Competency Based Recruitment and Selection

Category: Motivation, Recruitment
Last Updated: 03 Aug 2021
Pages: 9 Views: 516
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Competency for any job can be defined as a set of human attributes that enables an employee to meet the expectations of his internal and external customers and stake holders. We have generally observed that only hard work, knowledge, sincerity towards work, and intelligence does not alone makes a person star performer in his/her profession. There are many other factors that actually help an individual practically in achieving success in performing job.

For example we have observed that during our school or college days a star student who scores maximum marks in exam may or may not be a good leader. Similarly to this a good batsman may or may not be a good bowler in the game of cricket. The only reason behind this to be a leader requires different set of competencies and to be a good bowler requires a different set of competencies than for a good batsman. That’s why human qualities and attributes which makes a person suitable for his/her job defines competency for that particular job.

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A competent manager is always aware about different competencies that a person requires to perform the job effectively and efficiently. And on the basis of their knowledge about this they select and train their subordinates for that job. There are many factors such are Social culture, work environment, nature of business, Organizational structure, responsibilities, nature of process and assigned activities, attitude and motives of management affects competency require for particular job.

Competency based recruitment and selection focuses on identifying those candidates that can evidence those behaviourally defined characteristics which underpin desired performance in the role you are seeking.

Competency-based Human Resource Management

A general objective behind hiring a candidate to perform a particular job is to get that job done effectively and efficiently. In short all organizations strive to achieve excellence in whatever business they are.

To achieve this goal it is very essential that the entire jobs are performed efficiently and effectively by all the employees. To achieve excellence in performing any job by an employee it is important that an employee should be competent to perform that job. Competency-based Human Resource Management helps any organization in achieving in objective. Competency based human resource management is promising as best approach in developing and preserving competent human resources.

Competency based approaches to human resource management have been developed since psychologist David McClelland’s research on competency concept. He is credited with launching the competency movement through the publication of his paper titled “Testing for competencies rather than intelligence”, in which he suggested that academic aptitude and knowledge content tests alone cannot predict a high level of performance, but personal qualities, motives, experience and behavioural characteristics can distinguish most successful from less successful individuals

Meaning of Competencies

The Treasury Board of Canada has defined “competencies” as the knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviours that an employee applies in performing his/her work and that are the key employee-related levers for achieving results that are relevant to the organization/s business strategies. Competency may be defined as: “The behaviourally defined characteristics which strengthen effective and superior performance”. It’s all about how the person should behave in order to achieve the objectives.

According to Schroder competencies are personal effective skills which vary from more basic specialized functional skills to the generic, person based higher level competencies. Competencies allow focus process-“How things are done? ” not simply on outcomes.

Classification of competencies

Core Competencies

The Core competencies include those key competencies that all employees in the organization must possess to achieve its mandate and vision. These competencies describe in behavioural terms the key values of the organization and represent those competencies that are core to the organization’s principal mandate.

Career Stream Competencies

The Career Stream competencies are those behavioural competencies that are common to the all jobs in the stream, and combined with the organization-wide (core) competencies, make up the suite of behavioural competencies necessary for success in the Stream.

Technical / Professional Competencies

The technical/professional competencies tend to be specific to occupational areas, roles and / or jobs within the Career Stream, and include the specific skills and knowledge (know-how) to perform effectively within the jobs of the Stream (e. . ability to use particular software; knowledge in particular professional areas such as finance, biochemistry; etc. ). These competencies could be generic to the Career Stream as whole, or be specific to roles, levels or jobs within the group. These are the competencies some one must demonstrate to be effective in his job/role, task or duty. Thus these competencies are job or role specific and vary from job to job. A competency model can be used to develop specific job related competencies and come out with a competency dictionary.

These competencies are organization specific as roles and responsibilities may vary from organization to organization even though the job title may be the same. Generally HR department of organizations is focused on developing professional competencies and evaluating the same during recruitment and selection process. This classification of different types competencies in not all inclusive it’s an open field of research. In addition to this, competencies can be classified as Personal competencies also.

Personal competency includes the various behavioral competencies apart from the knowledge and skill level of an individual. It includes personal attributes like level of motivation, adaptability, developing oneself etc. It also includes interpersonal skills like relationship building, communication ability, openness towards change, cultural awareness etc. In addition to this we can define people management competencies like Leadership, Directing, team building capacity, capacity to work with a team, counseling people, providing motivation, knowledge transformation.

A Competency model

A “competency profile” or “competency model” is defined as a set of competencies and includes associated behaviours that link directly to the work to be performance, and the levels of proficiency for each behaviour. Competency profiles can cover a group of positions / jobs within an organization. I have developed following process to develop a competency model that can be used for the purpose of delivering competency based recruitment and selection in a desired way.

A Competency model is the basic tool or competency based recruitment and selection. A Competency model tries to explain what and all competencies are required to perform different jobs in an organization. A competency model also tries to prioritize the competencies for different jobs. It describes these competencies in the form of indicators, which can be quantified. Each competency can be quantified on a scale on the basis of its relative importance with respect to each job. This serves as a reference for all competency management activities in the organization.

Competency model is organization specific as each organization may have its own way of defining and quantifying competencies and competencies may be unique for each organization. Procedure to develop standard competencies:

  1. First step is to identify the competencies to perform different jobs. Main source to identify these competencies are job description and job specification. On the basis of that a specific competencies can be identified because these throws light on duties, responsibilities, tasks involved in the job. This will work out as basic list of competencies required within an organization.
  2. Now the next step is to find out critical competencies for all jobs, prioritizing them and to give more significance. These core competencies can be find out through discussion with immediate supervisors for the job position. They are more aware of the different competencies required for performing job efficiently. It also includes brainstorming sessions with managers.
  3. After finishing first two steps, the next is to develop the overall list of kinds of competencies required to perform a job. This includes both primary and secondary set of competencies. This can be further categorized job wise competencies also. With this step now we have a whole dictionary of competencies required.
  4. Once the dictionary of competency is ready, now the next step is to prioritize and rate or provide weightage to different competency on the basis of its importance for the particular job. This will help us in quantifying competencies.
  5. A model for developing standard competencies is now prepared. This can be used as a tool in competency based recruitment and selection by developing different tests to measure such competencies. Competencies are not static for any job. It is a very dynamic in nature.

As the time changes and environment becomes more complicated, competencies required to perform a job also changes. Competency based recruitment and selection: Recruitment can be defined as “The process of surveying all sources of personnel, inside and outside the organization, to locate and attract the best possible candidates for new or vacated positions”. One of the most important problems in any organization is developing an effective recruitment and selection process which can choose right candidate for a right job.

Many organizations have already experienced the cost of selecting a candidate who is not competent for performing job although he is qualified and knowledgeable person. Competency based approach for recruitment and selection calls for more meaningful competency based job descriptions, more appropriate job advertisements, better screening process, Specific competency based written tests like psychometric tests, Specific behaviorally based interviews popularly known as behavioral event interviews, tailored reference checks based on desired competencies of specific role.

With the help of competency based recruitment and selection process it is possible to improve efficiency of the job getting done in the right way, which leads to achievement of desired results. Following diagram explains the process of recruitment and selection based on competency.

Identifying Recruitment Strategy Team

Form a workgroup whose primary objective will be to develop a gap-closing recruitment plan for the company. The team should include:

  • Key Human Resources personnel.
  • Staff who have knowledge and responsibility for day-to-day operations.

Other work units as appropriate given your agency’s size and organizational structure. Bringing together a Recruitment Strategy Team from different parts of the company offers a number of advantages:

  • Team members may have a variety of networking contacts.
  • Team members may bring new perspectives that result in creative ideas that surface through brainstorming.
  • Teams members may become more invested in the recruitment process and support/encourage involvement of their respective organizational units.
  • Preparation of competency dictionary: Dictionary for competency can be developed with the help of competency model discussed earlier.
  • Defining competency based job profiles: Jobs can be better described in terms of the competencies needed for performing the various activities demanded by the job. The competency based approach defines jobs in terms competencies and this more flexible as rigid descriptions used in traditional job descriptions resulted in employees performing strictly defined tasks. Recruitment and selection methods will have to be based on competency based job profiles.
  • Role analysis can be a better means of developing competency based job profiles. Role descriptions are more effective in identifying job related competencies and thus developing competency profiles. The competency based qualification standards can be based on whole person competency based approach, and characterized by more assessment options and easy to quantify and hence evaluate.
  • Recruitment Advertisement: A good advertisement is one which can convey the candidates the exact needs of the organization in terms of the basic job related competencies which are necessary for performing the job competently.

The exact competencies for each job are available in the competency dictionary and this can be used for advertising purpose to tell possible candidates what knowledge, skills, and attributes they must possess to be able to apply for the job. Competency Tests: Psychometric tests are psychological tests which can provide useful information about a wide range of competencies of an individual like abilities, aptitudes, values and skills, and can function as a scientific aid in selection. These tests are based on person-job fit concept.

Psychometric tests are used for several applications like selection, promotion, transfer, placement, and potential appraisal. Different types of psychometric tests can be used are: Personality tests, Occupational interest, Ability test, Value system test, etc.

Competency Interviews

A Competency Based Interview is a structured series of questions aimed at eliciting evidence of a candidate's behavioural fit against specific job-related competencies. In competency based interviews, behavioral focused interviews are used.

In behavioral focused interview, the underlying philosophy is that the past behavior is the best predictor of future performance. These types of interviews are generally characterized by questions that relate to specific behaviours which have been found to be linked to successful/superior performance on the job. Candidates are not asked to describe how they would respond in a particular situation or event - that is, they are not asked for hypothetical thinking and responses. But they are asked to describe what they have done, what behaviours they have used, in a certain situation or event which has occurred in the past.

Interviewers halting the candidate's response to a question once they have heard sufficient evidence of the candidate's competency. A Competency Based interview process will allow for evidence based information which can then be verified with a candidate's referees. Competency Reference checks: Competency based reference checks the competencies that a candidate has actually exhibited in the past. The information can be obtained from the previous employers or the educational institutions from where the candidates have passed out.

Reference checks can be designed in the form of a questionnaire which can be used to obtain information about the candidate’s previous performance levels or capacity to exhibit competencies when needed. Selection of the candidate & Training and Development Plans: On the basis of the reference checks and other competency testing we can now select the right person for the right job. Once the candidate is selected further plans for training can be prepared on the basis of the competencies required for meeting future changes in doing the job. Conclusion:

From our discussion it is clear that competency based recruitment and selection can be more effective in selecting right candidate for the right job to enhance organizational efficiency. Thus organization’s need to develop a competency model which can be used as standard yard stick for implementing competency based recruitment and selection. This can not only reduce the cost of hiring the people but also enhance productivity significantly by building human resources as per the exact needs of the organization in complex business environment.

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Competency Based Recruitment and Selection. (2018, Mar 01). Retrieved from

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