Professional options and development has gained significance in the lives of most people in the world. Nearly each person in pursuit of education aims to acquire a good job after they have attained their certificates. It is however difficult for some students to make informed choices regarding subjects that can eventually help them to obtain suitable employment in their preferred areas of study. For many people who find themselves in a tight spot in the career or education pursuits, counseling becomes teh last resort to enable them gain more information to help them make the right decisions. The counselor and the person concerned use the counseling session to come up with a strong inventory in terms of the interests of the individual. This inventory therefore becomes a tool that helps to analyze the interests of a person, their personality trait and other factors that can enable them make informed career choices. The inventory is designed by using questionnaires as well as grading scales.
During their academic life, people often develop different interests that determine their career choices in the future. It takes time to develop interests in a particular profession, and make a career choice. At first people usually develop an interest in specific types of subject leading them to make career choices. There are certain individuals who are well aware of the professions that they desire to pursue when they are as young as elementary school goers, while there are others go through school without knowing what career they would like to settle down in when they complete their studies. In fact, according to many studies, majority of the people settle on particular careers when they reach high school.
In addition, research also shows that many people who are unable to make decisions regarding their careers normally seek the advice of professionals to help them to make informed choices. These scholars often employ certain evaluation methods to assess the interests of specific individuals so as to identify the most suitable career choices for these individuals. Usually, the people seeking assistance form professionals gain help through the evaluation of their preferences (Strong Interest Inventory, 2014). During these sessions, the counselor also finds out the kind of traits and people that the client is compatible with and more likely to work with. Such tools can also help to evaluate the most conducive environment in which the client can work optimally in and the best career that would most suit the nature of the person. This helps the counselor to match the interest and traits of the person with specific interests.
The process of assessment is not just based on interest but personality as well. For instance, a jovial person might be more interested and suited in working within a setting in which they can touch the lives of people positively. On the other hand, introverts would be more suited in work settings which have less human interactions (Psychometrics.com, 2014). This paper therefore examines the inventory that is based on strong interests and investigates how people have employed these tools to get careers and successfully change their careers.
The strong interest inventory
The strong interest inventory is an evaluation that many career developers across the globe utilize to guide their clients towards the choices they make with regards to their career. In 1974, the inventory was invented by E. K. Strong Junior and many professionals specializing in career development view this tool as the most utilized and the most successful method of assisting clients to chose the most suitable careers (Psychometrics.com, 2014). In addition, this tool is also very appropriate for guiding the clients in need of career changes as it helps them to identify the long lasting opportunities that match their interests. Just like its name suggests, the assesment tool evaluates the ppersonalities and interests of clients with the aim of helping them choose their careers. In 2004, this model was reviewed in order to include the code of typology by John Holland. This amended version is considered to transcend any other version and is used in context of theory when choosing careers.
The strong interest inventory (SII) usually employs the use of questionnaires and when people take these assessments, they are expected to respond to the questions that generally reveal their interests as well as personalities. The questionnaire has 35-40 questions that guide one in making responses regarding their preferred subjects, their personal interests and preferred working conditions. These questionnaires also try to discover the type of people most compatible with the client. The questionnaire usually takes an hour to complete before it is graded online (Psychometric.com, 2014). After grading, the client usually receives their test results.
Of importance if the fact that the strong interest inventory can only be used in making an evaluation of the interest of an individual and hence guiding him or her in choosing an appropriate career. However it cannot be used in solving career issues and as such cannot tell the client the specific career that they can select (Craighead & Weiner, 2010). Instead, by using SII, an individual can find out their particular interests and personality traits which can be matched to particular careers and professional capabilities. On the other hand, many studies have linked successful career choices as well as changes in careers to this tool, making it an exceptional success in terms of career guidance since it was invented in 1974 (Psychometrics.com, 2014).
The SII is thus an important career evaluation tool that links the interests of a person to their choices of career. It is a very important tool because it allows the people who are unsure of which careers to get into to choose professions that augur well with their interests as well as personalities. This tool is popularly used by both high school students as well as students in universities. In addition, people who are already working also use the tool in order to make the right career changes (Craighead & Weiner, 2010). Such people may want to change their jobs because they are either discontent or have recently pursued different academic paths that interest them.
The primary question that one needs to identify when using the SII tool is the main interests and personality traits of their client as these are very pertinent to choosing the right career. The inventory therefore needs to establish the career options or the intentions of the individual and also particular interests as these will be used in deriving a suitable career for them and also help them attain job satisfaction in this career (Whiston, 2012). Interest is also important because it affects the performance of an individual in their work place. Personality characteristics are also very key in selection of careers and professions and it is thus necessary for the professional counselor to be on the look out for traits such as ability to be realistic, social, conventional, artistic, enterprising and investigative.
Of essence as well is the ability of the tool to investigate the personality traits of the client because these play a vital role in career paths that one chooses as well as their professional performances. For instance, an individual who is realistic by nature will tend to be practical at the workplace. Additionally, such a person will tend to be hands on and also physical or work oriented (Whiston, 2012). Social individuals on the other hand will prefer to work with a supportive and very cooperative team and it is important for such a person to be surrounded by fellow professionals who can easily lend a helping hand where necessary. It is also necessary to place such an individual in an environment with people who can nurture him or her. Therefore, they need people who can help them build their professional careers as well as other areas of their lives. These individuals need to find careers where they can combine efforts with their teammates and get their tasks done (Gassner, 2006).
People with analytical characteristic need careers that utilize their analytical abilities. In most cases, these individuals need to explore and use their scientific capabilities and as such their chosen professions ought to tap into and employ their experimental and investigative skills (Bush, 2014).On the other hand, the people who have traits that are conventional require to be placed in careers that pay meticulous attention to details. with characteristics such as the conventional need to be in professions that pays particular attention to details. These people also make for excellent secretaries because they can demonstrate organizing and clerical skills as well. Such people tend to be well organized and keep information very well.
Artistic individuals with enterprising abilities should be placed in work environments that are competitive in nature. These people tend to exhibit exceptional leadership abilities and are very persuasive. They therefore ought to work in the professions that allow them to employ their persuasive abilities in order to get work done (Bush, 2014). In addition, these people are also excellent at inspiring other people and educating them as well. Nevertheless, artistic people can also display attributes of self reliance and high independence and such should be placed in careers where they do not rely much on other people. These are individuals who do not take orders very well and can exhibit chaotic behavior when placed in an environment where they are issued with orders.
The tool to be used as part of the assessment
The strong inventory tool is the most appropriate technique to apply in the evaluation because as earlier mentioned, it is not only highly popular but very reliable in terms of measuring the interests of an individual in a specific job or career choice. The strong inventory interests is made more appropriate by the connection between the different interests that a client displays (CPP, 2014). This particular tool usually follows a specific process of assessment called RIASEC, which simply stands for realistic, investigative, artistic, social, entrepreneurial and conventional.First, the tool usually makes an assessment of the interests of an individual and links this to the personal traits. This tool is also appropriate for making evaluations because it is necessary in making decisions regarding career development, college major selection, exploring career options, reintegration and agreement among employees.
Furthermore, the technique can also be used to link the interests of an individual with main job opportunities, employment setting as well as possible suitable employers. Graduates from college and high school can easily make informed subject choices that will guide them in choosing suitable career paths by using this particular tool. Individuals who are just starting out their careers can also benefit from this strong tool because they can rely on the results of these instruments (Gassner, 2006). This tool can also be used by people who are making pertinent decisions regarding their career changes or college subject choice to solve particular problems and overcome certain hurdles. Moreover, this tool is not simply limited to career choices but can also be used in solving non-professional problems that affect recreational activities, living conditions and hobbies.
How to score and interpret the strong interest assessment
Any person who wants to utilize their interest assessment tool must go through the relevant exam which is usually in form of a questionnaire with thirty five to forty questions and takes around one hour to complete. individuals undertaking the test are advised to be as honest as possible in order to achieve the most reliable results (Advisor 2012). The results are usually graded depending on particular categories including the interests, personality level, general occupational topics, profile summary, occupational scale and response summary level which are all based on the responses given by a person.
The scales or scores usually range between zero to seventy whereby a score of 60 is regarded as higher, while that of between 40 and 50 is considered moderate and those of between 30 and 40 are little while anything lower is too minimal (Advisor, 2012). There is a similar method that can be used to assess the rest of the parameters of the tool in which all the results are revealed as either high, very high, low or very low. These results should be interpreted with the help of a qualified counselor.
Any scores of very high and high regardless of the different levels of evaluation usually indicate exceptional performances of the individual in the particular fields assessed. It is usually an indication of stronger interests, occupational abilities and social abilities among other qualities (Advisor, 2012). The moderate results usually indicate that the performance of the person in the tested area is slightly above expectations. A score of little or very little is usually an indication of poor performance in the tested areas. The client ought to be informed that the strong inventory is an evaluation tool for assessing the interest of the individual and not their actual knowledge or skills.
Presentation of results to clients
Any professional (counselor) who participates in this particular exercise serves the client with the outcomes and guides them in fully comprehending them. The counselor ought to act ethically when presenting the results. An ethical evaluation is important and it requires the counselor to deal in a dignified and professional manner with the client without necessarily making them feel as if they have failed or lost. The counselor should not exhibit any judgmental or close-mindedness when presenting the results to the client (Strong Interest Inventory, 2014). There is need for the counselor to explain every score within each scale in an explicit manner to the client. In addition, the counselor should give the client room to express their feelings and discontent if any.
Being an ethical assessment, the strong interest inventory is very useful to clients who want to grow and develop in their careers as well as other areas of life. Nevertheless, there is need to conduct this evaluation in a dignified manner that appreciates the diverse nature of every individual. It is important for the person carrying out the test to uphold utmost confidentiality when issuing out the test and also presenting it (ACA, 2005). Therefore,any unauthorized persons must be prevented from accessing the test results unless if stated otherwise.Additionally, the client ought to be given the right tospeak and room for privacy by the counselor, asstipulated under section B of the ACA codes of ethics where the counselor is required to respect the confidentiality of the client. During the assessment, the counselor is also required to act in discretion and assure the client of confidentiality.
Counselors who interpret and present the results to the clients need to exhibit diversity in their different faucets of work, taking into account the different origins and backgrounds of the patient as well as their cultural diversities. These differences may make the clients to demand that things be done differently (ACA, 2005). It is thus necessary that there is proper communication and understanding between the counselor and the client as this can foster a professional relationship between the two and also ensure the user well as well as be able to meet their demands. PartA. 2. C of the ACA codes of ethics stipulates that counselor is supposed to cooperate with clients in a professional manner, both developmentally and culturally. It is necessary for the counselor to exercise cultural sensitivity to how he or she conveys the information without jeopardizing relations with the client or influencing their cultural background in a negative manner.
There must be an appropriate method of conveying information between the counselor and the client but the counselor is charged with the duty of interpreting the results to the client.Section E of the ACA codes of ethics further gives the client the privilege to proper explanation of results. The counselor is expected to evaluate and interpret the outcomes of the test to the client without intentionally being malicious. This process necessitates that the counselor be culturally sensitive and take into consideration the issues that affect the client such as his or her background and inclinations (ACA, 2005).
The counselor therefore ought to use a language best understood by the client and must thus establish from the onset of the communication and assessment that the client if familiar and comfortable with the language being used in their relations. It is the right of the client to get a counselor who best comprehends their language (ACA, 2005). In case the client has a problem comprehending the interpretations and explanations made by the counselor, it may necessitate the counselor to his or her rights and find another qualified person who can help to translate the results.This will make sure that the client is well served and is able to fully understand the assessment with ease. The codes of ethics further give the counselors to effectively adjust their work in terms of their culture in order to meet the needs of the customer and such a move should only be done after an agreement between the counselor and the customer.
The case study
The case study revolves around a 17 year old girl named Sophia who intends to join college after completing her high school and has scored above average marks in her SAT exams. She hails from a family of poorly educated people who have no background knowledge concerning higher education and as such every person within her extended and nuclear family is advising her to pursue one course or the other. These encouragements are based on their individual failed academic attempts and expectations and have left Sophia confused without a clue of what she where to start or what to pursue.
The most relevant advice for Sophia is for to encourage her to apply the strong interest inventory technique. As mentioned earlier on, this tool is very accurate and can be used by high school graduates who intend to join college but are unsure of their interests. Such an inventory will guide Sophia and enable her to explore her interest in diverse subjects. Together with a qualified counselor, Sophia can use this assessment tool for her benefit (CPP, 2014). The counselor will be responsible for assistingSophiato research on her subject areas of interest and direct her appropriately. The counselor will give Sophia the permission to display her abilities in different subject areas hence giving her room to state what professions she would like to engage in.
Sophia will then need to take the strong interest inventory evaluation, and this will help to assess her general occupation abilities, basic interests, occupational scales, personality types, summary and profile scales. This test will help the client to discover her abilities in areas such as being conventional, realistic, artistic, social, investigative or enterprising. By carrying out an investigation, the general occupational skills will enable her to realize her strongest and most popular job qualities (Strong Interest Inventory, 2014). In addition, this test will also reveal to Sophia, the most suitable working environment and her biggest interests. The tool will also guide her in identifying the kind of people she can work best with for her to enjoy her career.
Since Sophia is yet to join college, the inventory will help her to explore the kinds of subjects that she is strong in and can record better performance in. The professional will guide her and empower her to choose the most appropriate combination of subjects for the career she intends to engage in during her future. Furthermore, the inventory tool will also help Sophia to identify her interests and expectations as well as other relevant hobbies.
Having completed the examination, the counselor will guide Sophia in interpreting the results based on the scales mentioned above with the grading of each level ranging between zero to 70 (Strong Interest Inventory, 2014). The expected scores will be graded as very high, high, moderate, little, and very little and the professional counselor will help Sophia to decipher the meaning of each scale result. Both the evaluation and explanation of the outcomes must be carried out under the ACA codes of ethics. In the long run, Sophia will be empowered to make an informed choices regarding the subjects to pursue in college with the particular choice of career in mind. The counselor will also be expected to inform Sophia that she can be able to utilize the same evaluation tool in future whenever she wants to change her career.
ACA. (2005). ACA codes of ethics. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/resources/aca-code-of-ethics.pdf
Advisor, J. (2012). Strong interest inventory profile. Retrieved from https://www.cpp.com/pdfs/smp284106.pdf
Bush, D. (2012). The strong interest inventory. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/dwbush/strong-nterest-inventory-09082012
CPP. (2014). Strong interest inventory. Retrieved from https://www.cpp.com/products/strong/index.aspx
Craighead,E. & Weiner, I. (2010). The Corsini encyclopedia of psychology. Volume 3.New York, NY: John Willey & Sons
Gassner, C. (2006). Concurrent validity of the 2004 strong interest inventory: an examination of gender and college major.New York, NY: Proquest
Opp. (2014). Stronginterest inventory. Retrieved from http://www.opp.com/en/tools/strong-interest-inventory#.Uxd-eD-Sxp4
Psychometrics. Com. (2014). Strong interest inventory. Retrieved from https://www.psychometrics.com/docs/strong_brochure.pdf
Strong interest inventory. 2014. Retrieved from https://www.psychometrics.com/docs/strong_brochure.pdf
Whiston, S. (2012). Principles and Applications of Assessment in Counseling. 2012. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning