imgAbout Competencies and Job Competency Models


faqWhat is a Competency?

A competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual, which can be shown to predict Superior or Effective performance in a job; and indicates a way of behaving or thinking, generalizing across situations, and enduring for a reasonably long period of time.

There are five types of characteristics:

  • Skills: e.g., active listening
  • Knowledge: e.g., electronics, conflict resolution methods
  • Self-Concept (attitude or value): e.g., team vs. personal achievement, occupational preference
  • Trait: e.g., stamina
  • Motive: e.g., achievement motivation

Motive, trait, and self-concept competencies predict skill behavior actions, which in turn predict job performance outcomes.


tickThe More Important the Job….


notesWhat are Job Competency Models?

A model is a group of related competencies that together describe successful performance for a particular job or role, in a particular organization.

Examples of Models. (PDFs)

notesJob Competency Profile and Virtual Resource Panel

This is an abridged competency model using a virtual resource panel and surveys to use when it is impractical to convene a standard resource panel of job incumbents, managers of job incumbents and other subject matter experts in one geographic location and at one time.

Data is collected and analyzed by a Workitect consultant who provides a summary and recommendations based on data about the job, obtained through a virtual resource/expert panel (VRP), i.e. an on-line, web-based survey containing open-ended questions and questions requiring ratings.


  • Improve an existing model
  • Build a model for a particular job or class of jobs that have similar tasks and competencies
  • Use when it is impractical to convene a standard resource panel of job incumbents, managers of job incumbents and other subject matter experts in one geographic location and at one time


  • Requires less time and cost to complete
  • Collect data from geographically dispersed participants
  • Apply the data to the development of a complete model

Sample report

Contact us for a full report with responses to questions in these categories:

  • Main Responsibilities 1, 2, & 3
  • Technical skills required for the Job
  • Trends that may affect the job
  • Importance ratings for generic competencies
  • Rators' ratings for generic competencies

Learn more

advantagesBenefits of a Competency-Based Approach

  • Results are tied to performance...not just opinion
  • Job-related...not theoretical
  • Characteristics are behaviorally specific...
so you can see and measure them
  • Identifies job requirements and success...
what success “looks like in action”

consultantsiconBottom Line

  • If you can identify and motivate/leverage the competencies which predict superior performance, you can
    • Select for these competencies, increasing the number of “stars” in the organization,
    • Teach and performance manage (coach) these competencies,
    • ...and have a good statistical chance of significantly improving bottom line performance.

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Portfolio – Examples of Models and Applications

 Models we have created for executive, project manager, branch manager, sales, IT, and retailing positions. Scaled ratings are an optional format. Examples of applications developed for selection, performance management, and training. 11 page PDF

Integrating HR & Talent Management Processes

 Describes competencies, how to develop competency models and how to create an integrated human resource system with applications for selection, succession planning, career pathing, performance management, and training. Also describes how competency modeling can be used as a tool to drive organizational change by determining the competencies that will be required by the organization to reach its strategic plan. 10 page guide.

What is a Competency?

 Implications for talent management and development, the Iceberg Model, example of a competency (Adaptability) Blog

Our Methodology

Our approach is based on the original job competence assessment (JCA) methodology* developed in the 1970's by Dr. David McClelland, a pioneer in competency research and testing, and consultants at Hay/McBer and Company.

*Reference: Competence At Work by Lyle and Signe Spencer (1993 – John Wiley & Sons), a comprehensive guide and reference book, with examples and illustrations backed by rigorous research.


Client Testimonials

“The Building Competency Models workshop was a great introduction to competency models, how to design and how to deploy them in your organization. The facilitations helped me tie in our actual situations and utilized case studies to make the concept real.” Amanda Cole, Training and Development Manager, Wesco International

“Very different way to look at competencies than we have used traditionally. Refreshing & Challenging!” Steve Hastings, Training Manager, National Park Service

“Competency modeling is an essential process for all organizations. After completing this workshop, I feel well equipped with the knowledge and skills to help communicate, develop, and implement competency models for our organization.” Latsamy Visetsin, OD&L/HR Manager, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

More Testimonials