Sunday, January 11, 2009

Old school competencies part 2

I seem to have a thing for noticing signs in museums that remind me of a job analysis. Either I'm developing an appreciation for our nation's history or I'm obsessed with my subject matter. Maybe a bit of both.

Anyway, this weekend I visited the California State Railroad Museum and happened to notice this sign:

It reminded me of several things:

(1) Analyzing job requirements, whether you want to call them KSAs, KSAOs, KSAOPs, competencies, or whatever, is not new.

(2) Despite this, and despite efforts of the feds and well-known vendors, we still don't have a common language when we talk about job requirements. Non-HR folk tend to be more attracted to the words used in this poster--words like "people skills" and "perseverance." We need to seriously de-jargon ourselves.

(3) Many HR professionals are still stuck in the paradigm of (1) analyze job, (2) test for few relevant competencies, (3) choose person with best score. As the last paragraph of this picture points out, we need to remember that many different competencies go into job performance and very few jobs are identical. If a highly competent person drops in your lap, are you able to plug them in where you need them, or do you shunt them to a website where they spend 30 days going through your application process? Are you looking for competencies or people?

(4) I really need to stop using my phone to take pictures.

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