What are Competencies?

What are Competencies?

Competencies are particular qualities that a company's recruiters have decided are desirable for employees to possess. During interviews and assessment processes, competencies are used as benchmarks that assessors use to evaluate candidates.


Where did Competencies come from?

Since the early 1970s, employers have been using competencies to help recruit and manage their employees, after psychologists found that traditional tests such as academic aptitude and knowledge based tests, did not accurately predict employment success.

In subsequent years, competency frameworks have become an increasingly accepted part of recruitment and contemporary HR practice, and now form part of most graduate employer's assessment procedures.


The growing use of Competencies

In 2007, a survey by the CIPD revealed that 60% of employers had a competency framework in place for their organisation. Of those who did not, almost half intended to introduce one in the near future. Competencies appear to be an increasingly important part of HR practice and recruitment, and consequently something that graduate job applicants should be increasingly aware of.


The use of Competencies

Modern employers generally view competency frameworks as an essential vehicle for:

  • Measuring a candidate's potential future effectiveness at interview.
  • Reviewing an employee's capability, potential and performance.

Different types of Competency

Competencies usually fall into two categories:

  • Behavioural Competencies, which are usually an expression of the softer skills involved in an employee's effective performance at a company.

  • Technical Competencies, which are usually concerned with effective use of IT systems and computers, or any technical skills which are necessary for a job role.


Competency Frameworks

Employer's competency frameworks usually contain no more than 12 competencies. The most widely used competencies by employers are:


Further Information