Our Competency Model

Recognizing and building upon the contributions of numerous organizations and associations that have published competency models, we developed a simplified model that is comprehensive and incorporates key distinctions that are necessary to thoroughly define job requirements.

Competencies are measurable work capabilities and personal skills used to achieve work objectives. Competencies are sometimes expressed as knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). They are units of capability that enable an individual to do the work well. Competencies give us a modular approach to building human capability.

Occupational competencies:

  • Occupational competencies comprise the knowledge, skills and abilities that are either specific to a particular job (welder, nurse, lawyer) or to a broader industry (safety requirements or regulatory requirements).
  • Credentials are generally associated with occupational competencies, and the most thorough credentialing organizations engage industrial psychologists to perform a practice analysis and provide detailed occupational competency information. This information is then used as the basis for curriculum, accreditation, assessment, credentialing, and continuing education.

Foundational competencies:

  • Foundational competencies describe the cognitive, character and physical skills and abilities required for a particular job or job family. Cognitive and character competencies are sometimes less clearly referred to as “soft skills” or “professional” skills.
  • Employment tests are generally based on foundational competencies because they are very good predictors of job performance.

Linking Occupational and Foundational competencies:

  • Foundational competencies are linked to occupational competencies via job analysis. This linking defines and documents the degree to which each foundational competency is related to performance of the job.
  • Since employers reasonably expect credentials and employment tests to be predictive of job performance, validation is now and will become increasingly crucial to successful sourcing and hiring strategies. 

Linking occupational and foundational competencies is a major shortcoming that our work seeks to address so that employers hire the right people.