Who rated the competencies first?
Competencies appeared at the moment when one person appreciated the abilities or qualities of another. It could well be a primitive man who said about his relative “He is a great hunter!”.
He could say something else, but this does not change the essence – the assessment takes place at the moment when we conclude about the degree of correspondence between what we observe and our idea of a certain quality or ability.
We constantly evaluate the people around us, without attaching special importance to this action.
How the competency assessment is formed
Cool hunters could recognize someone who, in front of the entire tribe, knocked down a bear with a stone ax with one blow and strung 2-3 wolves on a spear at a time.
But it could have been different – a relative recognized as a great hunter did not accomplish anything outstanding in fact, but he hunted stories about hunting achievements in a cozy cave by the fire.
So, not only an effective earner of food for the tribe but also a specialist about the presentation of hunting successes could be recognized as cool hunters.
Does this mean that the same competency can be assessed in different ways?
Let’s try to figure it out.
How the competency assessment mechanism works
In the mind of the evaluator, there is an ideal image of a certain competence, which is compared with the information available to the person we are evaluating.
We receive information using our senses – we hear, see, feel. We compare our ideas about competence with the information received to us, which allows us to judge the availability of the competence that we assess.
Relatively objective information is the behavior of people, observation of which allows us to make value judgments. Manifestations of the behavior that allow us to make value judgments are usually called behavioral indicators.
This mechanism is universal and works regardless of who evaluates what and how. Why are the evaluation results so different?
Any assessment is subjective
A good driver does not get into accidents.
A polite person is the one who always greets first.
A good employee is not late for work.
A valuable employee is one whose absence will significantly affect the work of the company.
I bet that not everyone will agree with the logic, validity, and fairness of all these judgments.
How many people, so many opinions about what and how to be assessed, because, in any value judgment, each person puts his own meaning.
Even the same behavioral manifestations can be interpreted in different ways.
This must always be remembered when we focus on our value judgments when making decisions, whether it is the assessment of a job seeker when hiring or the assessment of a working employee.
Unfortunately, they are often no fairer than the judgments I gave examples at the beginning of this section.
Are there reliable and objective ways to assess competencies?
I think there are not.
Competency models and descriptions serve only one purpose – to achieve a common understanding of how the assessment is formed among those who assess and those who are being assessed.
Any assessment system that is used within the company, be it testing or assessment, is as subjective as the point of view of an individual.
If it is adopted, this does not mean its objectivity, but simply indicates that a certain number of people have agreed to consider this method of assessment effective.
“We agreed to consider gray the ratio of 50 to 50 white and black, not 60 to 40 and not 70 to 30. And we agreed to hire only those employees who share this point of view.”
This is roughly how rating systems are designed and operated.