Strong Interest Inventory(SII)® is a powerful tool for career conversations across life stages. One of our proficient SII® users is Mr Rohit Kumar who is a consultant with Family Vision. Rohit has been using SII® for quite some time now in different settings. We asked him to share his experience and views on working with the SII® and following are the excerpts from the interview.
Interviewer: What drew you to use the SII® in your work?
Rohit: I work with high school students a lot, and do workshops with them that help them to negotiate their turbulent teen years and this is one of their biggest questions – “What am I supposed to do with my life?” The SII®, I think, gives students a very useful and empowering way to make choices about their future.
I like the SII®’s ‘inside-out’ approach. It helps people identify their own deep interests in the career exploration process first. Far too many career counselors start with how much money enrolling in such-and-such a college course or pursuing such-and-such a career will earn them. The SII starts with the intrinsic motivations of a person – which is ultimately what will determine their stamina in pursuing their long-term goals.
Also, what helped was the fact that I have already done Anahat’s very good MBTI®, FIRO-B® and Saville certification courses.
I: How do you use the SII® in your work?
R: I use the SII® with senior school students one-on-one and sometimes in small groups. I also use the SII® to help professionals handle career transitions. I have found the SII® to be very useful in helping people going through a difficult phase in their careers to find some stable ground to stand on. It even helps people in their mid and late 50s in figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives.
I: How has the instrument supported you in engaging with your clients?
R: It really helps to have a highly valid and reliable psychometric tool to base my counselling sessions on. I often quote what the Mental Measures Yearbook says to my clients. Words to that effect: If you just do one psychometric assessment in your life, make sure it’s this one.
I: What age groups do you use the SII® with? Is there a difference in how the age-groups experience the instrument?
R: With all age groups, actually. Teenagers, people in their 30s, 40s and 50’s. In fact, in their 60s as well. Yes, there is a difference in how a 15 year-old experiences it vis-a-vis how a 40 year-old does. The 15-year old needs a lot more explanation but the 40-year old already has enough work experience and experiences the instrument very differently. With adults who have already worked professionally, the SII® is many times more of a validation tool and gives them permission to be themselves; gives them the courage to follow their deep interests. Having said that, it has also been revelatory in nature and helped older clients say, “I never realized that this career option was a possibility, but now that you mention it, I would like to explore that…”
I: What have clients said about the SII®?
R: Good things. It has given them a very clear and useful way to think about their careers and given them permission to be themselves.
I: In your opinion, what are the watch outs when using Strong®?
R: Don’t pitch it as the magic pill to sort out career confusion. Make it very clear, in the beginning, that this is a tool which will help you to think clearly about your career/education options and give you the tools to make an informed decision, instead of a formula. Put the onus on the client. Be the guide, not the guru.
I have noticed, though, that the SII® does not help the “you tell me what to do” clients too much. For that reason, I make it very clear that this tool is exploratory and not prescriptive, the client also must do their own thinking during the interpretation process. Far too many people, especially in India, have the “Guruji, tell me what to do” mindset.
Also, in my opinion, as is the case with many good psychometric tools, the SII needs a strong counseling and debriefing component as well. Reports are much more comprehensive and useful and must be interpreted and debriefed by an SII® certified administrator. This, naturally, helps the client more.
I: That is valuable advice for our readers. Thank you for your time and all the very best.
R: Thank you.
Rohit Kumar is a training and programme development specialist with 15 years of training experience assisting personal and organizational development for organizations, institutions and companies in 22 cities across India. An alumnus of Hindu College, New Delhi, Rohit is certified on Strong Interest Inventory®, FIRO-B® and MBTI® Instrument. He specializes in developing and delivering training programmes for parents, teachers and other professionals. Rohit has also developed a series of value education life-skills programmes for senior school students.