Posted by: jeandurand | June 7, 2010

Aptitude the Foundation of Career Decision-Making


An aptitude test is probably the most strenuous of all psychometric tests. The aptitude test is also the foundation of sound career decision-making.  From my own analysis and interpretation of psychometric testing it is probably the starting point of my career recommendations.  I also utilise aptitude tests for further elaboration with the individual on which career path to follow.

During my career as an Industrial Psychologist I have identified four aptitude types:  1) the Obama type 2)  the Newton Type 3) the Edison type and the 4) da Vinci type.

Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States.  His oratory abilities backed up by a brilliant marketing campaign made him the first African American president of the United States.  The Obama type are brilliant orators.  They have the gift of the gab, have an excellent vocabulary and also have brilliant reasoning capabilities.  Usually these gifts incorporate the ability to read and comprehend a large amount of information.  Furthermore, this type is also able to process a large amount of information and remember it well for a long time to come.

Isaac Newton was arguably one of the greatest mathematicians and scientist that walked on this planet.  He was said to be the founder of calculus but was more famous for his discovery of the law of gravity.  The Newton type are excellent at subjects such as mathematics and science.

Thomas Edison was one of history’s most famous engineers and inventors.  He is best known as the person who invented the light bulb.  This type has brilliant spatial visualization, scientific, mathematical as well as mechanical abilities.

It needs to be taken into consideration that an individual could be a combination of any two of the three types above.  However the most interesting type is the da Vinci type that has all three of above abilities.  Da Vinci was the ultimate multi-tasker and was a famous architect, botanist, writer, musician, artist and inventor.

Not all of us can be a da Vinci therefore it important to determine your special gift and decide from there which career direction you will pursue.  In order to ensure job satisfaction, aptitude tests should be combined with an interest and a personality test.

Jean du Rand is a Port Elizabeth based Industrial Psychologist specialising in psychometric testing, career counselling, organisational interventions and labour relations.  Jean du Rand is also a part-time Human Resources lecturer at Varsity College.

View www.jeandurand.co.za and send your career or workplace queries to info@jeandurand.co.za .  You are also welcome to phone Jean on 082 – 382 4684.

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Posted by: jeandurand | April 23, 2010

It is a Matter of Interest


This article may just as well have been called the tale of two engineers. Lets call the one engineer Charl and the other engineer John.

Charl had the inclination of assembling and disassembling appliances, equipment and electronic toys from an age as early as three. When Charl got a battery operated car for Christmas he would play with it for a day at most. All of his friends knew what would happen the next day. He would disassemble it and try to re-assemble it.

Mom’s hair dryer, microwave oven and vacuum cleaner were not spared on any occasion. Dad’s TV, Hi-fi set and lawnmower were also not safe. Needless to say till the age of nine more appliances, equipment and electronic devices were broken than repaired. This would often infuriate his parents and obviously destroy their bank accounts.

However after the age of nine, Charl became the pride and joy of his parents. He was a whiz kid and saved his parents money repairing whatever mechanical and electrical equipment they had. Very soon the neighbours brought their equipment to Charl for repairs. He enjoyed it and it was the passion in his life.

John since an early age enjoyed collecting bones, artifacts and strange ornaments such as bottles. He would disappear into the veld for hours. The strangest ornaments, stones and artifacts would be brought back home to be studied.

Both Boys went to study engineering. Who was successful in his studies despite being at the same level of intelligence? The answer is obvious: Charl. However, John’s story did have a happy ending. He gave up his engineering studies and today he is a highly successful geologist. Charl is a highly successful engineer at a multi-national company.

Even qualified career counselors make the mistake of over focusing on aptitude testing at the expense of interest testing. Therefore ensure that you know the interests of your child by having his interests assessed psychometrically by a professional psychologist. An eighteen year old’s interests are seldom as clearly defined as in above examples.

View http://www.jeandurand.co.za and send your career or workplace queries to info@jeandurand.co.za . You are also welcome to phone Jean on 082 – 382 4684.

Posted by: jeandurand | March 25, 2010

We are what we are


Remember when Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) tried to convince his old friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) not to make a come back in the ring against a grueling opponent, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren).  Despite the wise best effort of Rocky, Apollo retaliated with these unforgettable words, “ We are what we are Stallion.”  Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed were fighters and always will be fighters.  Fighters have certain personality characteristics.  In the case of Rocky and Apollo courage, a never say die attitude, the hunger to win and defying the odds.

When navigating the treacherous waters of career choice or change it is critical that you know what your distinct personality type is.  In order to ensure job satisfaction and success it is essential that your personality type should fit your career type.


Are you an extrovert?  Then you are energized when around others and tend to get bored when on your own.  You tend to thrive in social situations and you will feel like a fish in water when working in fields such as management, teaching and sales.

Are you an introvert?  Then you take pleasure in solitary activities such as painting, reading, drawing or using computers.  Artists, writers, inventors and composers all tend to be introverts concerned with their own mental life.

Now imagine the opposite an extrovert never seeing anybody all day and only reading alone at home.  Pure hell!!!  Now imagine the introvert forced to a life of public speaking.  You don’t need an expert to predict a nervous breakdown at an early age.

There are many more personality types than introvert or extrovert.  Do you concentrate on detail?  Do you rather prefer focusing on the “big picture”?

Are your decisions influenced by your feelings and/or emotions?  Do you make your decisions based on logic or facts?  Is your life run by the clock or do you have a more carefree perspective on time?  You are what you are.

If you feel out of sync and uneasy in your current career because it does not match your personality type my advice is that you consult a career counselor.  The time to do it is now. Remember you are what you are.


Jean du Rand is a Port Elizabeth based Industrial Psychologist specialising in psychometric testing, career counselling, organisational interventions and labour relations.  Jean du Rand features on Bay FM between 11:00 and 12:00 every last Monday of the month and is also a part-time Human Resources lecturer at Varsity College.

View www.jeandurand.co.za and send your career or workplace queries to info@jeandurand.co.za.

Posted by: jeandurand | January 30, 2010

Career Guidance – Do it now


I have seen it all too often.  Scholars, university students, youth and even middle aged citizens taking the wrong turn in the rocky road of career planning and implementation.  When it comes to career change it is never too late.

However, I am a great believer in getting it right the first time.  Changing university courses whilst you have almost completed the first course or changing a career in your fourties is difficult, costly and frustrating.

Therefore it is of critical importance to get the help of a career counsellor or psychologist from an early age.  It is key critical that the individual’s abilities, interests and personality matches a relevant career path.


I had a young client that came to see me in his 30’s desperately unhappy with his job in the planning and logistics department of a large corporation. When I analyzed his psychometric test results it came as no surprise to me.  He was an introvert, had strong verbal skills but almost no interest in figures or numbers.  His job was mainly concerned with figures, whilst he had a strong verbal ability, strong creative abilities and an avid interest in languages.  The client also preferred a more flexible life style than working in a structured environment like he currently is.

I had no doubt in my mind that this young man would make a great copywriter and is currently following a course in copy writing.  This would give him flexibility, open up his creative side and give him the opportunity to express himself verbally.  Now our young friend has spent 12 years doing something he does not enjoy and also does not perform to his optimal potential in the workplace.

Therefore my advice is that professional career guidance is done as early as Grade 9 with subject choices.  Changing university courses can be an expensive exercise. Therefore get it right the first time and ensure your teenager’s interests, ability and personality matches a relevant career path.

If you are more mature in years, the good news is it is not too late.  Whatever your age, do not procrastinate time is one of our most valuable resources.  The time to do it is now.

Jean du Rand is an Industrial Psychologist specialising in psychometric testing, career counselling, organisational interventions and labour relations.  His company also specializes in medico-legal report for the Road Accident Fund.  Jean du Rand is featured on Bay FM between 11:00 and 12:00 every last Monday of the month and is also a part-time HR lecturer at Varsity College.

See www.jeandurand.co.za and send your career or workplace queries to info@jeandurand.co.za



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