The definition and measurement of job competencies has become widely accepted as a way to inform hiring and development decisions.

What are job competencies?

Job competencies are sets of defined behaviours that, when measured, indicate how well an individual will perform in their role. They can be used to measure performance as well as to develop, recruit and select employees. Job competencies are different from skills: a skill is something a person must learn in order to be able to carry out a specific function; a competency may incorporate a skill, but it also includes abilities, behaviours and knowledge fundamental to using the skill.

We’ve combined empirical research evidence with many years’ experience in the field to develop a comprehensive framework of 20 job competencies. This framework includes the full range of commonly-used competencies, written in straightforward business language, making it easy for managers and HR professionals to use.

How to choose job competencies

  • Don’t select too many: aim to identify the 6-8 competencies necessary to do the job well
  • Use a card sort tool such as the 16pf Job Profiling Kit to narrow down the job competencies essential for the role
  • Determine how well individuals meet your chosen job competencies with the 16pf Competency Report

Representative Competency Models

Using our own research and a range of independent sources, we’ve identified job competencies that are commonly demonstrated in a range of professions. These Representative Competency Models provide an indication of those competencies that predict performance in a range of key roles.

Of course, any role you are selecting for may not be exactly like those in our research (for example, there are many different kinds of nurse), so we always advise people to carefully consider their specific job role and organisational context when designing a competency model. Where there is past research to guide you, consider this alongside local knowledge. And wherever possible, collect your own data.

Need help with your competency model?

If you need support creating a competency model for your organisation, our expert psychologists can help. We regularly work with clients to help develop competency frameworks and to tailor 16pf reports to meet specific business needs. Contact us to find out more.