The Strong Interest Inventory

You Need to Know About This Career Assessment

career specialist with client
••• The Strong Interest Inventory is one of several assessment tools a career specialist can use with a client. AMV Photo / Digital Vision / Getty Images

A Brief History of E.K. Strong's Interest Inventories

In 1927, E.K. Strong published the self assessment tool that would many years later become the Strong Interest Inventory. He called it the Strong Vocational Interest Blank and it was the very first tool that could measure people's .

Why would we want to know what people's interests are? To answer that, we must look back at what Strong and other psychologists learned about people several years earlier. After trying figure out why some people were satisfied with their careers and some were not, they discovered that people employed in the same occupation had common interests. What a great way, they thought, to help people . If there were only a way to assess people's interests. They set out to do so and that is how E.K.

Strong's interest inventory came to be. 

There have been many revisions and name changes to it over the years. When David S. Campbell, E.K. Strong's successor, revised the inventory in 1974, it was renamed the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory. In 1997 the Strong Interest Inventory was published and that name has remained with the most recent version published by  in 2012.

Taking The Strong Interest Inventory

The Strong Interest Inventory is a instrument that career development professionals, for example, , use to help high school and college students, as well as adults, discover their interests. They can then use this information to assist with or a  .

The Strong Interest Inventory contains 291 items that ask users about their preferences in regard to occupations, subject areas, activities, leisure activities, people and characteristics. It takes between 35 and 40 minutes to complete. This instrument should be used with other including and inventories and skill assessments, as well as informal means of discovering suitable occupations.

Getting Your Results

Your results will come in the form of a report. The person who administers the test should go over it with you in order to make sure you understand it. He or she should inform you that even though the report contains a list of occupations that might be suitable for you based on your answers, that doesn't necessarily mean they are. You should always thoroughly any occupation you are considering.

Your report will be presented in six sections as follows:

  • General Occupational Themes (GOT): General Occupational Themes are six broad areas that represent the personality types that were defined by John Holland, a psychologist. Holland believed that all people fall into one or more of six types based on their interests and approaches to life situations: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. He believed that work environments could also be categorized into these six types. Your scores are compared to the average scores for your gender to determine your interest levels for each of the six types, referred to as themes on the report. You are then presented with your , which indicates your highest themes. The report will also include information about the interests, work activities, potential skills, and values associated with each theme.
  • Basic Interest Scales (BIS): This section of the report tells you what your top interests are, based on the work and leisure activities, projects and course work that you found most motivating and rewarding. These interests are categorized under the General Occupational Themes as described in the previous section.
  • Occupational Scales (OS): To get the results for this section, your interests are compared to the interests of people of the same gender working in 122 occupations. A list of occupations is then generated. It contains those occupations in which people whose interests most closely match yours work.
  • Personal Styles Scales (PSS): This section tells you what your preferences are regarding work style, learning environment, leadership style, risk taking and team orientation. It is helpful to have this information as you begin to research occupations that you might want to pursue.
  • Profile Summary: This section simply provides you with a graphic representation of your results. You can consult this as you move forward through the .
  • Response Summary: Summarizes your responses by category.

    Donnay, David A. C. "E. K. Strong's Legacy and Beyond: 70 Years of the Strong Interest Inventory." Career Development Quarterly. September 1997.
    Kelly, Kevin R. "Review of the Strong Interest Inventory [Newly Revised]". Mental Measurements Yearbook with Tests in Print. 2010.
    "Strong Interest Inventory Sample Report." .
    Zunker, Vernon G. and Norris, Debra S. Using Assessment Results for Career Development. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. 1997.