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HR Advice

Why assess vocational interests?

eye 928 Published on 26 Oct. 2021
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tag #HR advice

Factoring in interests within career management is beneficial on a number of different levels. On a personal level to understand where you best fit , of course, as this is the crux of this approach. Within the education system, to make career guidance procedures more relevant and to gain a better understanding of and ability to react to cases of school dropouts. And for companies as well, to check the match between the candidate’s career interests and job requirements that extend further benefits linke improvement of  overall performance, company image and organisational health.

In this article, let's take a look at the benefits of assessing vocational interests. 

The benefits to the individual 

Encouraged to reflect on their interests at various stages of their lives, participants who use this information effectively and apply it to their life journeys will be able to: 

  • make the right career choices for them, as these decisions will be grounded in the knowledge that they have of themselves
  • find the right job according to their interest
  • thrive, as they will be encouraged to tap into their full potential when completing tasks that stimulate them 
  • develop a sense of competence, as they will be pushed to give it their all 
  • find meaning in their work life, by feeling like they are in the right place  feel good about being able to work in an environment where they feel right at home 
  • be happy doing tasks that they enjoy and be motivated to get out of bed each morning to get them done  
  • succeed, because everything feels natural and effortless.  

The assets for success in school life

If, in certain countries, schools champion ‘academic perseverance’ to tackle the issue of school dropouts, it is often because it is  possible for students to avoid this bump in the road – by activating key drivers of motivation, they can continue moving forward. Consideration of personal interests when offering support to students allows you to: 

  • understand high-risk situations, allowing you to step in and act accordingly 
  • boost your students’ motivation by pinning down their areas of interest 
  • have a positive impact on their learning potential by taking each student’s preferred learning style into consideration 
  • foster the continuing academic success of your students by focusing on their needs and interests 

The benefits at the professional life

For companies, being more accustomed to evaluating personality and skills, factoring in personal interests provides a different outlook on your candidates’ odds for success, their cultural fit and what they can add to your company. Incorporating interests into your HR policy will lead to: 

  • identify the imbalance between vocational interests and role characteristics of an employee
  • create effective skill development programmes
  • increased productivity with employees who are motivated by their tasks
  • improved organisational health thanks to happier teams
  • employees who are a better cultural fit plus they will have a stronger sense of identity 
  • enhanced performance by offering career mobility for those looking to move up in their career
  • a positive corporate image, with a happy staff force making for a lower staff turnover rate
  • high levels of loyalty among employees who feel that they belong and are keen to fully dedicate themselves to their role 

When we see employees occupying roles that line up poorly with their interests, the benefits mentioned above are lost. Worse still, this mismatch triggers various issues and feelings of discontent which can result in:

  • a feeling of uneasiness, since these individuals do not feel as if they belong  
  • frustration or feelings of envy towards those who seem to have their dream job
  • performance issues, stemming from the struggle to muster up the energy needed to complete their tasks
  • lost sense of self, from going against the grain of their natural inclinations
  • in the long term, feelings of failure, or even of ‘messing up’ their career 

Our interests are a part of us; we don’t get to decide what we like, we only discover it. It is a question of pinning down our interests by finding the right words to describe them with the help of tools such as interest assessments, one can  effectively build their career aspirations around it.

Helen Simard

Consultant Psychologist

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