Career Assessments have the opportunity to provide students with invaluable guidance, bolster their relationship with counselors and prompt action. Yet, too often none of these outcomes are spurred by career assessment because people aren’t engaged when they’re taking them.
For students to appreciate and act on the guidance of a career assessment, they need to have fun taking it. Here’s why:
1. You Can’t Learn when You’re Bored
Think back to the last time you were bored. Were you ready to learn? Where you concentrated on what you were doing? Of course not. Being bored ensures your mind will wander.
For college students, boredom directly leads to lower grades in classes. Moreover, students who are bored are more likely to “disengage academically, display disruptive behavior, cut class, and drop out.”
Let’s be clear boredom is bad.
2. Repetition causes Boredom
Boredom is the negative feeling that arises when you want to participate in an engaging activity but are unable to. A lot of things can cause boredom but one of the most common is repetitive tasks.
People don’t engage in activities that are mundane and repeated. When we began working on career assessments we found out that static questions can be perceived by users as both mundane and repetitive.
To give you an example, we would watch people take a Myers-Briggs Theory based career assessment and begin to disengage after the third question assessing the same thing. Try for yourself, on a scale of 1 to 5:
- I find it difficult to introduce myself to other people.
- I enjoy being the center of attention in group settings
- I find it easy to make new friends and introduce myself to others
By the end, you know what you are answering and you want to move on. There is nothing in the content or process to engage you, so with every additional question you disengage a little bit more.
Our realization was that you must ask as few questions as possible about each component. Moreover, whenever possible the questions should be personalized for the user, so they feel a sense of engagement between the instrument and themselves.
Our solution to this was two fold. First we had to identify questions that had the highest correlation value with what they were assessing. For the Myers-Briggs that would mean every extrovert would answer positively and every introvert would answer negatively. We also wanted to stop asking questions once someone clearly showed their disposition, so we score our career assessment live and stop asking similar questions once we’ve identified a trend.
3. Kitchen Cabinet Questions are Boring
Similar to repetitive questions, questions that have little context to the user are apt to bore them. For example, these three 1-5 scale prompts have little context for the user:
- I would like to build kitchen cabinets
- I would like to develop a new medicine
- I would like to buy and sell stocks and bonds
The gap with questions like these is that the content has nothing to do with the student, so there isn’t anything to engage them. If the student doesn’t care about kitchen cabinets or stocks then there won’t be any situational interest to engage them in the question.
Just think, if a student walked into your office would you ever ask them “So, do you think you want to build kitchen cabinets?” Of course you wouldn’t. Instead you’d ask them questions about themselves like “What is it about snowboarding that you love?”
The snowboarding question is much different than a kitchen cabinet question and most importantly: it’s fun and it’s engaging.
4. Personalized Career Assessment is Fun
Unlike repetitive questions, personalized questions are fun for two reasons:
- They’re about you!
- They make you reflect on something you enjoy
So if you love watching movies and you see this question:
Then you begin thinking of the last movie you saw. Was it good? Did you think about relating to the characters or were you more interested in the lighting?
Do you like watching movies with complex plots or do you like documentaries or is it both?
The movie question is fun to answer, it gets you engaged in the process and it makes you reflect on the reasons you like doing certain activities.
5. The Value of Student Enjoyment
Getting students engaged in a career assessment makes the experience better for everyone. When a student is engaged with the career assessment:
- They feel their results are more personal
- They are more excited about their future careers
- They are more excited to engage with their career services office
Doesn’t that make it worth it? Try our interest assessment here to see how you react to personalized questions: