Testing & Assessment

H.R, Employers, Recruiters - are you familiar with the O*Net Resource Center?

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onet logoThe O*NET program is the nation's primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. Information from this database forms the heart of O*NET OnLine, an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations.

The database also provides the basis for our Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers and students looking to find or change careers.

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is being developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. Learn more about the O*NET project partners.

Content Model
Anatomy of an occupation

Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described by the O*NET Content Model,which defines the key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". This hierarchical model starts with six domains, describing the day-to-day aspects of the job and the qualifications and interests of the typical worker. The model expands to 277 descriptors collected by the O*NET program, with more collected by other federal agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Explore the interactive Content Model to see the range of occupational descriptors in the O*NET database.

O*NET-SOC Taxonomy
A spectrum of occupations

While the Content Model defines the information structure for a single occupation, the O*NET-SOC taxonomy defines the set of occupations across the world of work. Based on the Standard Occupational Classification external site, the O*NET-SOC taxonomy currently includes 974 occupations which currently have, or are scheduled to have, data collected from job incumbents or occupation experts. To keep up with the changing occupational landscape, the taxonomy is periodically revised; the last revision was in 2010.

Data Collection
Real-world information

The O*NET-SOC taxonomy defines the occupations, and the Content Model outlines which information is collected; the Data Collection programbrings these frameworks to life with results from the working public.The O*NET database was initially populated by data collected from occupation analysts; this information is updated by ongoing surveys of each occupation's worker population and occupation experts. This data is incorporated into new versions of the database on an annual schedule, to provide up-to-date information on occupations as they evolve over time. The latest database releases are available from the Developer's Corner.
For more about the data collection, view sample questionnaires based on the O*NET surveys, or visit RTI's O*NET site external site for information from the survey conductors.
Examples of information found on O*Net

Testing and Assessment: A Guide to Good Practices for Workforce Investment Professionals (December 2007)

This Guide helps workforce development professionals effectively use assessment instruments to promote talent development. Appropriate use of assessments enables workforce professionals to assist clients in exploring career options, identifying skill gaps and education needs, applying for appropriate job openings, and obtaining industry recognized credentials. Using the guide you can:

  • evaluate and select assessment tools/procedures for career exploration, skill identification, knowledge demands, and career readiness;
  • learn about administration and scoring of assessment tools to meet business and individual client needs;
  • interpret assessment results accurately and effectively; and
  • understand professional and legal standards related to assessment use in career counseling, training, and other talent development activities.

Testing and Assessment: A Guide to Good Practices for Workforce Investment Professionals (PDF - 307 KB)

O*NET® Toolkit for Business

The O*NET Toolkit for Business provides a wealth of background information on the features of O*NET. It details O*NET's many uses for human resource professionals and employers including:

  • Job Descriptions
  • Human Resource Planning
  • Organizational Structure and Design
  • Job Design and Job Reengineering
  • Organizational Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Training Needs Analysis
  • Career Development
  • Workforce Development


Generic Questionnaires

Generic, customizable forms of the questionnaires used in the O*NET Data Collection Program are provided below. These questionnaires can be used as a starting point to collect occupational data in support of a wide range of economic/workforce investment activities and human resource management functions. The questionnaires may be completed by job incumbents, job analysts, or other subject matter experts.

You may find it useful to modify them to meet your particular needs by adding questions and scales to the instruments or other types of survey instruments. It is recommended, however, that you carefully consider the deletion of questions from the questionnaire because each questionnaire has been developed to represent particular domains of information (e.g., skills, knowledges, abilities).

Generic questionnaire covers can be easily customized with company names and logos. These generic questionnaires are provided in MS Word 97, WordPerfect 8.0, and PDF formats.

Individual generic questionnaires (MS Word):
Education and Training
Generalized Work Activities
Work Context
Work Styles
Questionnaire Covers


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