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What Are Work Based Competencies?

by Neil Kokemuller

Work-based competencies, commonly referred to as job competencies, refer to the core skills, abilities and behaviors that contribute to high performance in a given position in an organization. Companies often include competencies in job descriptions for use in hiring, training, evaluating and promoting employees. Understanding work competencies helps supervisors, job seekers and current employees.

Basics

Work competencies include technical skills and abilities, personal qualities, specific experiences, attitudes and behaviors. In a thorough job description, the specific competencies needed for the position are listed along with the common responsibilities. This aids hiring managers in preparing interview questions and in evaluating candidates. When companies include specific competency requirements in a job posting, it also aids job seekers in deciding whether to apply for a given position.

Examples

Some competencies have universal appeal and apply to many jobs. Written and verbal communication skills, interpersonal skills, organization, strong work ethic and excellent character are among common skills and qualities included in competency lists. More technical competencies usually apply to a specific position. A welding job normally requires welding certification, as well as physical abilities to use equipment and complete welding jobs. A dental hygienist must have excellent people skills as well as a degree and state licensing.

Hiring and Promotion Application

In the hiring process, job listings with required competencies allow job-seekers to self-screen. If you look at a help-wanted ad and realize you don't have the necessary education or skills for a position, you will likely save your time and energy for other jobs. Hiring managers assess your competencies to decide whether you can perform job duties in applications and interviews. Additionally, if you already work for an employer, job competencies of other positions you want can help you prepare yourself for a promotion. A retail store manager wanting a job at company headquarters might look up job descriptions and competencies on the company website to discover areas for improvement or growth.

Training and Evaluation Application

Companies that offer formal training programs often focus on assessing and improving employee competencies. Employees often collaborate with managers to formulate training and development objectives. This provides the basis for ongoing training and coaching. Supervisors also assess work competencies along with work performance during evaluations. When employees don't cut it on necessary competencies, they may need additional training or face the possibility of demotion, job transfer or termination.

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