How to Use Competencies

Let’s take this back where it all started: several weeks ago we talked about how challenging hiring can be.  Especially for small businesses: it is a high risk endeavor, which consumes a great deal of time and raises more uncertainties that it does answers.

Problems arise early in the process, though they sometimes only become apparent once interviewing begins. It is difficult to ensure everybody involved is looking for the same job-candidate fit. And by everybody I mean both those on the hiring side – including bosses, colleagues, HR reps, managers – as well as the candidates themselves.

Using competencies in your hiring strategy will also bridge this gap, and do it early on. That is a perk of this method.

Writing your job spec

There are certain key elements that you must include in your spec, in one form or another.

  1. The job title
  2. The job responsibilities and tasks
  3. The competencies (we now know this belongs here as well)
  4. Your company description
  5. Relationships and reporting structure
  6. Salary and benefits

(and rest assured: at a future date we will take a closer look at the job spec itself) 

I advise getting input from all stakeholders, certainly from anyone who will have a say in the hiring decision.

And you will note: I have competencies listed in there. These can be in a simple bullet list, alongside other particular skills or abilities you require.

Competencies are more than a list item

We have covered how competencies incorporate your company culture as well as skills and personalities. This is one area where you can make that matter.

Keep your list of required competencies handy, and as you read through your spec, edit it to ensure the needed competencies shine through from top to bottom.

Select your wording to reflect the competencies expected. And ensure you don’t contradict yourself. For example do not stress the need for collaboration, and then describe a company of isolated or silo-ed workers.

This is proof to yourself and proof to your applicants that you practice what you preach.


Are you hiring in the next few quarters? Are you concerned about the elements in your job spec? Contact me to discuss how I can get you and your team ready for a successful hire