an interactive way to support students in exploring their career interests. I believe this would be a creative way for students to engage more in their career assessment; students love creativity and interactive resources that support their growth. This style will draw them away from the normal day to day assessements completed through their education system.

  13. Yassin Kargbo says:

    Working for the public library in a very diverse county, I am exposed to customers with various backgrounds and needs. Therefore, I would rather use an informal assessment. Working with a diverse group of customers, it would be less challenging to get a customer to participate in an informal assessment versus a formal assessment because it is less structured than standardized tests. Though informal assessments are not monitored for validity, reliability or bias, informal assessments are less intimidating and allow for a variety of responses. These factors make informal assessments more accessible for experienced job seekers as well as those who have less experience. From my experience, when a customer needs assistance with finding a job or fixing their resume, they are usually in a rush because they have limited time to apply for the job. They are also sometimes embarrassed that they are in the library asking for help to find a job and may feel intimidated by a formal assessment. An ideal situation would be to combine formal and informal assessments based on the customers needs.

    1. Eboni Young says:

      I agree. When working with diverse populations an informal assessment provides an opportunity to engage with your client and learn about their values and culture as it relates to employment. I’ve worked with an international organization that focused on assisting women from diverse backgrounds and found the informal assessments were the most beneficial when ascertaining their needs. You learn a lot about various cultures and their views on women in the workplace. This included what career paths the client valued most.

  14. William McIntyre says:

    Currently, we work with an adult population that receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits get into the workforce in the District of Columbia. After we conduct an orientation, our staff conducts formal and informal assessments. The formal assessment is O*NET Interest Profiler that provides customers with choices of possible careers. We encourage them to probe deeper into the choices because self-efficacy is essential element of the process. Therefore, after the formal assessment, we use Solution Focus techniques to extract their needs, barriers, desires, experiences, etc. The Solution Focus approached used a combination of scaling, exception finding questions, and/or miracle/the problem is gone questioning. Solution-Focused is a short-term goal-focused evidence-based method which aids customers’ change by developing a solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Coupling these strategies with case coaching and a non-bias approach helps customers on developing S.M.A.R.T. goals and steps to move them forward.

  15. Nikiesha Virgil says:

    I work.largely with adult clients. The type of assessments I do are Holland Self-directed search. Then I take the time to explore the results and relate their code to occupations for which their code might be congruent. I use this as a starting g point then to go to O*NET and explore those careers.

    Other types of assessments include values and skills assessments which I access through Virginia Workforce Connection.

  16. Shawnda Walker says:

    Our agency works primarily with adults. I would use an informal assessment on paper because it is less structured. We use several forms that have forced choice; this helps to prevent the customer from becoming overwhelmed. After reviewing the initial assessment, I like to do a structured interview to get more information on the forced questions.

    1. Jaleen Walker says:

      Shawnda, I also prefer informal assessments because I work with adults too. An interpersonal approach is my favorite way to evaluate a prospective employee. When you take the time to converse with clients and ask them specific investigative questions with a non-invasive technique, they will often tell you what interests them.

      1. ambuehler says:

        I also work with TANF here in Alaska. I love SMART goal planning. I think working through that and evaluating where participants are in the steps of change continuum leads to long term success.

  17. Brittany Switzer says:

    I work with the TANF population in DC. The goal of our program is to place the customers in education and training which will lead them to employment. The first assessment I would use is the My Next Move assessment through Onet. This allows the customer to identify which career path they would like to take. From there we can determine the trainings or trainings that are needed to be successful in their desired career path. Additionally, a CASAS assessment is needed. This gives us an idea of the customers skill and education level, so they can be placed in the proper classes. For instance, a customer may want to go into the healthcare field, but may read at a 5th grade level. Thus, before the customer can begin classes which are specified to that desired field, they will need to complete some fundamental reading and math classes.

    1. Chekevia Mims says:

      I can agree with this statement. however it may take them a few times to understand and acknowledge that maybe the first choice isn’t the best choice, but to ensure them that they are well supported behind the decisions they make tend to help successfully reach the final goal of education and fulfill that step or level in life to get them to the next level. Providing them with the basic materials, tutoring and self taught resources can set forth an outcome of achievement for them. With that they can and more likely take the next step with their goals and set for the the paths to an excellent career.

  18. Jaleen Walker says:

    Working in Human Resources has revealed how much personality and behaviors impact career choices and career performance. When attempting to hire the best person for a job, formal assessments are frequently used. I like the Holland Code and Onet assessment because they focus on personality and interests. There are some customers that will have one dominate trait and others who will have a few. Having evaluative data before placing a person in a job can help us to match the customer with the best career based on their assessment results.

    1. Martin Copeland, III says:

      It’s really interesting to see HR professionals use this assessment and others in the hiring process. I honestly didn’t know they did. This can only aid in the selection process and I’m now interested to see how occupations outside of career professionals could incorporate these assessments.

  19. Chekevia Mims says:

    Working with DHS I have learned to understand that many challenges are hidden agenda’s for the clients which can result in them never adhering to the requirements that have been set for them by DHS. We use Onet to assessment for the clients to break the ice and leave the window of communication so that they themselves can see the goals that they have set for themselves from the results of the assessment.

    When an client can see what goals they have set in pace for themselves it gives them a sense of pride along with the mere fact that they are on the correct path to reaching that goal. This is when you begin to use the Formal and Informal solutions with the clients. While assessing them you can also assist them with creating the steps to set forth to ensure that once they conquer one step then they are able to conquer another step. majority of the customers work well with visual goal than verbal goals.

  20. Martin Copeland, III says:

    Working with youth, I’ve always started with the O*NET Interest Profiler. It introduces our participants to career options that many of them had never previously considered. It also validates the interests many of them already had. I always do the party game, first, though. It’s a great way to introduce the concept in a fun, active way. I create party corners around the room, play music, describe the corners and instruct the participants to choose the corner in which they’d most like to hang out. Once they have a Holland Code, they are then able to compare their results from the Party Game to their results from the Interest Profiler, which are most often similar.
    As an informal assessment, I also introduce the Work Values assessment, which allows participants to select three of their most important work values from a list of 25. These values demonstrate what the participant perceives as being essential to their fulfilment, productivity and success in the workplace.

  21. Eboni Young says:

    In my experience, I’ve learned it is best to allow the client to see what natural talents they possess. This aids in the thought process of work/life values and how they play a major role in selecting a career path that is conducive to their current status. I introduce a combination of the Holland Vocational Choice Theory and the Career Zone Workplace Importance Profiler, since the results of both are usually the same. This aides in the career path choice for the client. The combination assist with the trust factor of the client as well. It helps ensure them, that I have their best interest in mind. The simplicity of the Holland Theory provides a level of comfort for clients who may not have a clear understanding of their talents and how to apply them. The results from the Party Game is a gateway to a discussion on career choice. As a follow-up, I like to have clients complete the Career Zone Workplace Importance Profiler. This secondary assessment allows additional insight to the core values of the work place that the client may perform well in. The profiler provides five areas of workplace importance with a focus on the top two. This profiler is key when honing in on a career path for the client.

    1. lgrijalva says:

      I agree with you, Although some customers take the assessment and don’t believe what the outcome is. These assessments will let them know what career choice could be right for them.

  22. mcervantes says:

    Unfortunately, we live in a very rural area where job opportunities are limited. The majority of our clients come in with their minds set on in-demand training opportunities to become more employable within our local industry. We are very careful when we administer the O*NET Profiler , because in many cases, their interests may not be ideal or attainable careers within our community. In most cases, the individual would have to relocate, to successfully find employment, within the identified area of interest. We would not want to create more boundaries or barriers for them nor mislead them, therefore, we need to be realistic in considering potential opportunities when offering career guidance .

  23. ambuehler says:

    When I first meet with a participant I do what I call an employment assessment. This is a loose term because the assessment covers Housing transportation, support network, resources, career goals, prior education, plans for childcare, potential DV, SUD, or medical barriers. In order to better serve a participant I like to get a snapshot of their life to better assist in their employment journey. A second assessment I like to refer for People is a barriers assessment. This can provide diagnosis, educational assessment, and discuss learning style as maybe someone struggles with written form or struggles with following directions. If I understand the barriers then I can better assit the participant.

  24. ayang says:

    One method I use is to ask my clients what their experience is, what their interests are and how I can help them. I let them talk and explain while I take notes and listen. A more fun and interactive method used to help my clients is process of elimination (career development assessment). I give my clients a pack of cards with one occupation on each card. They sort and narrow it down through a half hour to an hour process. Once the client has narrowed what they are interested in, any programs we provide we help them with and those not provided by us are referred to other program providers.

  25. rrleeper says:

    When working with clients the main focus is informal. We work with clients on their interests, abilities, completing structured worksheets, etc. I feel that an informal approach is less intimidating and a better way to build report with clients. A formal approach can make people nervous and defensive. While my job title uses informal approach, there are other programs that do use a formal approach such as our GED services.

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