Looking For A Fresh Start? Find Your Inner Genius, Says Denise Hartsoch

By Michael B. Arthur, Contributor
Denise Hartsoch, President of MyInnerGenius Denise Hartsoch

The use of psychological instruments, and enthusiasm to combine those instruments with available information technology, can help or harm people’s careers. The “MyInnerGenius” platform also uses psychology and information technology to influence people’s careers. However, it does so carefully, in limited circumstances and for constructive purposes. I interviewed the company President, Denise Hartsoch, for this article.

Hartsoch asserts her approach is directed at the “career seeker” who “wants to find a new career, get smarter [and] find a job with family-supporting wages.” Specifically, the approach is aimed at “career starters, career changers and people re-entering the workforce” Like many other platforms, it is grounded in psychological assessments. However, Hartsoch is very clear that the underlying principle is one of “helping people first, and in turn having them help companies.” The psychological instruments are aimed at you, the career owner, and it is up to you to pass on those benefits to your present or future employer.

The fundamental offer of the MyInnerGenius approach is that you give them around an hour of your time to test your skills and abilities across a range of practical work situations, and gather more information on your personal preferences. They also insist on doing so without bias toward any demographic group, providing a level playing field for disadvantaged workers. In return for your time, they will deliver a profile of your “personal competencies,” as shown in the illustration below.

An illustrative personal competency profile Denise Hartsock

In a further step, MyInnerGenius will overlay your personal competencies against the competencies in a relevant “use case”⁠—typically a job role or job family⁠—and point out where there’s a match, as shown in the example below. In this case the illustration suggests the person in question has competencies that match or exceed those called for in the role of Technology Analyst, signaling they are “career ready” to take on work in that field. If your competency profile indicated a shortfall in more than one competency, you could receive the feedback you were “learning ready” and be pointed toward additional coursework to provide that learning. Notice also the badge that accompanies the Technology Analyst profile, affirming that the badge holder has demonstrated the competencies needed to perform the work.

An illustrative case of competency matching Denise Hartsock

So how does the approach work? The paragraphs below provide three specific examples. All are being funded by the Department of Labor, through IBM which in turn delegates the administration of MyInnerGenius to “cohorts.” Cohorts are entities which coordinate intake and management of recommended training, arrange company apprenticeship programs through which people can “earn while they learn,” and finally assist with job placement after program completion.

Chris Wilson was a white South Carolina truck driver who became disabled and was no longer able to continue in his job. He was recruited by the cohort company Franklin Apprenticeships to complete MyInnerGenius, and recommended to pursue training as a “Mainframe Practitioner.” He is currently employed by Black Knight Inc. as a Systems Software Programmer, in what he describes as “the best job on the face of the planet.”

He reports “Ask me how much I love the IBM z/OS apprenticeship program through Franklin Apprenticeships’ Program! I also recently finished Kenzie Academy's one-year accelerated remote program as a Full Stack Web Developer and a Front-End Web Developer. During that time, I have also worked on freeCodeCamp.com and finished the Responsive Web Design certification through them. My main focus now is on programming in modern languages, researching trends, and responsive web design.”

Chitra, a minority worker, had a successful career in information technology before taking off time to raise her family. After nearly 11 years, she was ready to re-enter the workforce but didn’t know exactly where to start. Then she discovered Franklin Apprenticeships’ program which starts with the MyInnerGenius Career Fit Assessment. She went on to complete Franklin’s IBM Z® pre-apprenticeship in May 2021 and was hired by a Fortune 500 Company as a Mainframe System Administrator Apprentice. She is thriving in her return to work, gaining new skills, and progressing quickly through her apprenticeship.

She reports “I was delighted and inspired by the results of the MyInnerGenius assessment. It was great to know that I could get training and resume my career so quickly. The IT industry is so competitive and vast, and that can get perplexing, since a lot has changed during the time that I took a break.” But Franklin Apprenticeships “made it easy by providing the platform as well as the launching pad for me to get hands-on experience, get significant training and certifications from IBM, as well as providing interaction with an IBM subject matter expert to clarify any doubts, questions or concerns.”

Domani had no computer experience except for working on Best Buy’s Geek Squad. A young black man from the South Side of Chicago, he was caring for his younger siblings and grandmother. He didn’t have the self-confidence to pursue a career in IT beyond the limited exposure he received in his current job. However he was encouraged by the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation, at Youngstown State University, to explore further options.

He completed a MyInnerGenius assessment that showed him he had the potential to succeed in more demanding IT roles. He picked cybersecurity, and has firmly validated that choice. He has completed his apprenticeship with the support of Evanston Technology Partners and is preparing for certification exams in both cybersecurity and Amazon Web Services administration. A close advisor anticipates Domani will have a vey bright future in a field where there are currently over 500,000 unfilled vacancies in the US alone.

While the above examples are all in the IT work space, MyInnerGenius provides comparable assessments across all job sectors, such as health care, manufacturing, retailing, skilled trades, accounting and financial services, education social worker, hospitality, and many more. In each case, the individual is referred to and encouraged to pursue curated training programs to get started in the next chapter of their careers. In each case, the intention is the same: to help a client identify their personal competencies through a relevant MyInnerGenius assessment, match those with potential careers where they will thrive, and provide a plan of action that leads to future career success.

Asked about her present work, Hartsoch responded “My work has always been about helping to get people in the right roles. However, instead of being finely focused on a single role, I’m trying to understand all the things somebody can do across many roles. I’m helping companies shift from resumes about the past to possibilities for the future. To think that in around one hour a person can be put on a path where their life and their family’s lives are on a different trajectory, it’s truly rewarding.


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