Here’s an easy learning style test your college student with cerebral palsy (CP) can use to effectively connect with people, a skill which will be invaluable during upcoming second and third interviews with prospective employers.
First, of course, is the challenge of getting that hiring manager to look beyond your son or daughter’s CP.
But, once that’s accomplished, your soon-to-be job seeker needs to quickly ascertain the hiring manager’s approach to interpersonal communication and how that person prefers to learn and process new information. It’s what I call the learning style test.
Knowing that preference (where, in other words, that hiring manager falls in this learning style test) will give your youngster tips about how to complement that style with a presentation in which both individuals feel “we’re on the same wave length."
Getting to that simpatico
feeling requires that your college student:
A learning style test normally involves these considerations:
An individual’s learning style also depends on one’s likes, dislikes, and abilities with regards to reading, public speaking, memorizing, summarizing, problem solving, analyzing, interpreting, and reviewing.
But, let’s go beyond that common learning style test.
In her research about
personality types, Susan
Dellinger, Ph.D., has identified several communication styles she says we
all tend to use in certain circumstances. However, most individuals, she
believes, follow one or two of the communication styles as predominate
patterns. And watching for certain cues, she maintains, can help us identify
which communication mode a person is currently using.
After studying Dellinger's communication research findings and those of others since 1990, I have used my 28 years of experience in corporate communications to identify four learning styles in terms of how people tend to process information within the world of work:
The "focused" individual:
The "analytical" individual:
The "nurturing" individual:
The "creative" individual:
CEOs of companies or
administrators of organizations tend to be "focused" individuals.
We’ll likely find "analytical" individuals in the legal or finance
departments or in the information services section. "Nurturing"
individuals gravitate to jobs in public relations, sales training and human
resources. We can expect "creative" individuals in the corporate
communications and advertising groups.
These generalizations, of course, are vastly over-simplified. People are more complicated than that. We usually see a complex mix of styles in every occupation. A hiring manager can switch from one communication style to another (just like your son or daughter does).
From my vantage point, this is the learning style test that can help your son or daughter communicate effectively with a hiring manager about a crucial topic -- an on-the-job accommodation plan, for instance, during a second or third job interview with the same employer:
The "focused" individual:
Since this individual is logically organized and thinks methodically,
Since this individual is persuaded by logical reasoning, impersonal analysis and systematic planning,
Since this individual wants to know how people feel about various options,
Since this individual bases her opinions on the feelings of others and generates ideas easily,
Remarks from the hiring manager such as "I get your drift," "That's on target" etc. show your college student is connecting and communicating with the hiring manager.
If your youngster hears, however, a response such as "Let me think about it," the hiring manager may just be in an "analytical" mode or have something more pressing on her mind. Or your youngster may not be connecting at all, and she's confused and doesn't want to admit it.
youngster, of course, may not be able to determine which is really happening
until the final outcome: he or she gets hired.
That's one small example of why interpersonal communication is an art -- and not a science -- and why those who know how to communicate well (and use this learning styles test effectively) within the workplace will always be in demand in the job market.
Your son or daughter also gains a couple of important benefits by methodically using this learning style test to quickly build a rapport with a prospective supervisor, who is usually involved in the hiring process and the final decision maker. Here are a few:
In short, such a relationship, based on an initial learning style test, sets your college student up for success in his or her first out-of-school job and in developing a meaningful career. That’s an environment for strengthening self-confidence.