Competency-based interviews are the most used selection method across all sectors, and competency frameworks are now often seen as an essential way to achieve high organisational performance through individual capability and potential.

Competency frameworks originally measured the behaviours or ‘soft skills’ employers want but have evolved to include technical skills. All skills and behaviours included should have the capacity to be measured, and CIPD recommends that no more than 12 elements – preferably fewer – should be included for any role, and that an explanation and example(s) of each should be included.

The amount of detail included is important: if requirements are too general, they risk becoming meaningless and, arguably, not measurable; if they are too detailed, they become excessively bureaucratic and as a result may lose credibility. 

Increasingly, competency frameworks look at employees’ strengths and matches those strengths to types of work to enhance individual performance. It is also possible to create competency frameworks around organisational values to ensure you recruit people who match an organisation’s culture.

According to the CIPD, the top competencies are:

  • communication skills
  • people management skills
  • team skills
  • customer service skills
  • results-orientation
  • problem-solving skills.

It is important to ensure that required competencies do not breach the Equality Act and that organisations do not solely look at what an employee has achieved in the past, but also at what they are capable of achieving in the future. 

Competency frameworks should be regularly reviewed so they keep pace with organisational needs.