About the Career Advisor

One of the largest problems America is facing is a lack of adequate counseling and career guidance to help people determine what jobs they will be the most productive, successful and happy performing.

Today, our high schools, trade schools, community colleges and universities, social organizations and the military are unable to provide the career guidance students and adults need to set them on a career path that will be fulfilling for them. These organizations simply do not have the resources required to address this critical need. As a result, poor job satisfaction will continue to drive turnover in the workforce.

As the economy continues to grow, employers will face shortages of individuals to fill critical jobs. Many of these jobs could be filled by individuals who do not know they have the aptitudes to successfully perform the jobs. Without the availability of career guidance to assist these individuals find their niche, the shortage of qualified candidates to fill job openings is likely to continue.

CRI, a privately held firm with more than 40 years of experience in understanding human behavior in the workplace, has received grants under three presidential administrations to facilitate development of software designed to assist organizations fill the critical need of career guidance.

CRI Career Advisor Process

Most people do not recognize what they have the potential for, would be successful doing, or would enjoy doing in terms of a career. A system is needed to assist individuals in recognizing their potential relative to a career. The Career Advisor process provides a solution.

The Career Advisor software was developed over the course of a decade, utilizing over $1,000,000.00 in grants. The database for the software was derived by evaluating successful employees in hundreds of job categories to determine the aptitudes and behaviors these people had in common by job category. Consequently, when an individual completes the hour-long Career Advisor assessment he or she is compared to the aptitudes and behaviors of successful performers in 100's of job categories. The Career Advisor report then indicates which job categories the individual will likely enjoy and be successful doing. This approach does not address whether the individual has the experience, knowledge or skills for the jobs since it must operate without these biases.

The Career Advisor process is unique in that it removes the blinders imposed by environment. Most people arrive at a career objective through influences found in their environment such as family, friends, or schools. The CRI Career Advisor approach objectively assesses the individual's aptitudes and personality traits and guides the individual to the jobs that require the specific set of aptitudes and traits the individual possesses. Once an individual knows he or she possesses the aptitudes and traits needed to successfully perform the job and enjoy doing it, then consideration can be given to whether the individual has the experience, education and specific skills needed to successfully perform the jobs, or the practicality of gaining the education, experience and/or skills needed to pursue one of the jobs that the Career Advisor has indicated is a match.

In many cases, worker shortages could be eliminated by identifying the aptitudes and traits of people who are successful in jobs for which there are not enough people to fill. The Career Advisor system could be used to match individuals to these jobs at the school level or through resources available to working adults.

Toyota, Honeywell Consumer Products, Brinks Home Security, Talx, Universal Computer Systems, Cendant and other large organizations have utilized the technology that is the basis for the Career Advisor system for a decade. They routinely find enough talent and grow it to be successful for them. Why? Because they are willing to look for the talent (aptitudes and behaviors that match their successful people), hire people who have the aptitudes and behaviors, and train them to be successful.

The Solution

Students, young adults and individuals leaving the military need to be assessed with the Career Advisor process to help them determine their ideal career path. The major disconnect is that people simply do not know what they would like to do or what they might be successful doing as a career, while employers typically are focused on looking for candidates with experience rather than pursuing candidates with particular talents.

Often, people leave a job, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, because they just didn't quite fit. Inevitably, they will apply for and be hired for a similar job in the same field, and there is little likelihood they will be a fit there either. Thus, job turnover in America for recent generations entering the workplace is increasing. This turnover is highly related to the lack of good career guidance.

History of the Career Advisor System

In the late 1950's, upon graduation from Texas Christian University with a Ph.D. in psychology, Dr. John L. Shirley opened offices in Dallas to provide business-oriented assessment and career counseling to individuals. Dr. Shirley and his associates used the standard assessments of the day in their practice. These assessments included the Stanford Binet, Wunderlic, 16 PF (Personality Factors), the Myers Briggs, Strong Campbell, MMPI (the Minnesota Multiphasic) and other tests that were available at the time.

Individual's completed the assessments in Dr. Shirley's offices. The tests were scored and analyzed by Dr. Shirley or his associates, the individual receiving the career counseling was interviewed, and a report was generated advising the individual of the jobs for which he or she would be a good fit.

Some well-known entrepreneurs who received career counseling from Dr. Shirley include:

  • Mary Kay Ash, who was in the processes of investing two thousand dollars to purchase the hide tanning formula that was to become the foundation of Mary Kay cosmetics.
  • Mary Crowley, and her son Don Carter, who went on to start Home Interiors and Gifts, Inc.
  • Ebby Haliday who started Ebby Haliday Real estate in Dallas.
  • David Zales and his father in law Ben Lipsky, who together started the Zales Corporation.
  • John and Jerry Thompson who started and built 7-11 Corporation.

These companies strongly believed in the testing and career counseling services provided by Dr. Shirley and wanted to utilize them in the hiring process for their employees. However, they objected to the costs involved in bringing a prospective employee to Dallas to spend up to two days with Dr. Shirley for the testing, interviewing and counseling process.

To satisfy his clients' needs for a more cost effective assessment tool, Dr. Shirley contracted with Dr. Raymond Cattell, the author of the 16PF, to head a group of psychologists to create the first job related test to be introduced in America. The team chosen included Dr. Shirley, Dr. James Moore of Purdue University, Roger Pryor, an MA in psychology, and two other psychologists, all under the direction of Dr. Cattell.

Their efforts resulted in an entirely new assessment instrument known today as the Achiever. The instrument was constructed with six Mental Aptitudes and ten Personality Dimensions. The instrument created was also the first test to include two internal validity scales to measure the accuracy of the test results.

When he began utilizing this new instrument, Dr. Shirley's practice had grown to include four psychologists who were testing, interviewing and providing career guidance to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. One individual Dr. Shirley tested was Charles Tandy. When Dr. Shirley tested Charles Tandy, Charles had returned from the Navy, became a part of his father's leather craft business but yearned for bigger and better things. Tandy's career assessment indicated his extraordinary entrepreneurial aptitudes and ability. Soon, Tandy had the opportunity to acquire Radio Shack, which was a small financially distressed company with only 13 stores at the time. Dr. Shirley's testing was utilized to determine who to keep and who to let go in the 13 Radio Shack stores. Next, it was utilized to establish a hiring and training system to build Radio Shack for the future.

For the decade of the 1960's, Shirley and his staff used the newly developed test along with the standard tests of the day in their career counseling services.

In 1972, Milt Cotter, who had a background in human behavioral analysis, primarily for the AEC, DOD, Army and Sandia Nuclear Weapons Laboratory, joined Dr. Shirley's team as Vice President.

Milt Cotter was responsible for utilizing the new instrument created by Shirley and others to create benchmarks for employers. Benchmarking is the science of testing people who are successful in a job to determine what aptitudes and behaviors they have in common. The common aptitudes and behaviors then become the standard, or benchmark, against which future applicants are hired or employees are trained and developed. In the world of psychology, this technique is also known as concurrent validation, which is considered the best form of validation by the American Psychological Association.

Benchmarking was used in 1972 with Sewell Village Cadillac in Dallas. The benchmark resulted in the selection of Jerry Griffin who went on to earn recognition as the nation's leading Cadillac salesperson for three consecutive years. This success story is documented in the book, Customers for Life by Carl Sewell and Paul Brown.

Benchmarking was next used in the turnaround of Kentucky Fried Chicken and played a prominent role in the growth of Popeye's Chicken, Church's Chicken, and Arby's franchisees.

While Cotter and Shirley saw tremendous opportunity for the implementation of testing and benchmarking in businesses, they continued to provide career counseling to individuals. Throughout the decades of the 70's and 80's, career counseling remained a significant focus even though testing by employers for use in the hiring process was growing at a rapid pace.

In the 1990s, it became apparent that schools, especially high schools, did not have sufficient numbers of counselors to assist students with career guidance. To meet this need, Cotter began work on a system to utilize the hundreds of different job benchmarks that had been compiled since benchmarking began in the 70's. Cotter's goal was to incorporate the benchmarks into a tool that would provide career guidance to individuals on a self-administered basis. Grants were received from Government Agencies to develop a Career Advisor Report a student or individual could compile on their own. With funding exceeding $1 million dollars and over a decade of work, the online Career Advisor system was developed.

The system allows individuals to compare their aptitudes and behaviors to those of tens of thousands of people who are successful in hundreds of different jobs based on the benchmarks in the system. Such a comparison allows individuals to learn which jobs they will likely be good at, enjoy and be productive and successful performing. As with any career guidance tool, the user must carefully consider the education, experience and skills needed to pursue a career recommended by the Career Advisor Report.

The Career Advisor system is unique in that it is totally objective. Unlike other career guidance systems that focus on an individual's interests, the Career Advisor Report only considers the aptitudes and behaviors of an individual relative to the benchmarks in the system. And, the Career Advisor system is fully self-administered. It only takes about an hour to complete, and the user immediately receives the Career Advisor Report upon completion. The Career Advisor system meets the critical need for a career guidance tool that is efficient, accurate and objective.