Career Planning Skills Development Self-Assessment: How To Evaluate Your Performance Learning about yourself can help you get ahead By Carissa Rawson Carissa Rawson Carissa Rawson is a personal finance and credit cards expert who has been featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Business Insider, and The Points Guy. Carissa earned a bachelor's from the American Military University and has an MBA from Norwich University, an M.S. from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently pursuing an MFA from National University. learn about our editorial policies Updated on August 29, 2022 In This Article View All In This Article How To Complete a Self-Assessment Tips for Self-Assessments Benefits of a Self-Assessment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: Cavan Images / Iconica / Getty Images Are you trying to figure out what you’re good at? Perhaps you’re wondering what type of career you should be considering—or maybe you’re already in the field and want to know where you can improve. A self-assessment can help you identify your strengths, where they fit into your work, and any aptitudes you may have. Let’s look at self-assessments, how to complete one, and the benefits they can provide for you. Key Takeaways Self-assessments can be great tools to learn more about yourself and can be administered to students or professionals in the workforce.Use a self-assessment to direct your future, whether you’re declaring a major or when changing careers.A wide variety of free self-assessments are available online. How To Complete a Self-Assessment Varying types of self-assessments provide different information. If you’re a student trying to decide what to study, a self-assessment can be an excellent way to give yourself some direction. A job candidate or employee may take a self-assessment to determine a good workplace fit. Student Self-Assessments For students, interest assessments include questions about what they like to do, such as writing, working with their hands, or advising people. Other assessments may identify your values, personality, needs, and wants, which will provide insights into your interests, which you can use to decide on a field of study. Other self-assessment tools use research and knowledge to investigate your: Business-relevant skills, motivators, and interestsAffinity for certain organizational culturesLeadership styleStrengths and talentsUnique interests, and how they connect to the work world Career Self-Assessments Those who already have careers or jobs can also find value in a self-assessment. These assessments will vary slightly from those used by students, as people with work experience have a wider variety of skills. If you’re not satisfied with your current career, a self-assessment can help you identify any skills you have that could transfer to a new occupation and career that may be a better fit. Companies may also use assessment tools in the initial hiring process or to hire or promote from within—many of which predict job performance. These include: Cognitive abilities assessments: Math, verbal, reading comprehension, and other abilitiesJob knowledge tests: What an employee already knows, needed to carry out a jobBiodata tests: Background, personal characteristics, or interests corresponding to job dutiesPersonality tests: Personal traitsIntegrity tests: Specific traits, such as honesty, dependability, and trustworthiness Tips for Self-Assessments A self-assessment is about learning who you are as a person. To that end, here are some tips for ensuring your self-assessment delivers the best results. Timeliness Taking a self-assessment usually is a good idea, especially if you’re interested in learning more about yourself. However, there are times when it makes even more sense to complete one. Completing one (or several) different assessments before declaring a university major is a good idea, as is taking one to determine your transferable skills before quitting your career. Research Your Options Many career and aptitude tests are free online or through your college’s or university’s career center, although some institutions charge for in-depth testing. Other companies offer testing as part of the career process. For example, the Myers-Briggs Personality Test has been used by 88 of Fortune 100 companies. Note Assessment tools to try out include the O*Net Interest Profiler based on The Holland Code and Princetonreview.com’s career quiz. The U.S. Department of Labor’s site CareerOneStop features various free tests, including a skill-matcher test and an interest assessment. You can enter your current occupation and see related careers in the career-matching section. It also offers cross-referencing of your strongest skills against a list of matching occupations. Honesty It may be tempting to put your best foot forward when taking a self-assessment exam. However, it’s essential to be as honest as possible. Answering all the questions as you “think” they should be answered, or in a way that doesn’t reflect how you feel, invalidates the test. Not being truthful with your answers will give you a test result that isn’t accurate to your situation. Reflect Take time to reflect on the results of the self-assessment. Consider your initial reactions to the results. Were you surprised by anything? What did you learn about yourself? How can you apply this knowledge to your future? Then, think about how to apply the results, such as making changes or investigating or setting new goals. You may need to reframe your next steps or speak with people who can provide information on what skills or resources you need to move forward. Benefits of a Self-Assessment The biggest benefit of self-assessment is gaining a greater understanding of who you are. Although this may seem obvious, it can lead to positive development and changes in your life. Let’s say, for example, that you’re in your sophomore year in college. You’re studying biology and planning to become a doctor. However, you’re struggling in the few classes related to your major (after wrapping up general ed). You don’t find the content interesting and have difficulty memorizing all the information. Rather than continue down a path that doesn’t suit you, consider taking a self-assessment to see where else your strengths and interests may lie. The Bottom Line Self-assessments can be a strong tool for personal growth. Learning about your aptitudes, strengths, areas of weakness, and skills can help direct you to a career (and lifestyle) that best suits your personality. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How often should I use self-assessments? At a minimum, you’ll want to complete a self-assessment when significant changes occur in your life, such as at the start of the career development process. Starting a new degree, jumping to a new career, or receiving a promotion are good times to take a self-assessment and learn more about your aptitudes. How many questions should I ask myself during a self-assessment? The number of questions you’ll want to ask—or be asked—during a self-assessment depends on the test you’re taking. Are you simply investigating your personality type? Do you have transferable skills? These tests will be shorter than in-depth self-assessments intended to study multiple aspects of your personality, including an interest inventory. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. SHRM. "Selection Assessment Methods." The Myers-Briggs Company. "MBTI Facts & Common Criticisms."