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Researchers at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, the University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee, and the University of Houston have identified a phenomenon they call the Imposter Syndrome.

The work was done by Industrial-Organizational Psychologists and describes a mismatch between a person and their job demands that causes issues at work and at home. One of the researchers, Lisa Sublett, cited the issue as being important to talent management discussions and particularly for discussions involving high potentials.

A lot of the work at E.A.S.I-Consult® has involved individual assessments for the purpose of selection or development. The process starts with a manager wanting to find the best person for an open position or to know what to focus their development efforts on for a person they have selected for a position. The objective of an assessment is to understand the degree of congruence between the person and the job requirements.

The greater the overlap, the more congruent the person is with the role and the better the person “fits” the job. There are very few jobs where on Day One there is complete overlap between what the job requires and what the person brings to the job. The researchers in the aforementioned article seem to be more focused on the effect of a mismatch and how it shows up at work and at home than in how it can be understood and managed so that a person is not a casualty of these differences.

E.A.S.I-Consult starts by having a conversation with the supervisor of the position to understand the job challenges. That leads to a list of seven, “best-fit” ranges related to a person’s approach to work and life.  It helps describe what motivates a person, what they value and how they interact with others. When the person is not in line with what the demands of the job require it can lead to stress, dissatisfaction and lack of performance.

This big picture fit — or lack of fit — is the result of the assessment. E.A.S.I-Consult uses several tests and tools depending on the role being filled to create a more comprehensive picture. Most of our assessments involve a cognitive ability test, a measure of personality and the Burke Learning Agility Inventory. All jobs require a person to solve problems. Cognitive ability is being able to absorb information and reach a conclusion. More complicated positions require greater cognitive ability. E.A.S.I-Consult’s assessment also involve a measure of personality. Some jobs require more interpersonal skills, while others require that the person follow a lot of rules.  If a person is not inclined in a direction it can cause stress and lack of performance. E.A.S.I-Consult also uses the Burke Learning Agility Inventory measuring a person’s ability to deal with unfamiliar situations. In most new jobs a person is faced with challenges they have never had before.  Do they have the capabilities to deal with the ambiguity and unfamiliarity?

This information is analyzed and then summarized in a report. The report summary describes what was learned in the assessment and how the person would work well in the position and where the person would be challenged. The person who conducted the assessment meets with the person who will supervise the position. The assessor’s role is never to recommend who to hire or who not to put in the position; that is the decision of the supervisor. There is never a 100 percent fit of a person in a position. It is a question of:

  • degree of fit;
  • how developable the areas are where the person does not fit; and
  • can the job be modified with things added and subtracted to get a better fi

E.A.S.I-Consult’s advice to a supervisor is that they have a conversation with the person they decide to put in the position. Share with the person where they are seen being a good “fit” and what were the development areas.  A plan should be created to address those development areas.

Our researcher from Florida and Houston  describe ‘Feeling like a fake’ at work being one cause of stress at home. E.A.S.I-Consult would ask, what are you doing to manage that stress? Three possibilities are:

  • change the job;
  • change jobs; and
  • change your life.

Individual assessments can be an effective means whereby what the person shows up with and what the job requires are more aligned than misaligned.

David Hoff is the chief operation officer and executive vice president for leadership development at E.A.S.I-Consult®. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. E.A.S.I.’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people through professional assessment. To learn more about E.A.S.I-Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com or call 800.922.EASI.