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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Psychological Portrait – A much needed information for the Job Search in current economy

In the ancient times, one would go to the fortuneteller to learn about the future events that will take place in his/her life, to learn what do, what the stars say about him/her as an individual. Today many of us still follow daily horoscopes and visit psychics. The validity of the information provided by such individuals is questionable, although I am sure there are a lot of people who will confirm the truth and accuracy of their psychic. (Why this happens is a whole different discussion that I will explore some other time)

With the birth of Psychology as a science individuals now have a variety of options to learn about themselves and to gain an understanding of their psychological portrait.

What is a Psychological Portrait (how do we present and understand it)?

The Psychological Portrait is a detailed explanation of ones’ Personality Traits (Qualities), Behaviors (Actions) and Tendencies (Potential).

Various tools (surveys and assessments) allow you to see who you are according to a specific guideline that these tools follow. In most cases data is statistically processed to compare your responses to a database of similar assessments, taking into consideration demographics (male/female, age group, Ethnicity, sometimes even geographic location such as your birthplace and current location, etc). Then the algorithm of a particular tool with a serious Psychological theory behind it provides results that represent YOU through the categories of the theory at hand.

Tip: Before taking an Assessment check the Theory behind it, to make sure that the typology this particular theory uses is something that you can understand and relate to.

If you have decided on an Assessment tool it is extremely important to answer the questions truthfully for an accurate evaluation. We all use little “white lies” during these assessments, not because we want to deceive anyone, but mostly because it is difficult to accept certain qualities within you and therefore you can make a choice toward a quality that you would like to have rather than the one you actually have. As a result you are looking at a report of you, as you want to be, rather than you as you are. It is very important to think about each question and answer based on the facts of your exhibited behaviors or emotions rather than what you think the answer ‘should’ be.

There are times when you are tested at a work place, or in college, or anywhere else, and in a setting like that there is a chance that you will answer your questions based on YOUR understanding of what it is expected of you. For example: If I am tested at a workplace and the statement is – “I can manage other individuals.” I would have a tendency to answer YES even if I had never managed anyone or did and didn’t like it. These responses take toll on the overall evaluation, due to the fact that most of the time these assessments are built so as to have a few questions targeting the same skill in various forms, not always visible to the tested individual. The accuracy of such a Psychological Portrait and a validity of it are questionable when given less than truthful responses.

As a Coach I am constantly faced with a choice; which Assessment tools do I use to help my clients create the most accurate Psychological Portrait possible? If you want to create the most accurate Psychological Portrait of yourself I have a few suggestions for you.

Do not just use one Assessment tool backed by a specific Psychological theory. I tend to create Psychological Portraits using 3 different Assessment tools backed by 3 Psychological typology theories.

1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – this is a recognized by the APA (American Psychological Association) Assessment based on the Typology theory of Jung and then further developed into an assessment tool by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs. This theory recognizes 8 different types of personalities presented as Dichotomies (in pairs) - Extraversion and Introversion, Sensing and Intuition, Thinking and Feeling and Judging and Perceiving, with overall 16 combinations. Each category is further broken down into 10 different behaviors with 5 specific to each group. Ex. Extraversion: Initiating (sociable, congenial, introduce people), Expressive (demonstrative, easier to know, self-revealing), Gregarious (seek popularity, broad circle, join groups), Active (Interactive, want contact, listen and speak) and Enthusiastic (lively, energetic, seek spotlight).

2. Strong Interest Inventory (STRONG) – this is another Psychological typology theory recognized by the APA that makes recommendations on your career choices.

3. Personality Definition Methodology (PDM) – A methodology developed in house here at FROG Enterprises, based on psychological theories of Prof. Ganzen and Prof. Tolkachev., of Saint Petersburg. This is a typology approach that identifies 8 types of intellect that are present in individuals: Logic intellect, Analytical intellect, Innovative intellect, Physical intellect, Visual intellect, Verbal intellect, and Intuitive intellect and Abstract/Musical intellect.

Use of these assessment tools allow me to create a realistic and accurate portrait of an individual, usually followed by an individual interview where information can be verified and expanded on.

Tip: If you are taking self-scored assessments, look for patterns in your results to draw a parallel for your own psychological portrait. If you have an opportunity, talk to a professional to get help interpreting the results of your evaluations.

Another important aspect of Psychological portraits is it becomes a very useful tool in your search for a new job. A well made psychological portrait allows you to first and foremost gain an insight into what it is that you want to do and what it is that you are good at, and it allows your potential employer to see if you are going to be a good long term fit with the company. Today more and more employers are implementing assessments into their employment practices.

Do you think psychological profiling is a useful tool for your individual use? For potential employer use? And should it be implemented as standard practice with Staff augmentation practices and HR practices?

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