Career Advice by ‘Virtual Inkblot Test’

A new approach to careers advice

The Chronicle has a short piece on a new approach to delivering careers advice. Essentially it is a contemporary take on the traditional inkblot test which has been updated to a set of images in an app:

Researchers at the company, Woofound Inc., have built an application for students that uses their reactions to a series of images to predict their personalities and to suggest careers tailored to their preferences. The creators also plan to have the application suggest what degrees they should pursue and what extracurricular activities they should join.

The project is part of a wave of technology applications that colleges are testing to help track students into fields that fit their interests.

While using the Woofound Career Module, students sift through 84 slides of images with words associated, such as a picture of a tent along with the word “camping,” or a picture of a man painting along with the phrase “creative expression.” Students click either “Me” or “Not Me” in response to each image.

There is, rightly, some scepticism about the approach. Whilst it is, of course, possible to distinguish broad preferences in this way surely this is one area in which students need a bit more than just an app in order to develop their career intentions? And there aren’t huge numbers of jobs for visionaries these days.

3 thoughts on “Career Advice by ‘Virtual Inkblot Test’

  1. This probably (hopefully?) doesn’t need saying but I’ll say it anyway – there is so much more to careers advice than initial career choice. I’m wondering how inkblots can help students to understand the job markets they are looking to enter, reflect on their own view of the world and what that means for their career decisions, challenge any unhelpful perceptions, consider the best ways to identify employers, weigh up conflicting options, the list goes on… Actually personality type (my preferred tool being mbti) can be quite a helpful way to explore how people approach ‘career’ (I hesitate to call it career planning as many people resist such a purposeful approach) – but wouldn’t you expect a careers adviser to know a bit more about the job market than an inkblot. Then again, there may be some very skilful and knowledgeable inkblots out there I’ve never met, so no offence intended!

    Ps I was mildly interested in the naturalist option – I am always mixing it up with naturist!

  2. I believe many students need to work on self-confidence, self belief and understand their own motivations, much like the self reflection that Gill is talking about. There isn’t a button any of us can press to tell us what will happen in the future, much less what our goals or aspirations should be. However, when used as part of a wider conversation about careers, with a trained coach or careers advisor, I believe these sorts of tools might provide an opening or spark an idea for further exploration.

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