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Check List to Determine Employee Competency

by Grace Ferguson, studioD

A competency checklist helps you measure an employee’s abilities against what the position needs. Human resources employees use checklists to develop requirements for relevant positions and examine applicants’ and employees’ abilities. Managers and supervisors use checklists to gauge whether subordinates are properly fulfilling their roles. The number of competencies the checklist contains varies by company. The list typically addresses work ethic and technical, problem solving and interpersonal skills.

General Competency

To test general competence, your headings may include business acumen, mental or cognitive abilities, work ethic, interaction with others and emotional stability. Assign each competency its own heading then write the criteria that apply to it. For instance, under business acumen, look at the employee’s flexibility during change, her level of production and attempts to improve efficiency. Under cognitive abilities, examine her ability to process and apply information and to grasp new concepts quickly. For emotional stability, look at her ability to deal with stressful situations and her reactions to them. For interactions with others, observe how well she works with others and her ability to communicate with them effectively. Under work ethics, examine how well she treats her co-workers, how she projects herself to clients and her reliability and integrity.

Technical Abilities

Your technical abilities section should state the practical requirements of the job. If the employee must use mechanical equipment, address how the machine should be used. You might write: “inspects power equipment for faulty or threadbare parts and cleans the equipment with power wash chemicals to regulate infection.” List the standards for each machine separately. Certain jobs, such as in the manufacturing, shipping and medical industries, need a high level of technical skills. Others require limited technical abilities, such as basic knowledge of computers and office equipment.

Administrative Skills

This competency heading might address organizational abilities, leadership expertise and level of involvement with the company. Under organizational skills, look at how well the employee manages his time and sets goals. For leadership expertise, examine his ability to manage his team and the amount of esteem he gains as a manager, supervisor or team leader. For level of involvement, note his job title, how much authority he has and whether he successfully completed seminars and trainings.


Compose a separate checklist for each type of competency and list the criteria as line items. Draw columns so you may check off the respective line items when doing competency exams. Columns may include date, employee name, supervisor name, criteria met, criteria not met and comments. The key to writing an effective checklist is to identify all the parameters needed to perform the job successfully. Write them down. Then assess whether the employee has met them. Some jobs, especially those requiring a high level of technical ability, require that you go through the checklist with the employee. In this case, create lines for both of you to sign and give her a copy. Update the checklist as the job requirements change.

About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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