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What Is a Job Competency?

Competencies are the key skills and abilities that a job requires to do its work. They’re one of the most important components of any job description, yet many organizations only use them as part of their interview process. Let’s explore what competency-based interviewing is, why it’s so powerful for hiring great people, and how you can incorporate this strategy into your own recruiting efforts.

What Are Job Competencies?

A job competence is the key skills, abilities, and traits that a job requires to do its work. The concept of job competencies was introduced by psychologist Robert J. Hoshall in the 1960s. He defined them as “the knowledge, abilities, and personality characteristics required for successful performance” on the job.

A competency is the ability with which a candidate can properly demonstrate a certain range of skills or behavioral traits. Competencies are often used to model behavioral traits and determine a candidate’s ability to meet the demands of a given role or environment.

Other types of competencies can include technical, managerial, and functional. Each of these competency types offers more granular evaluation standards for qualifying talent.

What Is the Goal of Job Competencies?

The main goal of competency-based interviewing is to evaluate how well potential employees match their desired traits with their own organization’s needs.

Competency-based interviews are a great way to get a better understanding of how well a candidate will fit into your organization. The interview process should be a two-way street, with both parties discussing what they’re looking for and what the company can offer them. It’s important that both sides feel comfortable asking questions during this time so that everyone is on the same page going forward.

The main goal of competency-based interviewing is to evaluate how well potential employees match their desired traits with your own organization’s needs

How Job Competencies Fit Into Job Descriptions

To be effective, your job descriptions should be clear and concise. It’s important to ensure that all of the necessary competencies — i.e., the skills, abilities, and traits — are listed in your job descriptions accurately reflect what’s needed for each role.

Be specific about the required competencies of each position by listing them first in bullet points or paragraphs. This will help applicants understand what they need to bring to the table before applying for your roles.

Use action verbs when describing these requirements so as not to make them seem like an exhaustive list of tasks that must be done every day without fail (for example: “must have excellent problem-solving skills” vs “should be able to solve problems”).

Company-wide Versus Role-specific Competencies

A company-wide competency is a trait required to be successful at every job in your company.

A role-specific competency is something specific to one role within an organization or department, like being able to manage projects effectively or collaborate with other employees effectively.

During the hiring process, great candidates will have both company-wide and role-specific competencies.

Knowing what you need in a candidate helps you build a strong employer brand that attracts great talent and maintains a positive image of your company in the minds of potential employees and customers.

Align Your Organization’s Needs With Your Competencies

The most important thing to remember is that job competencies are not a one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to use them is by aligning your own organization’s needs with those of your candidates. By understanding what skills are most important for each role, you can better attract the right talent.