The Highlands Company Blog

Transforming Careers with Data-Driven Results: How aptitude testing will provide real insights for real-life solutions

This article is the second in a three-part series on how understanding your natural abilities will help you build a strengths-based mindset to take ownership of your career path, plan your long-term career goals and realize your full potential.

Research has shown that every course of study and every occupation, whether it’s science, technology, engineering, law or management or a host of others, uses specific aptitudes or patterns of abilities.

That is why an aptitude testing program using a science-backed personal assessment with data- driven results based on your natural abilities will help to create a clear path forward when managing your career.

In a recent article, we explored the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), a powerful tool rooted in over a century of research for objectively assessing aptitudes. Included in the article is a description of each of the (18) aptitudes plus (1) skill measured by the HAB assessment through performance-based exercises or worksamples taken online. Link to read the post:

Your Natural Abilities: What the Research Reveals and How They are Measured
 – The Highlands Company

In this second article, we’ll explore how your aptitude results are unpacked to equip you with practical information for guidance in education and personal and professional career development. We will focus on the comprehensive reports which are reviewed in a personal feedback (“debrief”) session following the completion of the HAB assessment.

These reports—along with the individualized debrief session—set the Highlands aptitude testing program apart from other assessment programs.

Guidance to Reach Your Objectives

Applying Your Aptitudes: Results Revealed in Targeted Data-Driven Reports

Specialized client-centered reports using data science to apply your aptitude test results are generated from the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) for a variety of applications, including:

  • students searching for the “right-fit” college, area of study and career pathway
  • adults navigating a career transition
  • and leaders and other professionals seeking to learn how to communicate, problem solve and collaborate with others more effectively.

Results driven by the HAB are compiled to blend abilities and identify patterns of abilities to provide real insights for not only specific careers to explore, but also for consideration of roles within occupations. Patterns of abilities that reveal how you naturally approach responsibilities on the job are reviewed in the Highlands report publications. Understanding your ability patterns can help you select aspects of your work to emphasize or de-emphasize as you grow in your career.

Highlands Assessment Reports: From General to Specialized

The standard HAB report has two versions: one for students and one for adults. These are the original, foundational reports that cover in-depth each of the aptitudes measured. In order to specifically meet the needs of client objectives, the Highlands Company has also developed specialized or supplemental reports. Keep reading to learn more about each type of report targeting a variety of client focuses.

Standard for Adults – The Standard Report explains each ability, the worksample that measured it, and an interpretation of your score. Abilities are organized by three categories: Personal Style, Driving Abilities and Specialized Abilities. The report concludes with a customized application of how you can use select abilities to inform Four Key Dimensions (aspects) of work life:

  • Personal Style and Work Environment
  • Learning Channels
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Communication

This report is ideal for adults seeking to understand the difference between their specific natural abilities and the skills they have acquired in order to make intentional work/life choices. The distinction between natural abilities and acquired skills is important to note since natural abilities remain mostly accessible throughout one’s life, while skills decline with disuse.

Standard for Students – The Standard Report for Students is identical to the Adult Report in most regards, but offers features that make it more relevant and valuable for students, including a student­-specific Learning Strategies section.

Career Exploration for Adults – The Career Exploration Report considers how abilities blend or work together. Starting with blends of personal style, driving and specialized abilities and ending with how abilities across the categories can be used in multiple job families, this report is a valuable tool for adults who are exploring careers, either for the first time or as part of a transition from one career to another. A detailed and interactive guide, the Adult Career Report is an excellent resource to fuel career exploration .

Career Exploration for Students – The Career Exploration Reports, both student and adult versions, offer a list of career recommendations aligned with patterns of abilities. Each career listed is linked to the ONET Online, a comprehensive database of occupational information for career explorers, published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Student Career Report is an excellent starting place to launch your career exploration.

Learning Strategies – The Learning Strategies Report extracts information from the Standard report and the Career Exploration supplement related to how you take in and retrieve information. This report considers how natural abilities measured by the HAB combine to identify your learning style. It also provides helpful strategies to maximize your strongest learning channels and find ways to supplement your weaker learning channels.

Leader Report – The Leader Report provides leaders with a solid foundation of their own objectively measured talents, a comprehensive understanding of others’ talents, and tips on how to work together productively. The Leader Report incorporates an explanation of each ability, an interpretation of each score, and the ability blends related to Personal Style, Problem Solving, Spatial Reasoning, and Specialized Abilities. Unique to this report are customized tips based on a person’s natural tendencies, a must-have for current and potential leaders who face a special set of challenges in the workplace. It’s important for anyone to know their natural abilities, but leaders especially benefit from helping team members understand their strengths and how they differ from others on their team. Their ability to utilize those strengths and empower team members can make a tremendous difference in the effectiveness of their company or organization.

WorkTypes – The term “WorkTypes” is Highlands’ proprietary name for generic roles/responsibilities that occur in any occupation. Because WorkTypes are defined according to natural abilities and do not take into account the skills you have learned, this self-management tool is not an evaluation of your performance. Instead, the WorkTypes Report can help you prioritize roles or responsibilities to eliminate or avoid (refine your work) or identify new roles/responsibilities to add (refresh your work) by providing a rank order of our 35 WorkTypes based on your unique ability profile.

Four Key Dimensions – The Four Key Dimensions are extracted from the Standard Adult or Standard Student report and present a customized application of how you can use select abilities to inform four key dimensions (aspects) of work life: 1) your Work Environment; 2) how you acquire/Learn new information; 3) your natural Problem-Solving approach; and 4) Communication tendencies.

Realizing Your Potential: Debrief with a Certified Consultant

The Highlands aptitude testing program culminates in a debrief or feedback session with a certified Highlands consultant. Your Highlands consultant will recommend which reports are best for you and will show you how to get the greatest benefit from every page.

Highly-trained Highlands Certified Consultants (HCCs) are responsible for conducting the debrief sessions; their knowledge and experience are critical to helping clients apply the HAB results to their lives and facilitate positive change.

While feedback comes standard with the Highlands aptitude testing program, not every debrief session looks the same. Beyond career exploration and development with individuals, HCCs also provide guidance through workshops and programs that target a variety of professions and life stages, including college selection, leadership development, team building, and other niches. This range of options is designed to benefit students, adults, professionals, organizations, and their workforce.

In the third post of this series, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the different workshops and programs consultants have developed for both groups of individuals and organizations to accelerate performance and productivity and to thrive in an ever-changing world of work.