[IPAC-List] Getting people into jobs they're gonna love

Kelly Sorensen kelsoren at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 10:46:27 EDT 2011

I am much more comfortable with RJPs than I am with the "making these
decisions for them," if the basis for the decision isn't clearly related to
job performance. In addition to concerns about legal defensibility, I'm
concerned for the following reasons:

1. This approach reminds me of "benevolent sexism," where managers assume
that woman won't want to travel, take international positions, move into
highly demanding stretch roles, etc. because "they have young children," or
2. As an intern I worked on a project where someone was given feedback on a
personality measure that basically told him that he was pursuing a
career that was a very poor fit for him. He learned this as a developmental
assessment center for high potentials. Clearly he was performing well in his
job or he wouldn't have been nominated to participate in the very
prestigious and highly competative program. Would he have difficulty in the
role later on at higher levels? Perhaps, but perhaps not. By all accounts
(including his) he loved his job, even though it wasn't "supposed" to be a
good fit for him. Prediction isn't perfect, and if what we are predicting
isn't related to job performance, I don't think we can justify it.
3. We don't necessarily know why a person is interested in a job. Perhpas an
applicant's partner has an incredibly demanding job, they have young
children, and that partner needs a job that will allow them some work-life
balance. Also, a number of famous authors have been civil servants. For
some, their job required much less of them than they were capable of, and
thus they were able to develop their novels while performing what otherwise
might be unsatisfiying work. In other cases, their job provided inspiration
for their writing. Melville worked in the Customs House in NYC. Orwell
worked for the Indian Imperial Police Force in Burma. While perhaps we might
not consider these ideal reasons for taking a job, the point I'm trying to
make is that it seems presumptuous of us to make these kinds of decisions
for people. And of course, many people are primarily motivated by pay. That
might be less than ideal as well, but it's perhaps irrelevant if they are
high performers (taking into account both techinical and soft skills).

In an ideal world it would be nice if we could know what jobs people would
and wouldn't enjoy. However, I think it's probably a much more viable option
to focus our attention on realistic job previews.
On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM, Pluta, Paul <ppluta at hr.lacounty.gov> wrote:

> We often use the RJP to allow individuals to self-select out of the

> running. As for people who complain...what about chronic kickers? Some

> people have the disposition of complaining about everything. I get my best

> ideas for how to improve things from complainers. I think that complaining

> and job engagement are not necessarily synonymous. Some people are just

> never satisfied, but they are still vested in their jobs.


> The problem of people taking jobs they are not likely to enjoy or be a good

> fit for is especially salient in these hard economic times. Many people will

> take any job that pays, no matter how much they dislike it or the

> organization. We have been getting college graduates applying for laborer

> and entry-level clerical positions. People have bills to pay and will "bite

> the bullet" rather than wait for the "right" job to materialize.


> Paul E. Pluta, ABD, SPHR

> Human Resources Analyst

> Los Angeles County Department of Human Resources

> Talent Management Division


> To Enrich Lives Through Effective & Caring Service


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> -----Original Message-----

> From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org]

> On Behalf Of Jeff Feuquay

> Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 6:23 AM

> To: Pritchard, Ken

> Cc: ipac-list at ipacweb.org; Mark Hammer

> Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Getting people into jobs they're gonna love


> Makes me crazy when a sentence or a thought sticks with me, but the source

> escapes recollection. Seems to me, though, that it was Bob Hogan at the

> combined IPMA-HR/IPAC conference who said, "If you put someone in a job

> that's not right for them, you're stealing their life." The context, as I

> recall, was very much what Mark alludes to.


> Methinks, "enjoys the job and doesn't constantly whine about it, thereby

> being a boon rather than an irritant to all around" is a reasonable KSAP.


> Jeff

> -----------------------------------------

> Dr. Jeffrey P Feuquay, I/O Psychologist & Attorney

> Managing Consultant, Psychology-Law Center, LLC

> 108 W. Walnut, Nevada, Mo 64772

> ofc: 417-667-5076 cell: 417-549-0997



> On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 6:09 AM, Pritchard, Ken <Ken.Pritchard at mwaa.com

> >wrote:


> > 1. There is a danger here due to Title VII and other employment laws,

> and

> > the danger may trump everything else. What employer wants to determine

> that

> > someone is well-qualified for a job, but not well-suited by his/her

> deeper

> > needs, and thereby "help" the candidate "decline" the job only to get

> sued

> > (and lose) later on by the candidate?

> > 2. There are systems that assess job content and what an individual's

> work

> > "preferences" are USING THE SAME (behavioral) CRITERIA so that one can

> > determine the degree of match as well as gaps. I think the best use of

> such

> > systems with the least danger to the employer are in the domains of

> employee

> > and organization development (including leadership development), job

> design,

> > talent "redeployment" for any number of reasons (including RIF) and such


> > current employees (not candidates for a vacancy and surely not for

> external

> > candidates for a vacancy).

> >

> > - Ken Pritchard

> >

> >

> > -----Original Message-----

> > From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org [mailto:

> ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org]

> > On Behalf Of Mark Hammer

> > Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 2:33 PM

> > To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org

> > Subject: [IPAC-List] Getting people into jobs they're gonna love

> >

> >

> > This past week, I was attending the Canadian Psychological

> > Association's annual convention, and stopping by the various sessions

> > put on by the Industrial/Organizational section. One of the themes at

> > this year's convention was "positive psychology", and in keeping with

> > that there were some nice papers on "psychological capital", loving

> > one's job, and harmonious vs obsessive passion regarding work.

> > It occurred to me that, in the world of staffing, we have these two

> > separate universes of what we call vocational guidance, and selection

> > and assessment. The former tries to identify what general kind of work

> > would make an individual happy and be aptly suited for them, but is not

> > specific to any particular position. The latter attempts to identify

> > who would be competent and qualified for a specific position, but makes

> > no attempt to determine if they would be happy in it, and love it.

> > So the challenge arises: how do we reshape assessment and selection

> > systems, procedures, and tools, such that the result is the placement of

> > people into jobs that not only deliver for the organization, but ALSO

> > deliver for the person in the job. How do we begin the re-engineering

> > of selection systems with the goal of allowing people to be happy and

> > fulfilled in their work?

> > Of course, part and parcel of this is figuring out how the heck we'd

> > tell someone "Look, you are VERY qualified for this work, in terms of

> > skills, but all indices point to you being unlikely to be happy in it,

> > over the long haul". I think some of that heavy lifting can certainly

> > be done by job ads and RJPs that let people know more about the job and

> > what a typical day/week/year would be like, so they can self-screen.

> > But you can't rely on that exclusively. Even very clever people can

> > still make bad judgment calls about what is really right for them;

> > particularly if distracted by the increment to income, or some aspect of

> > a job's status. Does it become the employer's perogative to make

> > assumptions about the candidate's future happiness, and turn them away

> > on the basis of signs and omens? Do we try, and then say "You pays your

> > money and you takes your chances" if they want to take the chance?

> > I'd like to think that selection is essentially match-making in its

> > purest form - a "shidduch" for those of you better-versed in the Yiddish

> > idiom - and that it is almost a basic human right to be happy in one's

> > work, and be directed to work that makes you happy. "Happy" doesn't

> > necessarily mean you stay in the job forever. You can think of some

> > jobs as "the soup" that precedes the main course; satisfying in its own

> > way, but merely a way-station, and presented as such. But soup doesn't

> > have to be something you bite your lip to get through. It CAN be

> > enjoyable.

> > Do any of you already factor this in to how you conduct staffing, or

> > view assessment? In some respects, I suppose it IS factored in, when

> > people are selected for whether they will fit into a particular work

> > team. Although I imagine the emphasis there is not on the happiness of

> > the new team member, but the aggregate productivity of the team.

> > Am I dreaming in technicolor or is this a realistic objective?

> > Mark Hammer

> > Ottawa

> >

> >

> > >

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