Sunday, August 17, 2014

CareerFingerprint: An odd narrative

I'm looking for work: either a full-time gig or as a consultant through my own company, p20partners. As part of my search, I've registered with a few organizations that claim to be dedicated to helping me with that search. We'll see. One of the companies had me complete a sort of survey--drag and drop to prioritize most important to least important. Easy enough except that some of those choices require some explanation because my thinking is that if the things with the greater priority happen, those with the least priority will happen more organically. Unfortunately, the career fingerprinting system doesn't see it that way.

My results were, well, interesting. So I took the survey again and the response was actually worse.

The first time through the career fingerprinting system indicated learning new skills or developing my expertise is important for my "career advancement" but not for my job search. Well, why wouldn't I look for something that may provide opportunity for learning new skills and developing my expertise. . . period? I think it's silly to suggest someone might apply for a job and say that learning and professional development aren't very important.

The first version of the career fingerprinting survey stated I might be working in a place that is "quiet, cold, or otherwise not particularly social." Yikes!! While it is true there are times I like to work alone or in isolation, I really like having colleagues with whom I can brainstorm or who will let me share a idea and give me honest feedback, preferably even building on it.

As I said, the second survey results weren't much better. In fact, I wouldn't hire me based on the results of that survey.

What do I think is important:
  • Leadership that recognizes its role, has a vision its shared with the employees and from whom its gotten input for and feedback from in the development and execution of the strategic plan
  • An organization that values employee input, provides opportunities for growth, acknowledges successes, gives productive feedback when there are failures, and values creative, thoughtful, and innovative thinking.
  • An organization that recognizes not all employees work in precisely the same ways. I know of companies with open air office space that have also set aside small work rooms when someone just has to sit in an office with walls and a door to concentrate on a particular project but is still accessible to everyone.
  • An organization that values change but doesn't change just for the sake of change, and doesn't chase after the latest shiny thing just because someone else did. In other words, trying to play catch up with the competition rather than seeking the past avenues for growth and development that make sense for the organizations core competencies.
The survey got to me to thinking about standardized tests and how quickly and easily we can pigeonhole students of all ages based on the results of those tests. The survey also got me to thinking about how talent acquisition departments (formerly known as "HR departments") use such surveys to try to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In other words, in far too many instances, individuals are herded into categories based on how they bubbled in responses or tried to prioritize broad statements and categories. 

In other words, in far too many instances, we seem to be trying to generalize much of what we do in hiring and in education when absolutely nothing of the real and relevant world indicates such generalization, compartmentalization, and diluting of individual talent, interests, abilities, and passions makes sense.

In other words, if we must submit students to standardized tests, there must be some way for students to provide context for some of their answers.

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