Understanding Workplace Personality: New Assessment Helps Job Seekers and Employers Find the Right Match

applicantBeyond the technical requirements of the job, what are the workplace personality traits that lead to success in a specific work environment? Understanding the personality traits needed for a particular job or workplace can be the key to a good career choice—a match that works for both employee and employer.

The new Working Styles Assessment™ (WSA™) from PAR is a measure of work-related personality traits such as initiative, persistence, concern for others, self-control, conscientiousness, and analytical thinking. By measuring these traits, career counselors can help their clients find jobs they love—and employers can find workers who have what it takes for success on the job.

The WSA is the only workplace personality assessment that uses the current Occupational Information Network (O*NET) terminology, which means that the personality traits measured by the WSA can be compared to the traits associated with hundreds of current occupations listed in the O*NET database.

The WSA helps create a win-win situation for job seekers and employers:

  • Career counselors can help their clients use the WSA to identify their own strengths and explore the career options that are most likely to be a good fit.
  • HR professionals can decide which traits are most important for a given job and then use the WSA to identify candidates who have those traits.
  • Job seekers can look up interesting jobs on the O*NET and compare the working styles required by those jobs to their own working styles.

The WSA is a useful complement to the recently released 5th Edition of the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®), John Holland’s gold standard career interest inventory. The WSA will also soon be available on PARiConnect, PAR’s online assessment platform.

To learn more about the WSA and other career products from PAR, visit www.parinc.com or call Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378.

Advertisements

New SDS Video Goes Viral!

Here at PAR, we are delighted by the positive response to our new Self-Directed Search®, 5th Edition. One of the most widely used career interest inventories in the world, the SDS® has been revised to meet the needs of today’s clients.

To help spread the word about the new SDS® 5th Edition, we created a humorous video about college planning—or rather, what happens when there isn’t a plan! This video is making its way around the Internet as students, parents, teachers, and counselors are sharing the message that students need reliable tools to help them explore careers and find their future.

So take a moment to enjoy this short video, and if you like it, please share it through e-mail or your favorite social medium.

Introducing the (ahem!) four-year plan…

 

The New Self-Directed Search, 5th Edition Now Available from PAR

sds-blog-picPAR is delighted to announce the release of the new Self-Directed Search® (SDS®), 5th Edition, by John L. Holland, PhD, and Melissa A. Messer, MHS.

The Self-Directed Search (SDS), John Holland’s original gold-standard assessment and one of the most widely used career interest inventories in the world*, has been updated to meet the needs of today’s clients. Whether they are college students choosing a major, veterans entering the civilian job market, or adults pursuing a career change, individuals can use the SDS to learn about themselves and their career options.

Like its predecessors, the SDS 5th Edition is based on Holland’s theory that both people and work environments can be classified according to six basic types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional (known collectively as RIASEC). The SDS asks questions about the user’s aspirations, activities, competencies, and interest in different occupations, and from the responses it generates a three-letter Summary Code. Using the revised Occupations Finder, users can match their Summary Codes to jobs in the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, which lists thousands of current jobs at all skill and education levels.

No special training or qualifications are needed with the SDS; it is designed to be self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted.  The SDS can be taken on the internet, with paper and pencil, or via PARiConnect, PAR’s new online assessment system.

The SDS Web site has also been updated with new resources targeted to specific groups and a contemporary, easy-to-navigate user interface. The newly revised report includes an “at-a-glance” summary, and users can share their results via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.  The SDS 5th Edition is designed to work on mobile devices and tablets.

To learn more about the SDS 5th Edition or any of PAR’s other career or vocational products, visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.

*The SDS has been used more than 35 million times and has been translated into more than 25 languages.

We are pleased to announce the release of the new Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) Web site

We are pleased to announce the release of the new Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) Web site.

The new SDS site has been completely revamped, enabling users not only to complete the test but also to learn more about the history, theory, and applications of the SDS. Targeted resource sections, supplemental information and links, case studies, and more are all swathed in a brand-new, contemporary design.

You can also visit www.self-directed-search.com using your tablet or mobile device—the site automatically adjusts its interface to your device’s size and specifications!

 

Job-Search Challenges Hinder Young Veterans’ Reintegration into Civilian Life

Figures on the rate of unemployment among veterans can be confusing as media outlets report only parts of the story. Although the overall unemployment rate among vets has dropped slightly in recent months, a March 2013 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that for U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the rate is 9.9%, about 2% higher than for the general population. In short, more than 200,000 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are now unemployed (see the Harvard Kennedy School’s Research Roundup for a summary of recent studies on veterans and unemployment).

As a result of their military service, veterans often face additional obstacles that contribute to difficulties as they look for work. Conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other physical and mental disorders are common among veterans. A recent study found a direct correlation between depression and unemployment rates among veterans; the good news is that improved depression status (following treatment at VA hospitals) was associated with an increased likelihood of becoming employed.

The U.S. government, the Department of Defense, and other public and private institutions offer some support for veterans seeking civilian careers. For example, the revised G.I. Bill focuses on retraining, and tax credits are now available for employers who hire veterans. However, many veterans’ organizations are calling for more help for young vets transitioning from active duty.

For veterans, active-duty military personnel, and the career counselors who work with them, PAR is developing a new component of the popular Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) designed specifically to support the transition from a military career to a civilian career. Scheduled to release in July, the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder™ matches an individual’s military occupation code with civilian career possibilities. Used with the SDS, this new tool will help veterans explore their interests and capitalize on the skills they developed in the military. Finding a good job is one of the most important factors in a veteran’s successful transition to civilian life, and the Veterans and Military Occupations Finder provides a starting point for that search. To learn more, visit the SDS Web site and look for updates about the release of this new addition to the SDS product line.

Helping Clients Find Their Own Direction: Robert Reardon and Janet Lenz Reflect on Career and the Success of the Self-Directed Search®

The Self-Directed Search® has been used by more than 30 million people worldwide and has been translated into more than 25 languages. There are a number of career assessments on the market, yet the SDS continues to be extremely successful. What sets it apart? Recently, PAR had the opportunity to catch up with two SDS experts, Robert Reardon, PhD, and Janet Lenz, PhD, both from the Career Center at Florida State University and widely published in the career counseling arena. Reardon and Lenz have worked closely with SDS author John Holland as collaborators and authors of many SDS-related publications, including The Self-Directed Search and Related Holland Materials: A Practitioner’s Guide (PAR, 1998).

The SDS is based on Holland’s career theory, which argues that vocational choice is an expression of personality, and that by identifying certain personality characteristics and preferences, better career choices can be made. “People often feel overwhelmed about how to relate their self-knowledge to career options,” says Reardon. “The SDS gives them a way to intuitively and logically make that connection.” One of Holland’s most important contributions was his identification of the personality and environmental characteristics that have become known collectively as RIASEC: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. These factors form the basis of the SDS.

Reardon and Lenz have worked with the SDS for nearly 40 years, and they have seen it develop in response to career counseling research and new technology. “Our counseling service started using the SDS in 1973 because it included a self-help feature that we knew would be useful to our clients,” they explain. “Holland took note of what we were doing and was supportive along the way.”

Reardon and Lenz have been deeply involved in revisions of the SDS, and they have been key players in updates and revisions to many of the individual elements in the SDS product family, such as the interpretive report generated by the SDS software. But what keeps these products current and relevant? “The SDS is informed by both practice and research,” they explain, “and we continue to draw upon both to keep SDS materials current and relevant. For example, the revised Occupations Finder published in 2010 is very important because it now connects the SDS to the O*NET system of occupational information, which is online and updated constantly. Unlike many other assessments, the SDS embraces users—after all, ‘self-directed’ is in the title—and this user perspective helps to keep the SDS relevant.”

Today, using the on-screen administration, clients can complete the SDS electronically on a laptop computer, a tablet, or even an iPhone® or Android device. For college students and other clients living in this era of instant information, the SDS has kept pace by providing a fast, accessible, portable, and reasonably priced tool that can help them gain real insight into making good choices about career.

In the category of reliable, valid, theory-based instruments, the SDS is one of the most user-friendly, and it is very easy for practitioners to use with clients. “Some have described the SDS as simple,” say Reardon and Lenz, “but when fully interpreted and connected to Holland’s theoretical constructs (for example, congruence, differentiation, coherence, consistency, vocational identity), it provides a rich source of information for both clients and practitioners to discuss and incorporate into a plan for next steps. The information not only addresses self and option knowledge, but it provides diagnostic data about the client’s ability to move effectively through the career decision-making and problem solving process.”

As the SDS has evolved, it has always been research-based; through the years, more than 1,600 published studies have examined, evaluated, and supported Holland’s career theory. Reardon and Lenz have themselves collaborated in more than 35 publications related to the SDS and RIASEC theory. “Over time, our interest in the SDS has deepened as we learned more about the instrument, not only from our own research, but from hundreds of studies and articles that were published as more practitioners adopted the SDS and more researchers began to consider it.”

“One of the things we’ve seen from doing workshops with counselors all over the country is how many different settings and with how many different client populations the SDS has been used successfully,” say Reardon and Lenz. “It’s been rewarding to see how it has helped so many people become more effective career problem solvers.”
To learn more about the Self-Directed Search and other materials related to career intervention services and resources, visit the SDS product page on PAR’s Web site; to take the SDS online right now, click on http://www.self-directed-search.com/default.aspx.

What’s Your Holland Code?

According to the Dictionary of Holland Occupational Codes, Third Edition, there is no one-size-fits-all code for psychologists. In fact, there are 9 entries for different types of occupational codes for psychologists, one entry for psychometrist, and many others for closely-related jobs. Does your job fit your Holland code?

Psychologist, chief- ISE

Psychologist, counseling- SIA

Psychologist, developmental- IRS

Psychologist, educational- IES

Psychologist, engineering- IRS

Psychologist, experimental- IAE

Psychologist, industrial-organizational- IES

Psychologist, school- SEI

Psychologist, social- IAE

Psychometrist- IES

To learn more about Dr. John Holland or to take the Self-Directed Search in order to find your Holland code, visit www.self-directed-search.com.