Identification of Job Competencies3rd March 2021
Competencies should be identified early in the employee recruitment process. These competencies are drawn from the job description and job specifications, and are then used to develop the employment advertising copy, the interview questions, and the rating and evaluation process that is used to make a hiring decision. By focusing specifically on those critical skills necessary to do the job, the hiring manager and all of those involved in the selection process can increase their chances of success.
- Review the job description to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the critical functions of the job. The job description should provide an indication of the skills necessary for employees to be successful in a position. In addition to the tasks performed on the job, the background and experience requirements can give an indication of the competencies required. For instance, the job of an editor would require an attention to detail, strong grammar and spelling abilities, and the ability to work well with others, says Lin Grensing-Pophal, author of “Employee Management for Small Business.”
- Talk to the job incumbent. The person holding the job can give a real-world perspective on the competencies required for effectiveness. The job holder, if available, should be asked to review the job description to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, and to provide input on the core competencies required to perform effectively in the job.
- Talk to the supervisor or manager for the position. The perspective of the person responsible for managing the position can help to identify key competences. Ask what the current or former employee in the position did exceptionally well that is critical for the job. Then ask what gaps might exist in terms of additional competencies that would improve the value of the position. Make sure that these competencies are included in the job description.
- Gather feedback from customers and others in the organization. Cast a wide net for input regarding the important competencies in a position. The more input received from different perspectives, the more likely it is that common competencies will start to emerge and provide an indication of those competencies that are most critical for the position, says Grensing-Pophal.
- Check with other companies or online to verify competencies. Many positions are similar across companies and even across industries. Doing some research by contacting other organizations, or searching online can help to identify key core competencies that may have been missed or overlooked.
Using Core Competencies to Guide Interviews
As you begin recruiting, your company may find a focus on core competencies leads to a broader, more diverse candidate pool because the emphasis is on competencies, rather than particular educational or work backgrounds.
Now it’s important to use these competencies to evaluate candidates in the interview process. Armed with the core competencies for a position, a hiring manager is in a much better position to conduct an interview that evaluates whether a candidate has the skills necessary for the job. Research confirms that structured interviews are much more effective than unstructured interviews. Identifying core competencies provides the basis for structuring effective interviews. Anchor interview questions to the list of competencies for the position. Questions relating to organizational competencies will be relevant for every position, and can form the basis of an interview script for interviews across the company, regardless of the particular position.
While position-specific competencies need to be developed for each role, organizational competencies will be consistent across all roles in a company.
Begin by identifying the norms and behaviors that are expected across the company. Is the management style hierarchical or are decisions taken by consensus? Are employees encouraged to take risks or avoid them? What is the pace of work? Is the work environment traditional or more unconventional? How collegial are employees?
The answers to these questions will tell you which type of people will “fit” in your company. The skills necessary to be successful within the company culture need to be included in your job description to ensure candidates have the organizational competencies required to fit into the company culture.
Many of these organizational competencies will relate to the company’s brand and values. If your organization has codified its brand, values, and culture, refer to these as a starting point to help you identify your organizational competencies.
To identify position specific competencies, think about what is required to complete the duties of the job.
Skills. Hard and soft skills such as technical skills, interpersonal skills, accounting skills, writing ability, knowledge of specific statistic, scientific, or project management techniques, etc.
Knowledge/areas of expertise. Often the candidate’s field of study, such as administration, nursing, IT, accounting, history, etc.
Personal qualities and work style. What characteristics does a person need to have in the role? This can include qualities like being organized, analytical, creative, able to meet deadlines, etc.