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Once the key behaviours in a job have been identified they become the basis of the criteria to be predicted. This allows the assessment tools subsequently used in the assessment centre to be structured, that is, directly related to the competencies shown to determine effective job performance. Almost always the job holders themselves are central to the process but frequently it may involve peers, subordinates, superiors or even customers. The involvement of senior managers especially can often pay dividends from the point of view of gaining commitment and fostering a sense of ownership, this ties in with the points discussed in module one in relation to ensuring that senior personnel buy in to the project.
Key themes involved in securing the commitment of senior managers during the competency derivation process include:
Involvement of managers in the competency framework design.
Familiarization with competencies and the behavioural assessment process.
Application of the framework to solve pressing business/organizational issues.
Review of the competency framework on a regular basis as corporate strategy develops.
The benefits of an organizationally-specific competency model include:
The specification of a visible set of agreed standards.
It can act as a model for improving all aspects of recruitment and development.
It specifies what selectors should be assessing in candidates.
It provides the basis for the design of the assessment centre.
It removes the subjectivity from assessment and performance evaluation.
It facilitates the evaluation of validity, reliability, fairness and cost benefits.
It gives a sense of ownership of the competency list.
It describes competencies in language that is relevant to the organisation.
There are however some drawbacks to having an organizationally specific competency list:
The list can take time to develop.
Competencies still need to be weighted for importance.
It lacks the research base of many generic models.
While it is important to be clear on the distinction between specific behavioural competencies and areas of competence one must remember that competencies are only descriptions of behaviour and that if a competency is too general then it may be impossible to accurately assess the specific behavioural competencies involved. It is generally better to work at a more detailed level when designing the job analysis which will allow the organisation of related competencies into groups under a common heading a later date than to design the job analysis to work at that level from the start and find later that the competencies are too general to be of any use.
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It is also important to be clear about the nature of the competencies which are to be assessed. If a job involves competencies that are mundane and which everybody is likely to possess then there is no point in including them. Similarly, if the target job involves a training period for successful candidates then it would not be wise to use competencies that take time to develop; instead the competencies that emerge should be described in terms of potential. For instance, if a number of existing managers are applying for a job then one might reasonably expect them to have a developed a competency like organisational skill to some degree and be able to demonstrate this, if however a number of graduates are being assessed for the same position then it would be unfair to expect them to have the same level of organisational skill, in this case the focus would be on their potential to develop organisational skill with appropriate training.
Competencies should also be observable, remember that things like self-awareness are not directly observable and because they can only be inferred from behaviour confusion is likely to arise when it comes to assessors deciding how they should assess individual's self-awareness. In a desire to be comprehensive there is also a great temptation to produce long lists of competencies but this can be self-defeating. Some competency lists can run to thirty or more, in cases such as this it is almost always possible and certainly advisable to remove some of the less important ones and cluster the remainder together under more general headings. A usual number of competencies are 12 to 15 and most assessment centers tend to use around this number. In addition to making the system as simple as possible by keeping the number of competencies to a minimum it is also important to use descriptive terminology that is as unambiguous as possible, it might even be advisable to avoid using the word competencies' at all in order to avoid confusing assessors.
Data collection is the most difficult part as one has to collect the data from the existing employees who might not have sufficient time. To make the best use of time the interviewee was provided with some of the questions b4 hand.
Following were the guidelines followed to be successful at collecting the data: -
Use of open ended questions Open-ended question allows the interviewee to respond in full and complete manner. A closed question, one that can be answered with a yes or no, only allows the interviewee to confirm or refute the interviewer's assumptions and is best used to clarify a given answer.
Ask for stories and examples The objective of the interview is to elicit detailed conversation from the interviewees regarding what they do, how they do it and what they do. The open-ended question would encourage the interviewee to relate a story or example that covers a range of behaviors, skills and characteristics.
Probe for specifics The interviewer should not hesitate to probe for further information when the interviewee responds with a generality or is unclear. The interviewer's job is to understand the specific behaviors use to resolve a situation or take advantage of an opportunity and why those behaviors were selected.
Avoid leading or directing the interviewee interviewers may unwittingly direct the interviewee's responses in two ways. First leading questions and statements or a forced or a multiple choice question. Secondly, interviewers may unintentionally guide the interviewee toward specific answers through their own empathetic or judgmental responses.
Establish a comfortable, open environment Making people feel at ease during the first few minutes of the meeting will increase the likelihood that they will speak freely and not self-edit their comments.
Under competency mapping the competencies that have been derived is rated by the business units heads. This is a process to validate the competencies derived at. This process enables to not only verify but also gives new competencies that may not have been adjudged during the interviews.
Rating process is very crucial as it involves understanding of the rating scales and how each competency would be rated.
In my project that rating scale was decided in the following process: -
The very first step was to understand the standard interview assessment sheet that is being provided by the corporate department. In this interview sheet the ratings were given in a very simple and systematic way. Such ratings are good because they can be understood by anyone.
After going through the ratings of the corporate interview assessment sheet the ratings were then decided to be the same in the new assessment sheet. This rating makes the tool easier to use.
In the step three the minimum rating is decided for the competencies. This minimum has to be acquired by the candidate to proceed further in the interview.
The competencies on interview assessment sheet
The competencies that have been written in the interview assessment sheet are the competencies that have been derived at by the common interest of the respective business unit heads.
The competency based assessment sheet is divided in 3 parts.
1. Organization specific
The competencies which a person needs to have to be successful in Prima division. These competencies are very prominent in the employees who are working at Prima division, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. These competencies have been obtained from the Business units heads and the other heads like the accounts, CRT, HR etc.
2. Role Specific
The competency mapping has been done for the employees at the sales level. Therefore the role included in this is that of employees at the O' Band and P' Band level. There have been competencies which are generic to a salesperson. Such competencies are found common at both the levels only the intensities would differ.
3. Job Specific
The competencies that a salesperson in office automation sales would require will be different than those needed by the employee handling sales for conferencing products. Thus these competencies become very specific to the kind of job that the candidate will be offered.