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In today’s competitive marketplace, companies in need of keeping high performers and finding qualified candidates need to also ensure both employees and job candidates exhibit the competencies, or soft skills, needed to fit the company culture.

Deciding the competencies you want candidates to exhibit is not always easy. Careful thought needs to go into the behaviors you feel will drive business results.  A person in a management position most likely will need to exhibit certain competencies that may not be as critical for an individual contributor.

Developing job-specific competencies can be quite time consuming.  Perhaps first developing a list of core competencies, those which need to be demonstrated by all employees, is a good starting point.  From there, developing job-specific competencies will be a more manageable endeavor.

When rolling out core competencies, consider the development of training aids which will help identify the type of behaviors that show a mastery of a particular competency. Meeting with each employee at least twice a year to review their performance, including their demonstration of the core competencies, is very important.

Some of the more widely used core competencies are teamwork, communication and critical thinking.

For those employees who struggle to satisfactorily exhibit core competencies, one-on-one coaching, training or mentoring may be possible remedies. But in the end, those employees who cannot effectively demonstrate the core competencies need to be exited from the organization.

When reviewing an employee’s performance, don’t focus only on results, as some of the best performers I know have had poor relationships with co-workers, have not exhibited satisfactorily the company’s core competencies, and have, overall negatively impacted overall company revenue.

In the interview process, assessing how well a job candidate might have mastered a core competency can be very challenging. Just sitting down with a candidate and having a cordial conversation is not nearly enough. Open-ended questions geared toward assessing a candidate’s experience in demonstrating core competencies is critical. This is important for everyone hired, even someone in the mailroom.

It can’t be understated the importance of proper interviewing techniques. Not hiring the right candidate can hurt morale, damage your brand and, ultimately, cost your business a lot of money.

Contact Marzano Human Resources Consulting for help. We have worked with companies in developing core competencies, providing company-specific performance appraisals, developing core competency training, providing behavioral based interview questions and conducting interview training.




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