Competency Recruitment

How to Use Competency Models for Recruiting

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Many recruiters and hiring managers bemoan the state of job descriptions. Writing them often falls to HR managers and business partners who are not provided with the criteria for hiring good people.

Competency models enable better recruiting to take place. They provide necessary information for job descriptions and can be used for initial resume culling. But once you get into the interviewing stage of recruiting, competency models create better conversations.


For example, without a competency model, a hiring manager may ask, “Give me an example of why you think you have the skills for this job.” With a competency model, a hiring manager can ask, “Give me an example of how you facilitate career development in your team.” The hiring manager can also use the model’s description of what that skill looks like at various levels of proficiency, along with what the required level of proficiency is for that skill.

The hiring manager, therefore, can identify what skill gaps exist among the candidates being interviewed, compare them, and determine the risk, training, and duration required to close them. She can be on the lookout for specific phrases and advanced behaviors that demonstrate they are, or can become, high performers. Without having a competency model, much of the hiring manager’s assessment of candidates is based on instinct and without structure, and tough questions about real skills and experience may go unanswered.

If you want to hire the right people who have the potential to be successful contributors to your organization, and who seek to remain with you, incorporate competency models into your recruiting process.

About the Author

Cheryl Lasse is SkillDirector’s managing partner. Her goal is helping people and companies achieve their potential. Cheryl has extensive experience with competency model development and implementation, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with others. Check out the LinkedIn group Competency Models For Professional Development.

She believes people are intrinsically motivated to excel, if they are given access to a competency model for their role, the opportunity to assess themselves against that model, and personalized learning to help them close gaps and meet aspirational goals. This philosophy has been embodied in the Self-Directed Learning Engine, the engine behind the ATD Skill Tracker.

Cheryl has a strong background in consulting, marketing, and sales, mostly in technology companies, where training has played a chief role throughout her career. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University in computer science and HR, and an MBA from the University of South Florida.

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