With the emergence of Competence-Based Assessment (CBA), corporates are looking for new ways to assess their potential employees
As a corporate firm, what pops up in your mind when the term “requirements for a job” is uttered?
Education, qualifications, degree, experience…?
Yes, all these are indeed closely connected to hiring.
In fact, there is no other joy as great as that of finding employees who’ve learnt exactly what is required for a job.
A degree certificate can certainly be a proof that a prospective employee has at least the basic knowledge required for a job. You can then train them and help them adapt their knowledge as per your company’s specific requirements.
But what about skills?
While the gap between theoretical education and practical skills is certainly closing in our country, much work remains to be done in this area.
Degrees (even the best ones from the most premier institutes) still do not represent the skills an individual possesses.
The solution to that problem is of course interviews and other recruitment activities like aptitude tests and group discussions. But they largely test an individual’s ability to learn, not his/her specific skills.
With this thought in mind, a system to assess the competence of a potential employee has been developed – Competence-Based Assessment (CBA).
Major supply management organisations, like the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), India, have developed and adopted this system to assess and supply employees. It plays an important role in the changing job scenario where the focus is on getting quality work done with minimum wastage of resources.
Corporate are helped by the fact that they can spend less money and time on training with the hiring of resource that fits in the requirements more aptly. Moreover, companies themselves can develop such a model to recruit new employees and even assess the new ones.
The Problem with Degrees
Educational degrees are definitely indicators of some sort of achievement. They reflect that an individual has undertaken a course that covers at least a general or basic knowledge of what is required in the industry.
But what degrees reflect can be subjective. The problem can be manifold:
- Is the syllabus covered by the degree course a standard one? Does it include topics currently relevant to the industry?
- What are the practical aspects of the course? How seriously and how accurately were the practical parts done?
- The university by which the degree course is conducted might be a reputed one. But what about the particular institute? What kind of standards does it have?
- Does the grade or class a student has achieved reflect his/her aptitude? Or has the institute been lenient in areas like internal marks to improve the overall grade?
Not that these questions have not been confronted in the past.
Right from colleges collaborating with industries for practical knowledge to grading the colleges with accreditation systems like NAAC to technical interviews, multiple solutions have been and are being implemented. Some companies have even developed strategies like conducting campus interviews in a college before any other company (so that they get the cream).
But none of these methods promise to be fool-proof.Companies have to waste a lot of time, money and energy to hire the best employees.
Competency-Based Assessments – A Possible Solution
Computer-Based Assessment (CBA) is a trend catching all over the world.
Supply management organisations as well as corporate HRs have shown interest in adopting the system for better and efficient hiring.
It not only saves resources of the company but also helps in developing a concrete and robust mechanism to hire employees. It can be modified as per the specific company requirements and once developed elaborately, can serve as the basis of a company’s hiring process for years.
There are two important steps CBA requires – listing down of required competencies and quantifying these competencies. Both these areas can be covered under something known as Competency Map. This works on three levels:
- Individual (Generic)
- Individual (Specific)
Organisational Competency Map will address the larger structure. It will have a general-to-specific flow. The top of the map will include factors like company goals, vision and mission. It will then detail the departments and then the roles required in each department.
With Individual (Generic) Map, you can assess generic qualities like personal character, the person’s approach to a problem, situation handling, motivations and attitude of an individual.
This mostly makes up the personality assessment and assessment of behavioral patterns. Both these factors can combine to predict the level of performance of an individual.
Individual (Specific) Map further specifies the roles in Organisational Competency Map.
These are developed according to the specific roles in a particular company. You can also develop these in accordance with a new requirement. The map can give you exact pointers as to how fit an applicant is for your company.
Though all the fields can have certain grades or marks attached to them, the trick is not to get too obsessed over them. They will indicate a general competency, but your instincts (born out of immense experience) will eventually matter.
Does CBA Replace Degree Requirements?
Ideally, it should. But for now, as said above, degree certificates may guarantee a basic competence.
Many corporate still have the minimum condition of graduation, though many certifications and diverse courses have started to replace them.
Supply management organisations have started their own training and development programs to lend industry-specific knowledge to students.
These programs come with credible certificates that are considered important by corporate.
Even Government of India, through initiatives like Skill India, is certifying individuals with certain skills.
Such certifications are becoming an important basis on which employees are hired.
CBA can be the next step for corporate in hiring employees based on just talent and not on the criterion of degree certificates.
The trend can also make institutes be more aware of practical aspects of their courses and bring about a change in the way education is imparted. For now, CBA, along with degree certificates, seems to the best option for hiring employees.