IPS supported employment does not use skill assessments or vocational evaluations because these have not been demonstrated to predict employment for people with severe mental illnesses. Further, testing and other assessments can be discouraging to people who want to work right away.

Instead, employment specialists attempt to help people make good job matches by learning as much as possible about each individual. The employment specialist talks to the person’s mental health workers, and with permission, family members. The specialist also has a series of conversations with the job seeker about his work history (jobs he liked, strategies that worked, etc.), his job preferences, work skills, interests, current symptoms and coping strategies, etc.

Employment specialists also talk to employers about the types of jobs that they have available, job requirements, and hiring preferences. The information about local jobs is invaluable as the specialist can combine this with client preferences to suggest jobs to the job seeker.

If a person has not had much work experience, or is not sure what he would like to do, the employment specialist might take him out to look at different worksites and observe people working for an hour or so. They might also prepare some questions to ask the manager, such as “What qualities make a person a good assembler?”

Of course, not every job works out, but this is also true for workers without disabilities. If a job doesn’t go well, the employment specialist, client, Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, mental health practitioners, and with permission, family members, talk about the things that went well, as well as those things that did not go well. Practitioners look for lessons learned and help the person develop a new job plan. They offer to help with a new job search without delay.