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What should I be when I grow up?

janheadshotwebBy Jan van der Hoop

We’re in the thick of it: the time of year when parents and their teenage kids are agonizing over choosing their universities and their majors.

For some of us, the question of ‘what to be when I grow up’ never completely goes away, recurring at regular intervals. Sometimes it’s an inconvenience and sometimes it’s just a distraction – but I think every one of us has at some point asked themselves, ‘what if…?’.

Sadly, the tools available for career planning are really inadequate. School guidance offices do the best they can, but they are for the most part purveyors of other peoples’ information and not the informed, insightful advisors we’d like them to be. The aptitude tests offered in high schools are largely unchanged from the one I completed in the mid-‘70s, and are of questionable merit. Mine suggested I should be either a forest ranger or a highway patrol officer.

Ummm, no. I don’t think so.

Our three kids had the benefit of working with a consultant who administered a battery of tests and assessments, and invested time with each child to really begin to understand them. His insights and advice were much more valuable, and he was able to balance his own subjective experience of the person, with the objective information that came from the tests. Overall his advice was very helpful, to us and our girls.

But there are only so many of these guys out there (I think ours was well over 100 years old when we sent the kids, and hoping to retire), and not every family can afford the investment in time and money.

talentsorterWe’ve been tinkering in the lab, and I have an offer to make.

Our business has long been focused on helping employers make better hiring choices… and along the way we’ve developed some pretty nifty analytics that are geared to predicting an individual’s fit (and therefore, their performance, satisfaction, retention…) in a specific job.

The bit we’ve been experimenting with is related to turning the model upside down – instead of screening hundreds of people for a single job, can we take a single individual and screen their fit in hundreds of jobs?

Turns out we can.

It’s not pretty or polished yet, and not quite ready for mass consumption, but if you’re willing to overlook the cosmetics, I’m willing to let you and any number of loved ones take the system for a test drive.

Simply click on this link: http://bit.ly/1MmtW32

You’ll be invited to complete a TalentSorter assessment, which should take somewhere in the order of 25-30 minutes to complete. The system will take your responses and project you into a job library of about 500 positions of all types. What you’ll get back is a Career Planning Report listing your top 25 picks from that library.

It IS experimental, but it could offer one additional (objective) reference point and it should help guide and focus some conversations around the dinner table.

Feel free to share the link with friends or family members who might appreciate an outside perspective.

Let me know what you think!

Jan van der Hoop is President of Fit First Technologies. Jan can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

Human Resources, Youth Tagged with: ,
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