CHENNAI : Roshan Kumar was in his final year of school and was unclear about what he wanted to pursue as a profession. He had selected the Science group on a whim and due to some coaxing by his parents, but he was still unsure.“I was so confused. One day I woke up thinking I wanted to do engineering and the next day I thought I wanted to pursue business. It started getting extremely stressful because even my parents were getting concerned as the dates for college admission were nearing and I had no clarity.
Taking up the Science group was just a way for me to ensure I had the choice to do whatever I wanted to after school. When I underwent the psychometric tests at the career counselling centre, it forced me to introspect and made me understand myself better. The sessions with the counsellor, too, were eye-opening because they gave me a chance to realise my strengths and the profession I would do well in.”
Seeking help online
Career counsellors in the city concede that with all the information available on the Internet, parents and children are more likely to reach out to Google for guidance and then upon realising that the information is catered to a Western audience predominantly, will look at other avenues like career counsellors and so on for help.
“The information available online is very broad and generic,” said Bhuvaneshwari Kalyanaraman, a career counsellor at Kriya Career Counselling. “People don’t know how to get it personalised to suit their requirements and needs. That is where we come in. We follow a process that is not purely academic but is rather scientific because it is based on psychometric analysis. We also encourage people to take up newer professions too if they are creatively inclined like graphic designing, animation, DJ-ing and so on.”
The vast number of choices available today is one of the main reasons that students are confused in taking a decision. Coupled with the fears of automation and stagnation in the job market, there is a lot of uncertainty that only adds to the stress of hoping not to make the wrong choice.
“Since there are so many options available, I find that the demand for career counselling has increased,” said Hemalatha Sriram, founder and director of Meru Career Counselling. “Children, these days, are generally very conflicted about what to pick. I also find that it is common for children to pull down their own morale by saying ‘So many people don’t crack the CA exam so what are the odds that I will? This is the wrong attitude. Just because one person does not clear an exam doesn’t mean another cannot.”
Take the test
This is where she said the psychometric tests come in handy.
“A lot of parents are not aware of what a psychometric test entails,” she said. “They think it is something that only doctors do. They do not realise that it is an effective way to understand their child’s interest areas and skill sets. It is the job of the career counsellor to highlight these aspects and suggest professions that are best suited for the child based on these parameters.”
Further, counsellors said that schools should have a sustained career guidance cell that is active and approachable so that students can avail of the services and can help them with their decision making. Most schools in the city lack such a facility.
“We don’t have the infrastructure to have a dedicated career counsellor for students,” said the principal of a private school in the city. “Parents think of themselves as the best career counsellors so it tends to get messy. Many a time, in our informal career counselling sessions, we advise parents to let their children take up Commerce rather than Science and they refuse. So when it comes to these kinds of things too, they are all the more adamant. It seems pointless. We’d rather have sessions here and there where we make students aware of their options and leave it at that.”
What’s psychometric test?
According to Institute of Psychometric Coaching, psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style. Psychometric tests are designed to measure candidates’ suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics
and aptitude (or cognitive abilities). They identify the extent to which candidates’ personality and cognitive abilities match those required to perform the role. Employers use the information collected from the psychometric test to identify the hidden aspects of candidates that are difficult to extract from a face-to-face interview.