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Outline. Career counseling Measuring vocational interests Issues in measurement Trait factor approach Other approaches. Career counseling. Until about 100 years ago, this concept didn’t exist Your job was what your father’s job had been (if you were a boy) – specified by your surname

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  • Career counseling

  • Measuring vocational interests

  • Issues in measurement

  • Trait factor approach

  • Other approaches

Career counseling

  • Until about 100 years ago, this concept didn’t exist

  • Your job was what your father’s job had been (if you were a boy) – specified by your surname

  • If you were a girl, you would become someone’s wife or servant

What changed?

Agricultural equipment

Fewer workers needed on farms because new machines vastly increased productivity

Career counseling

What changed?

Industrial revolution –

More workers needed in cities where they lost touch with ancestral occupation

Jobs involving machinery were mentally challenging

Career counseling

What changed?

19th and early 20th C immigration to North America from Europe

Immigrants lost touch with ancient lifestyles, fathers’ occupations

Likely to be people who were not afraid of change

Career counseling

What changed?

Development of roads leading into cities throughout USA

Built by large railroads, so people could get from farms into cities, to train stations

Let rural children get to city schools to be educated

Career counseling

While all this was going on, North Americans were becoming more productive and thus wealthier

They could afford to educate their children

They could also afford to develop a psychological testing industry to guide career choices

Career counseling

Frank Parsons (1854 – 1908)

  • Created the profession of vocational counselor

  • First proponent of matching people to occupations by comparing person’s aptitude and skills occupation demands

  • Opened first counseling office, in Boston (1908)

Three principles we still use today:

Satisfying careers are most likely to be selected if you know your own strengths and weaknesses

Frank Parsons (1854 – 1908)

Three principles we still use today:

Satisfying careers are most likely to be selected if you understand the challenges particular careers present and the skills they demand.

Frank Parsons (1854 – 1908)

Three principles we still use today:

It is not enough to know your strengths and to know an occupation’s demands – you must also match the two carefully and honestly.

Frank Parsons (1854 – 1908)

Online resources you might find useful

  • O*Net Online

  • Myskillsprofile

  • Jackson Vocational Interest Survey

  • Career Centre at Western

Measuring vocational interests

  • The Strong Vocational Interest Blank (SVIB)

  • The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII)

  • The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS)

  • Kuder Occupational Interest Survey (KOIS)

  • Jackson Vocational Interest Survey (JVIS)

Many of the inventories we consider here measure interests rather than abilities

They should be used as part of the process of career counseling

They may be most useful for getting people to consider new possibilities

Cautionary notes

Edward Strong (1884 – 1963)

B.S. (Biology) 1906 UC

Ph.D. 1911 (Columbia)

Professor at Stanford from 1923

Vocational Interests of Men and Women (1944)

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

First published in 1927

Originally 420 items reflecting 10 Occupational Scales

New editions in 1938 and 1946

1960 Basic Interest scales added

1974 Holland Codes added

1994 Strong Interest Inventory (now 317 items)

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Criterion keying – begin by identifying the likes and dislikes of many people in different occupations

Then, to use the scale with a new person, match that person’s interests with interests of a criterion group

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Measurement: Scales from like to dislike

Measure frequency of interest in an activity for a given occupational group relative to frequency in the population

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank


Patterns of interest remain stable over time

Interests largely established by the time you are 17 years old

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Basic interest scale

Identifies groups of occupations that share some qualities that you might be interested in

Gives a general direction – e.g., “You should work with people”

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Occupational scale

211 occupations

Separate scales for men and women

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Personal style scale

Prefer to work alone or with people?

Practical knowledge or learning for its own sake?

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Personal style scale

Careful or quick decision making?


Team orientation (achieve goals by working with others)?

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank


Sex bias

No theory


High reliability

High validity

The Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Highest reliability and validity of any interest inventory

Assesses interests among a wide variety of hobbies, academic subjects, work activities, occupations

Sample for comparisons – includes impressive variety of ethnic, social, and educational backgrounds

Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Internal consistency reliability in high .80s

Test-retest reliability (up to 6 months between tests) in .80s

Strong Vocational Interest Blank

Campbell continued development of Strong’s SVIB

Most widely used interest test

No sex bias

Included J. L. Holland’s theory of vocational choice.

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

Test taker responds to each item: Like, Dislike, or Indifferent

Yields 4 different scores

Holland’s Personality Types


Basic Interests


The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

Holland: Occupational interests reflect interaction between your personality and environment.

People seek an environment that offers right kind of problems and roles, respects their values, lets them use their abilities

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

Holland – 6 personality types:







The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory

Holland – another set of labels that may help you remember the different types

Doer (R)

Thinker (I)

Creator (A)

Helper (S)

Persuader (E)

Organizer (C)

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory


Less social

Like the outdoors

Like manual activities

Physically robust



The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory


Interested in people more than ideas

Not very social

Dislikes emotional situations

Appears aloof

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory



Enjoy developing ideas

Enjoy expression

Dislike conformity

Comfortable with ambiguity

Not especially skilled socially

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory


Like to work with other people

Helping orientation


The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory


People oriented

Goal oriented

May seek to dominate others

Good at coordinating work of others

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory


Does best in highly structured situations and jobs

Good with details

Like clerical tasks, working with numbers

Doesn’t like working with ideas or people

The Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory











Holland’s RIASEC Hexagon

Prediger’s two underlying dimensions


Also uses Holland’s theoretical structure

Extroversion and academic focus scales

Assesses skill as well as interest

The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey

Depending on combination of degree of interest and skill, the test-taker is advised to:

Pursue (high interest, high skill)

Develop (HI,LS)

Explore (LI,HS)

Avoid (LI,LS)

The Campbell Interest and Skill Survey

Second most widely used interest test

Criterion keying method

Measure = 100 triads of alternative activities

For each triad, select most/least preferred

Kuder Occupational Interest Survey


Interest Scores

Relation of interest patterns to norms of men and women

Kuder Occupational Interest Survey

Occupation Scores

Relation to scores of men and women employed and satisfied in certain occupations

Kuder Occupational Interest Survey

College major scores

Relation to scores of students in different college majors

Kuder Occupational Interest Survey

Matches people to academic or career fields based on their interests

289 pairs of statements describe job activities

Forced choice for each pair

Does not compare scores to those of people happy in their occupation

Yields 34 basic interest scores

Predicts university majors more accurately than most inventories

Jackson Vocational Interest Survey

Basic Interest Scales – some examples (not a complete list):

Creative Arts

Physical Science


Life Science

Social Science



Skilled Trades

Jackson Vocational Interest Survey

General occupational themes (G.O.T.)











Jackson Vocational Interest Survey

Internal consistency reliability (alpha)  .54 to .88.

Test-retest reliability (4 to 6 weeks)  .69 to .92.

JVIS – Basic Interest Scales Reliability

Internal consistency reliability (alpha)  .70 to 92.

Test-retest reliability (4 to 6 weeks)  .83 to .93

JVIS – G.O.T. Reliability

Criterion keying, no theoretical base

Aimed at men not oriented towards college

Emphasizes skilled/semi-skilled trades

Yields basic interest and occupational scores

Minnesota Vocational Interest Inventory

Intended purpose similar to that of MVII

6th grade reading level

Sex- and culture-bias free

Includes Holland’s theoretical base

Scores on scales similar to SCII and CISS

The Career Assessment Inventory

Vocational version

305 items, 91 occupations that require little post-secondary education

Enhanced version

370 items, 111 occupations including some that require significant post-secondary education

The Career Assessment Inventory

Self administered and scored

Rate skill and interest in occupational areas

Linked to an occupation finder

Accurate scoring

The Self Directed Approach

Sex bias

Leads people to sex-typed careers

But elimination might mean lower validity

Most scales today have reduced bias

It’s worthwhile to examine tests for sex bias and try to remove it if found

But women and men are different in a variety of psychological and physiological ways

Issues in Interest Measurement

Interests vs. aptitudes

E.g., in Strong inventories, how successful in their occupations are the norm groups expressing particular interests?

Issues in Interest Measurement

Does it matter for testing that people change in ways relevant to occupational success?

Personality is stable over the lifetime

But other things – motivation, education, environment – will surely change and interests may change with them

Issues in Interest Measurement

Goal is to learn about person’s overall traits, not just their interests

Battery of tests covering


Ability / Aptitudes



Osipow’s trait-factor approach

Suitability for a career is not static

Developmental stages define what vocational behavior is expected of us

Vocational maturity is defined as the correlation between actual and expected vocational behavior

Actual comes from developmental stage you’re in

Super’s Developmental Theory

Super (1954) Theory of vocational choice – lifespan developmental process






Ready to retire

Super’s Developmental Theory

Ginzberg et al. (1951) – career choice is the outcome of a developmental path from childhood to young adulthood – stages:







Ginzberg et al. (1951)

Roe: career choice a result of type of relationship you had with your family while growing up

Relationship success leaves you with a person-orientation

Relationship failure, leaves you with a non-person orientation

Roe’s Career Choice Theory

As a result of rearing, some people are oriented towards other people

they were reared in a warm, accepting environment

Roe’s Career Choice Theory

As a result of rearing, some people are oriented towards things

they were reared in a cold, aloof environment.

Characteristics measured by California Occupational Preference Survey (COPS)

Roe’s Career Choice Theory

Text, p. 472

“Despite the availability of many interest inventories, old-fashioned clinical skill remains an important asset in career-counseling.”

There is lots of evidence that this claim is not true – in the work of Paul Meehl on clinical vs. actuarial judgment


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