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Column #2: What type of Competencies are being used for selection and development?

Research & Papers

Column #2: What type of Competencies are being used for selection and development?

The second article in this series focusses on what the most used competencies are.

By Jair Shankar, MSc

This is the year of research, where compelling ideas and insights are shared with all! Having conducted multiple research analyses for clients, I thought it was time that we, at HFMtalentindex, shared the information and insights gained through these research requests with the HR community. The idea is to focus on a specific topic, whereby an article is written and which is followed with an interview of a person working within the HR work field. This is meant to infuse hard data with a more human touch! The article mainly focuses on the research elements and what the results mean, which is followed by an interview, which can place these results in a more relevant real life context.


The second article in this series focusses on what the most used competencies are. Competencies are combined to create a profile, which an individual is assessed on. These profiles are used for two main purposes. The first is selection, where the assessor is able to hire the best person for the function based on their score on the profile. The second is for development, where the candidate gets a score on their potential for the function and where their strengths and weaknesses are based on feedback from those they work with.

The goal of this article is not to only state what the most used competencies are for both selection and development, but to use our in house psychologist’s expertise to evaluate what is being seen. The analysis was also taken a step further, by categorising profiles into themes and investigating what the differences are between selection and development. For instance, looking at leadership profiles, financial sector profiles, or IT/Technical profiles.

For this introductory article, the results will only focus on the overall picture, which included profiles from all levels within a company and from all sectors. To give some perspective, there were a total of 2,051 unique profiles that were used for selection, with 552 unique development profiles.


Table 1 most used competencies

For the overall picture, the top six most used competencies for both selection and development are very similar. The most popular competencies are Result-Oriented, Cooperation, and Client Focus. Taking the analysis a step further, we looked into where selection and development deviated from each other. The goal was to look into where competencies were least likely to be used for one and where they were more likely to be used for the other.


Table 2 Differences - overall picture

For instance, when it comes to selection, in a third of all profiles, Accuracy is used. However, for development, this is rarely the case, with only one in ten profiles including Accuracy.

These results were shown to our in house expert and his interpretations of the results are as follows:

For both selection and development, the competencies that come up on top as most used are broad in nature and are not function specific. They are skills that every function requires to some degree. However, when it comes to development, there are two competencies that reflect the candidates ability to influence others in the top six; i.e. Motivating and Persuasiveness. This could indicate that development might be frequently used on candidates who are on a managerial track. This is corroborated by the competencies seen in table 2, with Delegating, Providing Feedback, and Teambuilding.

As mentioned, the main article included analysis that looked into specific themes. The article categorised the unique profiles into six distinct groups: Leadership profiles, Senior Management/Director profiles, Middle Management profiles, Commercial sector profiles, Financial sector profiles, and IT/Technical profiles.

For more information about those groups, download the complete article as pdf.

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