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Tools and Techniques

by Judith Thomas

There are many testing tools and employment counselling tools that can be used with your clientele. I have selected a few of my preferences that harvest excellent results with clients.

Best Activity

My favourite technique to use with any group is the Pride Storying exercise that I learned from Rob Straby at Connestoga College, Kitchener, Ontario. Have each person tell a story of an achievement that they are proud of. Have other group members identify the skills, values and personality traits that arise from their story. Providing this list to the storyteller, not only helps with resume profile section, but also increases confidence. It also makes the individual realize that she/he does have qualities to “sell” to an employer.

Tool of Choice

The Jackson Vocational Interest Survey (JVIS) is my weapon of choice when guiding a person through career decisions. Although it only identifies interests, I have found that it usually solidifies possibilities that the individual was considering, but were too afraid to mention! What a person really enjoys doing, they will do well.

Motivational Murmurs

Despite the fact that a person is sitting with you, swearing that they are desperate to work, they often show tell-tale signs that they feel otherwise. You have all had the clients who put up a roadblock to your every suggestion, or are there because a family member or social agency has forced them to meet with you.

If a question of true motivation is nagging at you, try the scale exercise. Ask them; “On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, and one being the least, how badly do you want to work?” If they answer less than a ten, then you can question them, “Why are you picking a six, and not a ten? What do the other four points represent?” This should unearth the underlying reasons as to why they seem uncommitted.

Goal Setting – The Question

If your clients do not have a clear cut goal, then their job search will be a very scattered and unrewarding activity. Are they looking for a long term career, or just a survival job?

Even if it is a temporary, financial fill-in position, they should be accepting work that at least moves them towards their future goal. For example; if they want to be a motivational speaker, accepting any customer service position will at least gain them front line experience dealing with people. I always ask the traditional employer’s question, “What position do you see yourself holding in five years, ten years, or when you retire?”

Judith Thomas is an Employment Consultant who recently presented to Font Line workers at the OCASI professional development conference in Alliston, Ontario. These workers assist newcomers in adjusting to the Canadian job market. Judith delivers training modules and workshops to employment agencies and business in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area. Her website is

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