Job Competencies

Understanding Job-Competency Modeling

What is a Competency?
A competency is an integration of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, attitudes, and personal characteristics that allow an individual to perform successfully on the job.

The implication of the Iceberg Model is that the lower levels of the pyramid drive the higher levels, implying that the traditional knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are merely a tip of the iceberg in assessing and predicting an individual’s potential for successful performance.

What are Competency Proficiency Levels?
A continuum of proficiency (mastery) exists for every competency. In order to determine the required level of competency proficiency required for any on give job and properly measure one’s proficiency with respect to the competencies required for successful job performance, it is imperative to operationally define the proficiency levels in accordance with the standards set forth in the Uniform Selection Guidelines (1974).

What is a Job-Competency Model?
A job-competency profile is set of competencies generally ranging from 5 to 15 that have been identified by job incumbents and those that supervise the positions to be essential for effective performance on the job in question.

Competency-Based HR Management
Creating job competency profiles provides the organization and its employees with numerous benefits. In order to achieve optimal organizational results, an organization must strive to develop an integrated human resource management system. To do so, competency models serve as a foundation for human resource management functions including recruitment, selection, and performance management, training, and securing highly productive workforce overtime.

Job descriptions are a basic tool in communicating to organizational members the specific duties, responsibilities, and competencies that are required for successful performance on the job both at job-entry and at full-performance level. By being a complete description including competencies, the job description is a more useful tool for communicating job duties to candidates, serving as a tangible guidepost for employees by providing greater role clarity and a well defined level of performance expectation based on competency proficiency levels made visible on the job description.

Using competencies in recruitment can be as simple as including a list and a brief description of the required competencies in the job posting, providing important information to the candidates both in terms of what the organization expects of its employees and for candidates to self-select for jobs that match their set of competencies based on self-assessment.

Selection & Testing
It is important to ensure that those selected for a job meet not just the minimum technical requirements, but also have the essential "soft skills" (e.g. relationship building, teamwork, communication, etc...) that are vital to sustain successful performance on the job overtime. Creating a competency-based interview question bank and developing competency-based validated selection measures will enable an organization to better predict the success of job candidates on the job.

Training & Development
A conceptualization of a competency is that it is observable, measurable, and can be learned to achieve desired performance levels. Hence, an assessment and evaluation of competency proficiency levels either during a selection interview or as part of performance management process can be used to identify appropriate developmental training opportunities necessary to achieve desired competency proficiency levels.

Career & Workforce Planning
Job Competency Profiles are also critical in the workforce planning initiatives for those organizations that anticipate future vacancies and can subsequently strategically identify and train individuals that can successfully fill the vacancies without a noticeable disturbance in the organization's functioning. Also, on the individual level, such profiles can be used to develop career paths by making known the competency requirements and expectations for different positions in the organizational hierarchy.