For an individual to know his strengths and weaknesses, it is imperative to conduct a self-assessment. The process involves answering a set of questions specifically designed to help individuals discover what characteristics and abilities they possess that can help them succeed in their endeavors.
On the other hand, managers should assess their employees’ level of competency in order to appraise their performance as well as to help them develop and excel in their career. More often than not, competency assessments are done only to check whether a particular individual has met certain standards but fail to develop ways on how to exceed those levels.
Competency assessment includes the following measures: structured interviews that focus on behavior, cognitive ability tests, job knowledge tests, promotion tests, personality tests, social skills assessment, and bio-data instruments. In the written tests (or computer-based tests), an individual will be asked to rate himself on each category given, and each of these categories are given specific weighting. Once the assessment results are available, feedback sessions follow.
Selecting Competency Assessment Measures
There are many ways to assess competency, and some of the commonly used are: direct measurement, indirect measurement, objective assessment, and performance assessment.
- Direct Assessment: This can be done through an assessment of an individual’s actual work output, or a demonstration of their skill.
- Indirect Assessment: This measurement is done through a series of observations on the individual.
- Objective Assessment: This is done through a series of tests that require short answers such as true/false questions and multiple choice tests.
Performance Assessment: This is particularly helpful for high-order thinking and requires judgment and critical thinking skills to be able to answer questions given.
When to Assess Competency
On a formal setting, competency assessment can be done on different occasions. Usually, assessment is done during the recruitment stage, wherein the interviewer will ask the applicant a series of questions pertaining to his skills, knowledge, and attitude to determine if he has the necessary requirements to make him excel in a given position. These questions are structured specifically for this purpose, and are often behavior-based situations, as it is more accurate to gauge competency when asking questions in this manner. Competency assessment is also done when managers conduct performance appraisals for their employees.
There are two parts in this type of appraisal; one is the self appraisal, which is a test with a series of questions that require the employee to answer based on his performance or his perception of it, and the other is directed to the manager, wherein he will rate the employees based on their performance, inputs, outputs, attitudes, attributes, and any other relevant factors.
After the assessment is done, a feedback session between the employee and the manager will take place, and they can draft out a plan to further develop his competencies. Another instance wherein competency assessment is done is during an exit interview. This assessment is done in order for management to determine which areas are weak or need improvement in the department and the company as well, so as to help them do better or make the necessary changes for the benefit of those who are employed in the company, should there be a need to do so.
Competency Assessment and Certification Programs
Many individuals today undergo competency assessments in order for them to know which areas (skills, knowledge, and attitudes) they are lacking. As soon as the results are released, they are able to discover their limitations and then choose to undergo training to compensate for it. This kind of undertaking is referred to as certification programs.
These certification programs are primarily for competencies that are skill-based; for example, one might need to become proficient in Microsoft applications and therefore decide to undergo a training program.
For a fee, an individual will be trained for a period of time until he will be able to learn the required information and knowledge, and develop a targeted skill. Once the training period ends, this person will then receive a certification which he can use to his advantage when applying for a job or when aiming for a promotion.
Although this may not be for everyone, certification programs are helpful to elevate one’s career as it makes him more competent in performing his tasks and responsibilities.