Interview Your Consultant!

A huge crowd of people, some with little or no experience, call themselves Vocational, College,or Career consultants. Other terms people use are job coach or educational consultant.  There is little or no regulating agency or one credential you can look for, and the term “counselor” is not a legally regulated term.  While using a consultant to make life altering decisions is now a mainstream best practice, especially given these student and professional statistics who can you trust?


Choose carefully! You should aggressively interview any consultant you are considering! Here is my list of questions you can build on:

Can I call clients who have worked with you?

Dr. B welcomes the opportunity to give you some names of people you can call to ask about their experiences.

How much experience do you have with mentoring people?

Dr. B has over 15 years of experience mentoring people from all walks of life, including adolescents with special needs, gifted students, elite athletes, military, business owners, and corporate and nonprofit leaders.

How do I know if my college or career consultant is being sufficiently thorough?

Credible vocational profiling involves at least the following elements:   in-depth interviewing to identify your passions, assessment of your past experiences to identify themes in your life, clarification of where you are particularly talented, awareness of where you have skill gaps, and clarification of what kinds of social and environmental needs you have in order to feel deeply synchronized to your environment.  This is an abbreviated list.

You would know that you are being thoroughly enough evaluated if as the person is interviewing you makes you feel like your insides are being turned out, and you’re having insight you’ve never had before.  You would also know you’re being adequately respected if you sense that the person sitting with you was having multiple eye to eye meetings where there is a rich integration of the scientific and personal information such that you were beginning to feel like there was a true convergence of data that was leading to a clear understanding of where your educational or career sweet spot existed. These are the kinds of reports we’ve gotten from our clients about their experience.

What is different about your approach?

Dr. B, over the last 15 years, has developed a scientifically-based and rigorous process using his behavioral science expertise.  People tell Dr. B that his approach feels uniquely hand tailored because it utilizes cutting-edge science as well as being deeply tailored since Dr. B’s focus is to recognize what is unique about each person. Beware of approaches where organizations or consultants say they use certain tools, but when you question them about why they’re using those tools they seem to lack a compelling scientifically-based explanation. 

How is this process different from what school guidance centers or online career tools offer?

Especially due to funding cuts, and overwhelming volumes of students, schools and guidance counselors cannot be faulted for the fact that they do not have the time it takes to do credible vocational profiling.  The most common experience students and people report to me is that often what they end up receiving is a very long list of careers that may be a good fit for them, and that these lists are overwhelming and that the assessment they underwent which produced this list was minimal.  They often report no in-depth interview was conducted. My approach is drastically more thorough and involves both in-depth interviewing alongside rich integration with the most advanced vocational assessment tools.

How much higher level training or expertise do you have in mentoring people?

A major part of Dr. B’s original PhD doctoral level training was in developmental psychology. Dr. B has been a trusted mentor and consultant to students, parents, physicians, hospitals, and local and national organizations.  He has several thousands of hours of training in how to account for each person’s unique personality to help them optimize their functioning.  His expertise is evidenced by his list of publications and his full professional portfolio is available online here.

How much experience do you have in working with people from different cultures and ethnicities?

Dr. B has over 15 years of working with people from a wide variety of ages, demographics, belief systems, and ethnicities.  Not only does he have personal experience in counseling these people but also has scientific experience in helping researchers from many countries around the world adapt his measure into their home language and culture such that it is cross culturally valid.

What is your track record of being trusted by others, especially regarding your handling of complex situations like mine?

Dr. Brunner is recognized as a forensic psychological expert by local court systems, and has served as an expert witness whereupon attorneys have asked him to conduct assessments to answer questions involving his needing to clarify highly complex psychological situations that involve the highest level of seriousness.

How much training in personality science do you have (this is an important question because many guidance counselors say they use measurement tools, but the question is who really knows HOW to use those tools)?

Dr. Brunner completed his PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Charles Spielberger, one of the foremost experts in personality assessment in the world.  One way Dr. B is unique is his expert level of knowledge regarding personality assessment, as evidenced by his numerous publications/presentations in this area.


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