Determination for a Successful Future

Recently, I was talking to some college students about their expectations for their careers. I was happy to hear that many of them had a bright outlook for their future but became a little distressed when I learned that they didn’t realize the lengths and effort they need to put into it in order to reach their career goals. Many assumed that simply getting a degree and getting a little experience from interning could help them easily land a job. I tried to explain to them that in this economy, the bare minimum just won’t cut it.

That conversation had me thinking about people I knew that were particularly admirable in this capacity. I instantly thought about my friend, Desiree Louca, who I’ve known since kindergarten. She had always impressed me with her drive and self-motivation, even when we were younger. As we grew older, she harnessed these personal traits and worked hard to obtain the future she dreamed of. Her determination allowed her to have a successful future at the ripe age of 21 years old. Her future gave her the financial security and independence to support herself in ways that some adults may never know throughout their lifetime. With that being said, I felt that she was a perfect person to interview for this topic. Here’s the story on how her hard work paid off:

Ashley Perez (AP):   How were you able to pinpoint what career path you wanted to pursue so early in your life?

Desiree Louca (DL): “Growing up, I always had a great feeling inside when I helped out people in need. I was always fascinated with the medical field, probably from watching so many reality shows of the ER in hospitals. This was the first position in the medical field I really had my heart set on. At 14, my mother took me to the local hospital and I signed up to be a junior volunteer. I volunteered for 3 years and it was such an amazing experience.

“However, after only a few months of volunteering, I quickly learned that being a nurse was not for me. I could not handle it emotionally. I always found myself to be extremely emotionally strong, but I could not bare certain situations that I watched. Maybe I was too young to have seen them and would be able to handle them better now, but it is something that will never leave my mind. I simply could not disassociate myself from my emotions on the job. You can’t have a cry break every 30 minutes as a nurse, especially in the ER!

“I still knew the medical field was for me, though, and that there were tons of other jobs in the field. Teeth were another fascination for me. At 16, I began a paid internship at a local dental office. I absolutely loved it! I worked at a multi-specialty practice, so I was fully able to experience every single aspect of dentistry. I was initially working as a dental assistant but I knew I wanted more, so I decided to go to school to become a dental hygienist. While in school I felt a deep sense of comfort, stability, and enjoyment. I knew that this career was meant for me. In conclusion, I was able to pinpoint my career path by basically going and trying out each field of employment that I felt I may want to pursue.”

AP: What course of action did you determine was necessary to get the experience and education needed to be successful?

DL: “Research and resources! We are lucky to have the internet these days but I feel that doing it the old fashioned way is sometimes better. Before receiving the internship at the dental office, I walked in to the office and asked to speak to a dental hygienist. That dental hygienist was very happy to sit and answer the questions I had written out on a notepad. My questions included; job description, schooling, and stability in life.”

AP: Did you have goals and timelines? What were they?

DL: “Absolutely. Procrastination gets nowhere. Everyone at this point in life knows that you will not get anywhere unless you make moves. Right after high school I went right on the path to becoming a dental hygienist while still working at the dental office. This helped me greatly because while learning everything I needed to know about the field, I was experiencing it hands on. My goal was to be done with school in 4 years, that way I would be starting my career at 21 years of age.”

AP: What are the sacrifices you had to make in order to stay focused? Do you regret making them?

DL: “Starting to work in a professional environment at 16 years old forced me to mature much faster than my friends. Going to college to become a health professional from ages 17-21 while all of my friends were partying at college and going out every weekend was very hard for me to deal with at the time. However, being on a career path that I loved was a constant reminder that everything was going to be okay and well worth it in the end. I have no regrets. Even though I hardly went out nearly as much as my friends, I still had the chance to occasionally, and that was all that I really needed. In the midst of my busy life, I sit back and feel very accomplished realizing where I am in life at 24 years old compared to most people my age who live in my area.”

AP: What advice would you give people just starting out?

 DL: “Be a go-getter! Don’t sit back and think something is going to come your way or that the wind will blow one way and magically you will know where you are meant to be. It is a natural instinct to have things that interest you in life. Write them down, research ways you can try them out; such as volunteering, internships, or actual employment. You will not know if it’s right for you in a day or even weeks, so give it at least a few months. As I’m sure most people have heard more than once in their life, ‘Just do it’.”

Desiree provided some great insight and tips on how to pave your way to a successful future. I’ve personally seen her dedicate time and determination throughout the years and can honestly say that it seemed to work. I’m proud of her success and happy to see that it paid off early on in her life. I believe that many college students and early careerists can benefit from these tips and should try to test them out as soon as they can. Desiree is living proof that putting yourself out there can help you secure a place in your career.

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Photo Source: Colourbox

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Assessments to Find the Best Candidate/Job Fit

Over the course of the last month or two, I was networking with a contact I met via LinkedIn named Bob Gately. We had connected through a discussion post I had started on the LinkedIn: HR group. This post talked about some of the issues that candidates experience during the interview process. One of the main issues I had brought up was: whether or not the rigid interviewing process was potentially causing companies to lose quality talent. After months of commenting on this discussion, Bob introduced me to an assessment called the ProfileXT.

As the discussion post grew longer and longer with comments from various HR professionals, it became apparent that there seemed to be a lot of conflicting views and practices. Although there was a lot of great information, it also became clearer that no one seemed to be on the same page. Everyone seemed to have different interview criteria and practices. Also, no one could determine the most effective way to interview in regard to pinpointing the right candidate/job fit.

And then Bob chimed in.

Bob had mentioned an assessment that he had been using for several years called the ProfileXT. Because I was sincerely intrigued, I spent time discussing the details of this assessment and I was completely blown away. This assessment measures candidates’ personality traits, and their math and verbal competencies. It then takes the results and compares it to the criteria that a company determines to be the qualities that lead to higher success rates. Basically, the assessment works like this:

• Company determines their current best employees for each job function and has them take the assessment. Assessment results will give a range of certain qualities and traits that these employees have. This sets the bar for what would make a future employee successful at this job.

• Candidates going through the interview process take the assessment. The assessment involves a series of questions that measures their personality traits, as well as their math and verbal competencies.

• After the assessment is completed, a report will be generated that shows where the candidate falls on a scale of 1 to 10 for each criterion (there are a ton!)

• The scales can then be deciphered against some literature that explains what each criterion means and what their score translates to in that regard.

• Once the scores are translated, they can be compared to the company’s “Successful Employee” range and determine if the candidate possesses the necessary qualities and traits that the company believes would make a nearly-ideal employee.

Although this explanation is extremely general, I’ve attached some documents that Bob provided to give more detail on how this assessment works. Some of the main benefits of this assessment are as follows:

• The assessment can identify the talent that is ideal for the job and company.

• It allows candidates to find out their strong/weak qualities so they can determine which jobs would be best to apply to.

• It can help candidates understand themselves better so they can sell themselves with supporting documentation.

• It can reduce turnover.

• It can make the selection process less biased and can conform it in a way so that everyone’s on the same page.

I really thought this was a great tool. I was able to test it out and felt that the results were very accurate. It was also amazing to see the success percentages that were generated when I compared my results up against jobs that I’m interested in doing. Mind boggling!

I suggest that companies consider giving this assessment a trial run. I’ve attached more information on it and also Bob’s contact information so you can get additional insight on how it would work for your company. If you’ve used it (or are planning on using it) I’d love to hear how it’s helped you during the talent acquisition process.

PII Case Study SOS Reducing Turnover

PII PXT Users Guide