To determine if an individual is the right candidate for a particular job, employers need to look deeper than just experience, knowledge, skills, and qualifications. A competency assessment, which assesses knowledge, skills, and behaviors and how these affect work performance, can provide a more complete picture of the potential employee.

Although testing is effective to verify knowledge and should not be overlooked, it does not guarantee that the individual is able to do something or at what level he or she can perform.

Looking at underlying characteristics—such as personal attributes and traits that enable an individual to deliver superior performance in a given job, role, or situation—gives a much clearer understanding of how well an individual is able to do his or her job.

Key Components of Competency

The key component of competency include:

  • Skills: gained through practice and training
  • Knowledge: a level of understanding acquired over time through learning
  • Personal attributes: inherent characteristics of the individual
  • Behavior: observable demonstration of some competency, skill, knowledge, and personal attributes attributed to excellent performance

The aim of a competency assessment is to define and describe behaviors that display excellent performance in a particular work context.

Competency Assessment Criteria

Obviously, the criteria to be assessed differs depending on the type of work. Organizations should establish their own criteria around what warrants acceptable performance based on factors such as the level of performance desired, job title, process type, complexity, and risky operations.

Competency assessments can be a one-off occurrence or be ongoing to determine if competency is maintained—again depending on the field of work.

By clearly defining and identifying the competencies required for a particular role, organizations can ensure that they recruit the right people for the right jobs. Making a competency assessment a key part of the recruitment process ensures that all employees within an organization have the abilities required to perform at their maximum potential every day.