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O*NET tools are used to help workers consider career options and plan effective transitions. For instance, Farr & Shatkin (2007) noted that students who are new in the job market may use the tools to explore appropriate careers. This is done by users linking directly to information on the more than 800 occupations described in the O*NET database (O*NET Resource Center, 2012). Similarly O*NET tools enable the user to search other databases like the America's Career Info Net. Together, the systems allow users to compare their assessment results in the database with the requirements of occupations in the local job market.
Installation and Testing
O*NET is installed by running an installed program called package software. The package software uses a setup program that behave like a multi-configuration wrapper and which allows O*NET software being installed on a variety of machines and operating environments. O*NET configuration has to receive appropriate level of testing before it is released to customers.
According to O*NET Resource Center (2012), O*NET has a variety of ways in which standardization of such qualities as one’s skills and knowledge can be known and thus assists the user in building accurate job descriptions. Organizations that use O*NET have been provided with O*NET Questionnaires to help them in applying O*NET according to their job descriptions. In this way, O*NET helps in identifying various elements related to a given job. Similarly O*NET information is used to identify skill requirements so as to enable the employers obtain people who are more qualified for various jobs. Furthermore, O*NET information and tools also help in defining success factors used in promotion and advancement.
According to O*NET Resource Center (2012), while using O*NET exploration tools, the reliability and validity of the searched information is guaranteed by the regular update of the system. For instance, the Center indicates that the tool has a section called what’s new which helps the user to get new releases. Similarly, the O*NET updates section allow users to subscribe to a mailing list for updates whenever new updates or product is put in the database.
Similarly, Ployhart, Schneider & Schmitt (2005) indicate that O*NET is specifically designed to meet the needs of different users including both, those who are looking for their first job and those transferring to another job from their current one. It also enables the human resource managers to have several search options and view several potential employees who have uploaded their resumes for evaluation. In this way, they can do searching and counseling before they do any hiring. Occupation search and reports in the O*NET exploration tools make O*NET-SOC assignments fast and easy.
Challenges to the Users
Like any other online tool, O*NET tools require their users to have prior information to be able to navigate through thousands of jobs enlisted in the database. This navigation can be time consuming especially where the user has not refined their search terms to a more refined level. In such a situation, the tool brings out several related results meaning that the user cannot access the exact job that is being looked for.
Similarly, Farr & Shatkin (2007) note that the O*NET Data Collection Program provides many rating scales that are based on the responses from workers on the O*NET questionnaires. Clearly, O*NET Resource Center (2012) indicate that it is not possible to interrogate every respondent on every element that will be requested by the users. In order to reduce the burden on users, the questions are put into different sets of questionnaires with each of the questionnaires having unique questions. Those people sampled for each occupation are arbitrarily given one of the four questionnaires. The information collected in this way is used to arrange information in the database for the subsequent users who may have needs that are completely different from the original pre planned system of search.
Strengths and Weaknesses of O*NET Assessment System
According to Ployhart, Schneider & Schmitt (2005), O*NET is widely accepted among both the public and industry associations. This makes it one of the most diversified databases which can be consulted both by the employees and employers. Because of this endorsement, the system boosts the ability to offer a variety of jobs across several disciplines which makes it popular with fresh job seekers. The assessment system also allows users having counseling with experts in their area of specialization.
On the other hand, O*NET assessment system could be used for purposes other than that of being a search tool for jobs. For instance, Ployhart, Schneider & Schmitt (2005) observe that it could use the users’ email for advertising purposes with companies dealing in manufacturing. Similarly, the personal information of the users can be used maliciously if it is accessed by unauthorized people for criminal activities like cyber crimes which can be used to solicit for money from the user.
Applicability and Limitations for Persons with Disabilities
Ployhart, Schneider & Schmitt (2005) note that O*NET assessment system has proved to be an important tool in connecting employees with the employers. It is applicable across all spheres of work and can be used by both the private and the civil employers. However, they argue that the tool has limitations as it cannot be used by people who are blind. Hence, the is a need for an audio system which has not been designed. Similarly, the system requires companies to develop data entry programs using defined algorithm which may be costly for the company and therefore fail in assisting the users of O*NET exploration tools.
In conclusion, it is evident that O*NET as an exploration tool is an important database that helps bridging the cup between the employer and the employee by allowing either of the parties to see what is on the offer for them. Therefore, it is important that job seekers, especially students, make use of this tool to assist them in accessing opportunities on the labor market.