Career interest games are one way to help determine what path to follow when entering the professional world. These games attempt to whittle down your likes and dislikes until they're specific enough to direct you toward a certain set of strengths and away from your weaknesses.
John L. Holland, a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University, developed a theory of career and worker types that states that all people and all jobs fit into six main categories. These six categories can identify the strengths of job-seekers and match them up with a career that requires those same qualities for success. The six categories are realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. This theory is the basis for nearly all career interest games.
Perhaps the most basic form of career interest game involves a question and answer process. Subjects receive a list of characteristics separated into six columns. They read the list and select the one which most closely resembles the way they'd describe themselves. Then subjects get a list of careers or college programs that best suit them. For example, if a certain subject has a penchant for social interaction and communication, she may be best suited to jobs as a coach, psychologist or teacher.
Online quizzes sometimes serve as career interest games. Subjects answer a series of simple questions about their likes and dislikes, marking their answers from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The program measures each response and calculates which career categories fit the subject best. Instead of a single suggestion, subjects get a list of a variety of careers in which they're likely to succeed. Simpler versions based on pop culture references are also available for young kids or those who may not find the more serious nature of straightforward career quizzes interesting enough to follow through.
Depending on the complexity of the game or the online program you use, the six categories of the Holland career interest theory appear in sequence from the best match to the worst match for a given job-seeker. For example, say you view yourself as artistic overall but tend to be realistic and are somewhat enterprising. This combination of traits will result in a far different selection of career options than if you chose realistic as your primary trait, followed by enterprising and artistic. These subtle changes can translate to significant differences in your personality profile and the careers that best suit you.