Though you could bump them up in the ratings given their effort, which was one of the criteria in you definition.
Or simply not knowing how to evaluate given the very different types of criteria on the list in the definition you gave. Or by being fooled by a current, but perhaps more static state, fostered by privilege.although it would perhaps influence your choice if you wished to help someone out, then you’d be choosing employees based on “wealth” rather than ability - that is certainly one area where a “meritocracy” breaks down, when someone is employed due to “empathy”, “sympathy”, and/or “guilt” above actual merit.
But actually my point was that there is the hiring moment, where candidates are where they are. But that is just one facet of a society. It seems to me a society calling itself a meritocracy would not simply focus on those moemnts of measurement, but also on seeing to it that merit is what leads to power or freedom to use ones skills. And this would entail seeing to it that candidates showing potential in not so advantageous circumstances are given bridges to advantageous ones. Otherwise it is not merit, but luck that controls the results.
So we are on the same page to some degree. I would look at the first part a little differently. A kid in a **** environment who scores 12 could be said to be showing more merit than a kid with advantages scoring a 15. We are not in a hiring stage. We are not choosing to let one be a surgeon, so we don't need to treat either student as a final product, just note that the first student managed to score 12 on, let's say, a reading comprehension test, despite being in a family where his vocabularly was not automatically enhanced just listening to mom and dad speak.It does, however, make sense to give more opportunity to people rather than “compensate” their “disadvantageous” start to life - and the there is the possiblilty of a “rough” start to life being “beneficial” to some personality types. The value of money is known more by those without it than those with it (I’d say that those with no money, and those with billions, more likley understand that other things are more important ... well, there is a degree of that I’d throw my hat in with at least!)
I think when people look at meritocracies or imagine them, they often imagine that moment when we have two candidates for a job, and often the job will then be some job where catastrophy is waiting around the corner if we choose the weaker on test measurement candidate right now to operate on your mother's brain since she just had an aneurism. But since we are discussing a society with a specific philosophy, we have to assume that this society will be run not just around those specific Candidate A vs B moments, but is suffused with supporting merit all over the place, in diverse ways.
And again, I would raise the issue that to ensure merit is the criterion I cannot but see that government will have to be all over the place. Private companies may allow guilt and empathy to distort merit evaluations, but they certainly allow connections, family relationships, personality types and other non-merit factors to sway their candidate A vs. B moments.