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What exactly do we mean when we say a person is competent? The dictionary defines
competent as “having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully”. Please note that you are only pronounced as competent when you do something successfully. The assumption is that this something is positive and is pre-agreed before the person performs it successfully.
I have noted that most Zimbabweans tend to equate experience and level of qualification as being competent. The truth on the ground is that there are so many people who are highly qualified for their roles but are incompetent. There are also many people who have the requisite number of years of experience but are incompetent in their roles. I have noticed that these assumptions have led many people to hire the wrong people. Scientific evidence shows that level of education (years of education) and experience (in terms of numbers years) combined contribute only 3% variance in individual performance.
Despite the above scientific evidence it seems those with the responsibility to hire people for whatever role have an obsession with qualification and experience. Qualifications are good because they give domain technical know-how for the role but are not sufficient for competent performance. The same applies to experience; it gives you the necessary exposure but again it's not sufficient for successful performance.
Given all the above why it that we have so many incompetent
people in jobs:
The unfortunate part with all of the above problems is that they can be addressed if an organisation agrees to follow proper recruitment and selection policy. Most organisations think they are saving costs by taking shortcuts as outlined above but the cost of hiring an incompetent person and pretend they are competent is huge. Most organisations realise this when it’s too late to take corrective action. There is no substitute for being thorough on who joins your organisation. In the long run, your organisation succeeds based on the quality of the people you hire.
Until and unless we start hiring people on merit in the
private sector and government we will continue to struggle as an economy. Only
those organisations hiring people on merit will enjoy sustainable long term
Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant - Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. https://www.linkedin.com/in/memorynguwi/ Phone 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: email@example.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC
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