How to create a competency-based job profile for job descriptions

August 8, 2016 Mirette Sedarous

Competencies are the building blocks for competency-based talent management, but to truly maximize their effectiveness, they need to be the core piece of a competency-based job description (sometimes called a job profile).

Competency-based job profiles define success for specific jobs in your organization, and they are the foundation for every competency-based HR initiative, including selection, assessment, and development.

Whether your organization wants to improve the interviewing process, conduct competency-based assessments, strengthen the leadership level, or support employee development, it all begins with the competency profile attached to your job description. 

What is a competency-based job description?

A competency-based job description incorporates competencies into the job description, allowing the description to serve as a central piece for your interviewing, development and retention processes.

If you are just getting started with competencies, the process of developing competency-based profiles can seem intimidating, but in fact, there are a range of options for putting job profiles in place that fit any budget, timeline, and experience level.  Below are some tips for considering how to develop your competency profiles.

Customization or convenience?

There is no single best way to develop competency-based job profiles. Depending on your organization’s unique business model, objectives, and priorities, you may choose to develop competencies from scratch, use a competency dictionary, or, best of all, use job descriptions with competency profiles already mapped.

Customized competencies. If your organization is heavily regulated, highly technical, or unique in other ways, you may need to develop competencies with the help of a competency specialist. It will require a bigger investment of time and money, but you’ll end up with competencies that reflect your organizational culture, regulatory environment, and business requirements perfectly.

For example, an organization with a mandate to improve diversity in the workplace may choose to work with a competency and diversity expert to develop competency content that is fair and inclusive, or an organization operating in a unionized environment may decide to develop original competency content in consultation with union representatives.

Off-the-shelf competencies. If you operate in a fairly standard industry—accounting, IT, retail, or marketing, for example—you may want to save time and money by purchasing a competency dictionary. The competencies are developed and validated by IO psychologists and competency experts at a fraction of the cost of customized content.

Using competency management software is the simplest way to ensure a consistent structure and logic across all jobs in the organization, which improves defensibility and supports processes such as career development and succession planning, where being able to see how employee competencies fit into other jobs in the organization is essential.  Building a competency architecture can be undertaken with the help of a competency consultant or as a self-guided exercise.

Pre-configured job descriptions. If you’re looking for the quickest way to implement profiles that reflect best practices in competency-based talent management, pre-configured competency profiles (as part of a competency-based job description) are your best option. 

HRSG’s job profiles include a list of the competencies required for the job and specify the proficiency levels at which the successful candidate will be able to perform. Profile content has already been architected and validated by subject-matter experts and reviewed by IO psychologists to ensure the profiles are defensible and adhere to HR best practices, so your organization can feel confident using them out of the box, with no additional adjustments required.

Learn how Adaptavist saved hundreds of hours on their competency profiling:

Download the Case Study using the form below.



Post last updated: June 20, 2019.

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