Spencer Niles on the Latest Developments in Career Counseling

Spencer Niles on the Latest Developments in Career Counseling

by Greg Arnold

Career counseling expert, Spencer Niles, offers poignant insights from his more than three decades helping people find their calling.
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There's Got to Be a Better Way

Greg Arnold: Spencer Niles, you’re an expert in the arena of career counseling and are the star of our new video, Career Counseling in Action: Tools & Techniques. You currently serve as dean of the school of education at William and Mary, after many years on faculty at Penn State. Have you been focused on career counseling throughout your career?
Spencer Niles: Career counseling has pretty much been my gig for the last several decades. It’s what captured my focused interest, and I’ve been surprised at how my interest in it has stayed with me all these years.
GA: You thought it was a phase?
SN: Yea, I thought it was a phase. And maybe it is a phase, a very long phase. But I’ll tell you what happened with me.

GA: How did you get interested in career counseling in the first place?
SN: Well, my first graduate school experience was at a very liberal protestant theological seminary that was very much focused on social justice and social action. ... Continue Reading Interview >>
GA: Wonderful.
SN: Theology was a great way for understanding how people make sense of the things that happen to them in life. And I still believe that’s true, but working in a religious institutional setting wasn’t quite right for me. It was way too restrictive and not inclusive enough, so I decided to go get some career counseling for myself. I was about twenty-three at the time.

Somebody referred me to this career counseling center, which was actually a vocational assessment center, they weren’t actually doing career counseling as it turned out, but they called themselves that. I was living in Rochester, New York, and it was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so I called them and they said they could work with me for a fee of $600.

At the time I had dropped out of graduate school and was substitute teaching in Rochester city schools and working in a gas station kiosk collecting money from people after they pumped gas. That was my life at that point. Just barely getting by and kind of desperate.

A standardized assessment arrived in the mail, and I filled out the bubble sheets, sent them in, and then about six weeks later, drove down to Lancaster, Pennsylvania where this assessment center was and had a series of meetings over several hours, culminating in a meeting with the sort of lead person in this center. $600 was more than a couple of weeks income for me. I was really desperate.
GA: Sure, that’s a chunk of change even by today’s standards.
SN: I was living in a house with about four other people in a little room, having pop-tarts for breakfast and on a good night, a TV dinner for supper.

But I’ll never forget walking into this guy’s office. He had an impressive office, a nice big mahogany desk and he sat on his side of the desk and I sat on my side of the desk, and he proceeded to debrief me and go over the assessment results.

I remember him saying, “If you do anything in psychology, make sure it’s clinical psychology—don't think about counseling psychology, clinical psychology is where it’s at.” But he honed in on speech therapy for some reason. At one point, he asked me a question and I turned to my left to think about it, looked out the window. It could only have been a few seconds, but when I turned back to answer, he had fallen asleep! And I think “oh shit, what the hell do I do now?”
My self-esteem at that point wasn’t all that great, and now I had managed to put my career counselor to sleep. That’s how boring I was.
My self-esteem at that point wasn’t all that great, and now I had managed to put my career counselor to sleep. That’s how boring I was.

Luckily, he woke himself up and went on with the interview, but I was too meek and insecure to say anything to him, so I just pretended nothing happened. And that was it. I left there thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
GA: I would hope so! Besides him falling asleep, which is an obvious empathic failure, what else went wrong with that scenario?
SN: Well, to begin with, they used this very rigid, narrow set of assessments that had nothing to do with me. They were just generic questions with no tailoring whatsoever, which was the norm at that time. This very dry, routinized, mechanical directive process.
GA: Impersonal, disconnected.
SN: And the active/passive, expert/novice dichotomies that get set up that are not very empowering.
The truth is that there’s no assessment in the world that can tell you what you should do. It just doesn’t exist.
The truth is that there’s no assessment in the world that can tell you what you should do. It just doesn’t exist. There’s an illusion of precision with these assessments. We pretend that they have more power than they really do. So I’m not a big fan of that style of intervention at all. It’s grounded in my own experience.
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The Psychology of Possession

GA: Your style is actually quite personal in the video we’re releasing this month. Can you explain how your approach differs from this old-school style and how you’ve refined it over the decades?
SN: Well, first of all, we start with the belief that there are few things more personal than a career choice and we link career development with human development. We’ve often treated it as if it were isolated from human development rather than a key component of human development.

If we think about setting it in a context of developmental competencies, for instance, then we look at how careers unfold across the lifespan. It wasn’t until the 1950’s when theories that were more developmental in their orientation began to emerge in the work of people like Donald Super, who is a very well-known vocational psychologist who used a developmental perspective. He was on the faculty at Columbia for years and I was part of his research team toward the latter part of his life. It was people like Super that began to say we have to look at longitudinal expressions of career behavior. We can’t look at it as a single-point-in-time event.

For too long the focus on career intervention has relied upon the psychology of possession. What do you possess relative to specific traits that are relevant for career orientation, career decision-making, career planning, etc, relative to a normal curve. So what that guy who fell asleep was doing was looking at the percentile ranking of my aptitude test results and deciding for me what the implications of those ranking were for my career possibilities.

But most of us do not think of ourselves as locations on a normal curve. Nor are we static in our capacities. A psychology of possession focuses on how much we possess of certain traits and qualities, and what our probability for success is relative to others on the curve in particular occupational fields.
GA: Which, as you say, is a very static way of looking at people.
SN: And what it ignores is the psychology of use. How do I use those traits, those qualities, those experiences I’ve had in my life and how do I translate those qualities and those experiences into meaning and purpose?

Now I’ve been interested in career development since about 1980, and I still love it. It hasn’t died. Why the heck is that? There are times I kind of reflect upon that and I think why do I love this stuff so much?
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Getting Out of Our Predicaments

GA: Yeah, why do you love it so much?
SN: Many people would say it’s very boring and they don't want to have much to do with. But most people are thinking of an anachronistic version of career counseling when they think that. It’s very exciting work.

In response to your question of how my model is different and more personal, I use an Adlerian-based model that hypothesizes that we’ve all had particular experiences in our lives that capture our attention. And when it comes to our careers, often what captures our attention are the things that happen to us early in life, and more than that, it’s events that were painful. These painful early events create predicaments for us in our lives. And at whatever level, we seek ways out of our predicaments in living.

We seek to make meaning, to turn an early life pre-occupation to a later life occupation, to hopefully make a social contribution.
We seek to make meaning, to turn an early life pre-occupation to a later life occupation, to hopefully make a social contribution. In that process what we do, even at a very subconscious level, is identify role models. Heroes, heroines—real or fictional characters that we see as guiding the way for us out of our life predicaments. As people who have actively mastered what we are passively suffering.

So if you identify an early life hero, heroine, role model, however one wants to frame it, we’d ask the question, what is it about that person that attracts you? In what ways are you like that role model today? What are the solutions you think that role model offered you, given your early life predicaments?

I remember when I was five or six years old—so this was about 1960—my mother calling my sisters and me together to tell us that she was going to get a divorce. I didn’t even know what the word meant, but my sisters immediately started crying and my mother was crying so I knew it wasn’t good.

From that day through the next ten years or so, my life was really turned upside-down. My family was split apart, we moved every couple of years. I went with my mother, one sister went with my father and my other sister kind of went back and forth. In that period in history, no one talked about this stuff. It was a source of shame.
GA: I can only imagine.
SN: So I repressed a lot of that experience, but I remember early on wondering how people make sense of this kind of stuff when it happens to them. It was part of the reason I decided to go to graduate school in theology, to find out how people make sense of their life experiences, their purpose, their vocation. And then when I had the experience of my own career counseling and then eventually took a career counseling course, there it was.
GA: Your own vocation.
SN: Career development ultimately speaks to these questions of meaning and vocation. How do people make meaning out of their life experiences and translate that meaning into a direction, into an activity that they find meaningful and purposeful?
GA: When you couch it in those terms, it’s anything but boring. The person seeking career development is an agent in the act of self-expression, of working through their personal journey that started with these childhood experiences, and they’re informed by heroes. It’s an incredibly significant part of their health and their journey to self-insight and working through their childhood experiences.

Your path reminds me a bit of Carl Rogers, who was initially called to theology, and also Brad Strawn, whom I interviewed recently for psychotherapy.net. He had a similar attraction to theology and the way it can inform our lives and similar frustrations about what theology couldn’t provide that psychology could.

It’s exciting to hear you speak about career counseling in this holistic way. I have to admit I had conceived of career counseling as kind of boring before diving into your work. But I was wrong. In retrospect I don’t think it was boredom as much as a kind of learned helplessness, or this sense that of all the ways we can help people, helping them find the right job feels kind of hopeless to me, and we’re the bringers of hope. It’s just so hard and so informed by factors out of our control. What would you say to counselors who think of it in these hopeless terms?
SN: It makes sense that you would have felt the way given the objectifying way we usually think of careers. As if it’s about getting or possessing certain skills so that you can get some kind of occupational title.

How do people make meaning out of their life experiences and translate that meaning into a direction, into an activity that they find meaningful and purposeful?
What matters much more are the subjective experiences you have in living your life, where and how do you derive meaning and purpose and where have you been struggling to overcome that sense of hopelessness. We need to make the implicit much more explicit. We need to help our clients articulate those kinds of experiences in which they find that kind of meaning.

There’s no test that will help you identify those things, but what I can do is collaborate with you to find it. I can walk with you on that journey of clarification and articulation of how you find meaning out of the very personal things that have happened to you. But ultimately I’m bringing the same skills to career counseling as any good therapist does to therapy. All those competencies that are essential to effective psychotherapy are essential to effective career counseling.
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So You Want to Be a Professional Guitarist...

GA: Is there anything over and above that or is it just using the same common factors that apply to any good therapy?
SN: It’s the common factors of good therapy with a focus on helping people make informed decisions about their career changes and choices. For example, if I were to tell you I wanted to be a professional guitarist—and I kind of do, actually—
GA: Me too!
SN: Here’s the problem though.
I didn’t start playing the guitar at all until I was fifty. And I am bad. I don’t lack for enthusiasm, but I do lack for talent.
I didn’t start playing the guitar at all until I was fifty. And I am bad. I don’t lack for enthusiasm, but I do lack for talent. I love to listen to a great guitarist, I love to play my major chords and every once in a while maybe a little bit of a minor chord or a bar chord thrown in there, but that’s about it. It’s never going to happen.

At one level, it’s important for me to have some clarity about that, but I don’t want you as my career counselor to tell me it’s not going to happen. You might ask questions about the probability of that given my competency level. And I might say, as the client, “I hear you, Greg, but this is my passion.” And you’d start to dive into that with me. What is it within that activity that you really resonate with? Is it truly just knowing where a particular note is, or the shape of a particular chord, or is it something deeper than that? Is it more about your creativity? The emphasis in that process is about clarifying and articulating that passion.
GA: Beautiful.
SN: You’ll table the goal for a bit in favor of helping me describe and name the contours of that passion. You’d encourage me not only to come up with real occupational titles, but to make some up, expand the list, really let my imagination run wild.

The process of identifying the passion allows us to connect to our passion and then to look for opportunities that will elicit that passion. We in the West are lousy at really owning the fact that when people are busy making a living, they’re busy living a life.
GA: What do you mean by that?
SN: I don't know of any occupational nirvanas. We create these false expectations for work. I think what is really important is identifying possibilities that allow us to create a life structure that we find meaningful and purposeful. One of the specialities that I’ve worked with over the years that is so effective at ignoring this is lawyers.
GA: How so?
SN: Lawyers, especially new lawyers, if they are doing their job well, they’re probably working a hell of a lot of hours each week. What happens to the rest of your life? Law is an occupation that has among the highest turnover and dissatisfaction rates.
GA: I’m not surprised.
SN:
People simply ignore the fact that work is also life; it doesn’t happen in an isolated, compartmentalized silo.
People simply ignore the fact that work is also life; it doesn’t happen in an isolated, compartmentalized silo. Work happens within a context, and if the context in which it happens doesn’t allow you to express the life-structure that you find meaningful and purposeful, then life’s not going to be good. It’s not going to last long—or if it does, you may end up compensating in ways that are highly dysfunctional.

So we ask, how does this purposeful goal that you might articulate based upon your meaning and passion feed into a life-structure that you would prefer living?

So if you’re a parent, how do you effectively parent if you work sixty hours a week? It might be possible, but I have to say that those times when I’ve worked like that, I probably was much less effective as a dad. And if I had the chance to do it over, I wouldn’t do it again that way. That’s just me.
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"Positive" Addiction

GA: That’s a powerful realization.
SN: I wasn’t aware of the tradeoffs as clearly as I should have been. And of course this gets into positive addiction. We get positively reinforced for being workaholics. We get positively reinforced for achieving in our professions at a high level.
GA: Absolutely.
SN: And that’s OK, as long as we make informed, conscious decisions and we’re aware that it comes at a cost. Maybe it’s a tradeoff that we’re just fine making, but we want to be aware of it.
GA: So what you’re saying is that in the West—at least until recently—we were led to believe that we could find the “perfect” job through these assessments that looked only at static traits and matched us based on some normed statistic, which contributes to grand illusions about what is possible in our careers. And then our society promotes workaholism, which creates even deeper dissatisfaction and often leads to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Your way of working is much more nuanced, developmental, humanistic view of career counseling. How prevalent is this in our profession right now?
SN: I won’t be overly optimistic here.
We get positively reinforced for being workaholics. We get positively reinforced for achieving in our professions at a high level.
I’d say slightly more prevalent today than it was fifteen or twenty years ago. A lot changed about the work world in the last part of the 20th century. Layoffs and the notion that the workers are expendable became a fairly well-accepted ideology, which ran in contrast to what we used to think of as kind of a social contract or career ethic between employer and employee. You know, work hard, put your nose to the grindstone, be loyal to your employer and he will be loyal to you.

This translated into people relocating their families with kids in 11th or 12th grade because the company said, “We’re moving you from Poughkeepsie to Omaha.” That was the ethic, but then people began to realize as this happened more and more frequently, that no matter how hard you might work, no matter how loyal you might be, it could happen to you. People began to say, “I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice everything for my employer when my employer is so willing to sacrifice me.”
GA: Amen.
SN: The wounds and the challenges created by that sort of lived experience shifted things quite a bit for many, many people. It’s interesting for me to talk with millennials.
GA: How so?
SN: My son is one. He was offered a raise and a promotion at his current job. He’s 24 and he told me this after the fact. I said, “So what did you do?” and he said, “Well, I turned it down.” I said, “You turned it down? What was the job?” He said, “I’m not really sure.” I asked, “What did it pay?” and he said “I don’t know.” “How don’t you know?” “I didn’t ask.”
GA: Wow.
SN: I said, “How could you not have asked these very basic questions?” And he said, “because I love what I do.” I thought, whoa. He loves his current position and he let that guide him in this process. He’s much wiser than I’ve been throughout most of my life, because I would have asked, “What’s the job? What does it pay?” And if it paid me enough, I might have taken the job even if I loved what I was doing. It’s the old idea of propping your ladder up against the wall and then getting to the top of the ladder only to realize you propped it against the wrong wall. So many of us have done that kind of thing. I certainly have.
GA: Sure, most of us have, I think.
SN: There are just so many dimensions to this work. One of the things we’re finding these days, which is becoming more of a focus in the area of career development, is that the self-concept—what we believe to be true about ourselves and all that that entails and all that means, including our passion and purpose—evolves over time. So career development also evolves. It never stops. If we get passive about that, if we ignore that, we do so at our own peril.
GA: Lifespan development.
SN: Indeed. I took a new job at fifty-eight. I’ll probably take at least another couple other jobs before I’m done with it all.
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“Busyness is an Offense to the Soul”

GA: I saw a statistic in Forbes earlier this year that more than fifty percent of people are unhappy with their jobs. A huge contributor to that is the perceived instability and the breakdown of the social contract between employer and employee. But then there’s this silver lining of millennials who are pursuing passion over logistical necessities of income or geographical location. Is this preferable in our new world? And how do we accommodate the lightning fast progress of the twenty-first century? How do we prepare for jobs we can’t even imagine twenty years from now?
SN: Those are great questions. The first question, about which way is preferable, is informed both by generational and individual factors. For example, my father was born in 1921, the WWII generation, and lived through the Great Depression. From those experiences he developed a work ethic that he then passed onto me, and, on one level, that ethic has served me well. I’m a very hard worker, I’m success oriented, always have been, and those are attributes that we get rewarded for in this society.

On the other hand, this is an ethic that focuses more on human doing than on human being, and there’s a real cost to that. For example, the notion of being reflective about our experiences and what they might mean for ourselves, of actually scheduling in time during each day to be reflective about the countless number of experiences we’ve had just that day—these things don’t come easily to folks like me. We don't really allow as much time for human being as human doing, which relates to your question. If you’re going to journal, if you’re going to engage in meditation, mindfulness activities and so forth, those activities are focused on human being; they’re not productive in the doing sense.
GA: So has your model of career development taken in more of this human being aspect?
SN: A colleague at the University of British Columbia and one of my doctoral students at a university in Morocco and I have developed a model that begins with self-reflection. The steps are all in a book we published entitled Career Flow, and the first step is engaging in activities that focus on being and not so obviously doing—journaling, meditation, mindfulness activities, however you might define those. If we engage in those activities on a regular basis in very intentional ways, they foster a greater sense of self-clarity, which is the second step in this model.

We have to elevate the importance of self-reflection if we’re ever going to be able to sort through all the stuff that comes at us, sometimes rapid-fire, each day, and that lead us to being so busy.
Our editor asked, “Why did you separate out self-reflection from self-clarity? They’re the same thing.” And we said, no they certainly aren’t the same thing, and that’s part of the problem. We have to elevate the importance of self-reflection if we’re ever going to be able to sort through all the stuff that comes at us, sometimes rapid-fire, each day, and that lead us to being so busy. One of my favorite Christian mystics, Thomas Merton, said that “busyness is an offense to the soul.”
GA: That’s deep.
SN: And I know I offend my soul every day. So the question is, how can we be less offensive to our souls and honor our experiences and who we are by being much more intentional about engaging in self-reflection? There’s a poet, David Whyte, who has written quite a bit about work. One of my favorite lines of his is, “I look out at everything growing so wild and faithfully beneath the sky and wonder why we are the one terrible part of creation privileged to refuse our flowering.”

Squirrels are out there doing their squirrel thing. Same with golden retrievers, same with trees, but we can get misdirected in so many different ways, by so many external influences and so many factors. We seek to please people in a variety of ways that move us away from who we are. Or we chase certain things that in the end don't provide much in terms of meaningfulness and satisfaction. So we have this “privilege” that often leads us in that way. I think if we were more mindful, more self-reflective, and asked the tough questions, lived the questions, we would be less likely to refuse our flowering. So finding a balance of being and doing is an important dimension of creating careers for ourselves.

The CEO of Netflix takes six weeks of vacation each year, and when he’s on vacation, he’s really on vacation. I officially get two days of vacation a month, and I’ve been in this job for three years. I don't think I’ve used more than three weeks of vacation in three years. I mean how goofy is that? That’s really goofy. I’m in a job where you get every six or seven years, you get a sabbatical. This is my twenty-ninth year as a faculty person. You know how many sabbaticals I’ve taken? Zero. These are not things to be proud of.
GA: Well thank you for airing your dirty laundry with me. This is a relic of the depression era, don’t you think? This work ethic of human doing over human being, where we’re rewarded for workaholism. It’s understandable how we fall into these patterns of busyness. So you’re not taking vacations but hopefully you’re finding time for self-reflection.
SN: I’m much better at it today than I was. It’s not something that garners external rewards, but it certainly brings internal rewards.
GA: It seems like you’re really advocating that work be considered holistically as an integral part of health and wellness. That there should be no separation of “life” from “work” in developmental terms, and that therapists need to be considering career development as a fundamental part of human development.
SN: That fifty percent of people who are unhappy with there jobs that you referred to, the majority of those people have no clue what to do about that. We as mental health professionals have done them a great disservice by perpetuating this notion of the separateness of work from other dimensions of life.
GA: So what can we do? What can practitioners do to more effectively work with career issues and actually help clients with these issues?
SN: That’s a great question and challenging question. The National Career Development Association in the United States is a great organization and some of the leading thinkers in this area attend and present workshops at their annual conferences.

I’ve done a lot of work in the area of policy as it relates to career development. I’m on the board of directors for something called the International Center for Career Development and Public Policy. One of the things I’ve learned from working with them is that here in the United States, we don't have many policies and legislation that support the provision of career intervention across a lifespan.

So even those who are from the mental health professions, who are trained in this area, aren’t addressing these issues and intervening at critical moments in people’s lives.

Take school counselors. Career development is supposed to be one of their three major areas of involvement, but it often isn’t because of other pressures that force them in different directions, but they can be absolutely critical with early-life interventions. There are research studies that show that adolescents who leave school early, at maybe seventeen or sixteen, have psychologically left school long before that, often because they see no connection between what they’re doing in their day-to-day activities and their possible futures. Being informed about career development across the lifespan and this more holistic way of approaching it could mean that a school counselor makes the difference, could connect the dots, for a kid who would otherwise drop out.

So there’s a lot of work to be done and it requires engagement from multiple perspectives and multiple stakeholders. It starts with valuing the developmental perspective that you and I have been talking about relative to helping people begin to make much more informed choices about how they find and express meaning in their lives, including within their work.

Also, I think people in our field often denigrate career counseling, but understand that the version of career counseling that is being denigrated is frozen in time and anachronistic, it’s not what many practitioners these days are doing. The National Career Development Association has a list of practitioners who people can be referred to.
GA: Thank you so much. We hardly touched the tip of the iceberg, but I for one take your call to action to put a new face on career counseling, to revise outmoded, anachronistic definitions and learn about and be a practitioner of this developmental, humanistic, optimistic, hopeful model that brings dignity, respect and a personal connection to people seeking work and wellness throughout the lifespan from cradle to grave.
SN: Well said, my friend.
GA: Any parting words you’d like to leave our readers with?
SN: Well, I’ll leave you just with one brief additional story from the poet David Whyte. At the time we was working at a non-profit, and he noticed how bored and exhausted he had become in his day-to-day experience in that work. He was trying to do poetry on the side and fit it in where he could, and he had this ritual of getting together with a friend on Friday evening to read poetry together.

He viewed this person as very wise, a person of good counsel, and so he decided to talk to him about the exhaustion he was feeling. So one Friday night, he confides in his friend and his friend reflected with him that the antidote to exhaustion is not always rest.
Many times the antidote for exhaustion is whole-heartedness.
Many times the antidote for exhaustion is whole-heartedness. Doing those things that engage us in a whole-hearted way. The conversation led him to leave that job and do work in which he felt that sense of whole-heartedness. So we have lots of clues, lots of indicators along the way. Exhaustion can be a clue. The key is to pay attention. It’s our soul’s way of telling us if something is amiss and if we need to redirect our path.
GA: That’s such an inspiring message and also conveys to our readers how inspiring career counseling can be.
SN: Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk with you about it. It’s been a lot of fun for me.
GA: Likewise, it's been a great pleasure.

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Spencer  NilesSpencer G. Niles, PhD, is dean for the School of Education at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Prior to this, he was Distinguished Professor and Department Head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at the Pennsylvania State University. He also served as Director of the Center for the Study of Career Development and Public Policy at Penn State. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, he was a Professor at the University of Virginia for 13 years and also served as Assistant Dean for the Curry School of Education at UVA.

Niles is the recipient of the National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) Eminent Career Award, a NCDA Fellow, an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow, the recipient of ACA’s Thomas Sweeney Visionary Leadership and Advocacy Award, President’s Award, David Brooks Distinguished Mentor Award, Extended Research Award, and the University of British Columbia Noted Scholar Award. He served as President for NCDA and Editor for The Career Development Quarterly and the Journal of Counseling & Development and currently serves on numerous journal editorial boards. He has authored or co-authored approximately 130 publications and delivered over 125 presentations on career development theory and practice.
Greg Arnold, MA, LMHCA, Account Manager, resides in Bellingham, WA, so he’s basically Canadian. He holds an MA in Counseling Psychology, is completing his doctoral degree, and puts the wisdom he's gained from hours of watching Psychotherapy.net videos to use providing couples, individuals, and families, with person-centered, humanistic psychotherapy in Bellingham. As Account Manager at Psychotherapy.net, Greg helps universities and community mental health organizations integrate the inspiring work of our expert therapists-on-video into the training and professional development of students and career professionals alike.
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Illustrate key moments in the history of career counseling.
  • Understand strategies for helping clients identify their passions.
  • Identify limitations of assessment methods used to identify aptitudes based on static traits.
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