Sixteen years ago, Sharon Lyon took a risk. She changed careers
by starting her own business and hasn't regretted the bold move ever
After working in the legal department for Kerr-McGee and 18
months as an office manager of another firm, she decided to set out
on her own to create an employment placement company tailored to law
In 1984, Lyon started Career Futures & Legal Temps "to meet the
demand for a personnel service that catered to the legal
profession," she said. "I felt I had the necessary background to
effectively find the type of support staff needed by the legal
She explained in the mid-1980s there were nearly as many
"dedicated" word processing programs as there were law firms with
plenty of legal secretaries seeking employment, but the availability
of jobs were few.
"Finding temporary legal secretaries who could operate a variety
of programs was a difficult task," Lyon said. "Today, there are
plenty of legal positions available, but few qualified applicants."
Although both environments present their own set of challenges,
Lyon loves her career now.
"It's a great feeling when you call someone with a job offer,"
she said. "After 16 years of working with the legal profession, I'm
very excited about the new service we are now offering our clients."
That new service is a comprehensive battery of psychometric tests
administered and interpreted by licensed professional counselors.
Lyon didn't have to look far for a counselor for her company.
Her husband, Jim, recently joined Career Futures. He holds a
master's degree in counseling psychology to provide career
assessments and counseling.
The tests include personality, aptitude, skills, and management
assessment examinations for potential and current employees and
"These tests can assist management in predicting a person's job
performance and workplace compatibility," Sharon said. "They are
cost effective and can reduce an employer's cost of recruitment and
training of new personnel."
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the two most
widely used personality inventories in the world. MBTI is a
personality test that is useful for career and personal development.
It places an individual into one of 16 possible personality types.
The assumption is that certain types seem to enjoy certain kinds
of work and activities. The MBTI allows one to seek a "best fit"
between personality and career. In addition, the MBTI can be
interpreted to reveal learning, leadership, and managerial styles.
"The MBTI determines preferences on four personality factors:
extroversion-introversion, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and
judging-perceiving," Jim said. "It is used to classify individuals
into one of 16 specific personality types that provides a
description of behavioral, emotional, and functional preferences."
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is an instrument designed to
help people increase their awareness of their general interests and
to alert them of possible activities and work that match those
interests. The test also allows individuals to compare their
interests to those of people already employed in a wide variety of
occupations. The SII uses a personality-based model for career
exploration. The SII is computer-administered and takes about 30
minutes to finish. Jim interprets the results of the 27-page report.
"This report helps identify professional occupations that
typically require a four-year college education," Jim explained. "It
presents a customized occupational code, a list of careers related
to that code, and an in-depth description of the employee's
management style, potential contributions to an organization, and
most-preferred work environment.
"Organizations interested in employee retention can benefit from
this evaluation of their employees by making sure each person is
working in the area for which they are most suited. …