Column by Andrea Fuenzalida
Fear to be assessed: From victim to protagonist

I have been devoted to “assess people” within organizations for years and, through this, I have detected the fears some people have; which is something valid as in certain cases their work future is at stake.

Just by listening to their anxious expressions like “tell me how I did” when finishing the assessment, wishing to finish the uncertainty and to know the end of the story by going straight to the last page. Likewise, many people I know come to me asking for some “tips” in order to perform well in their interviews or for the right answers (as if I could guess what questions they will be asked or as if there were just two tests in the whole world) because they feel their whole lives are at stake in the interviews to come.

Not only have I witnessed this attitude in selection processes, but, in general, we do not feel at ease when being assessed, quantified, measured, classified, accepted/rejected, awarded/punished, etc. and examples abound: performance evaluation, hop on the scale, take the STA, cholesterol tests, speed control radars, budget control, to be or not to be selected for a position, and so many more. No doubt all assessment processes are not nice and/or the consequences of a negative result may be unpleasant in the short term: not getting the bonus, becoming aware of those extra kilograms, not entering the university of your preference, changing some health habits, paying a traffic ticket, explaining non-achieved goals, not being chosen for the job you are applying for…

The issue is that short term view, that difficulty to cope with frustration when things turn out to be different that what you expected; without seeing that any assessment seeks moving us towards achieving positive changes: making changes to be better professionals, developing a healthier style of life, choosing a college with requirements that match our capabilities, driving safe, taking on responsibilities matching our skills, and so many others.

As everything in life, there are two alternatives: we either let ourselves be managed by the anxiety that comes from these situations, and we experience them as external events over which we have no control, from a victim´s viewpoint, or we learn to value these experiences as self-improvement opportunities, becoming protagonists. Having a more receptive attitude towards these processes, which implies taking assessment results as feedback of our performance in life, will enable us to continue to grow. No doubt, we can always be better, let’s fear not.

Andrea Fuenzalida U
Assessment Manager at SommerGroup®
November 2013