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Competency Based Methodology - Recruitment and Selection


Traditionally recruitment and selection is based on the formal qualifications and previous job experience (expressed in years service) of an applicant. Psychological tests were one of the most important evaluation tools which formed the basis for employment decisions. Whether the applicant is competent to do the work required, has never been tested, as the traditional profiles never identified what capabilities are required to perform the work. The Competency Based Methodology primarily focus on the competence of people. It identifies the capabilities required for performing specific tasks. The current ways of testing new applicants and the role of psychological testing as basis for employment decisions are no longer able to address the need for employing competent people.


This requires that all recruitment and selection methods and tools will have to be adapted to support the CBM. The Competency Based Job Profile forms the basis from which all recruitment and selection actions will be done. As the profile identifies exactly what capabilities the new applicant must possess to be able to deliver the job outputs, recruitment and selection methods and tools will have to be adapted to be able to determine whether the applicant do have these capabilities.


The following diagram will be used to explain what information of the profile will be used for recruitment and selection and how the methods and tools should be adapted to be able to test new applicants according to the CBM:



The information highlighted in the diagram above will be used for recruitment and selection. The Job purpose, KPA’s and Major Tasks will be used for advertising purposes. It provide the core information of what the Job entails. This information will also be used during the interview with the new candidate. The Capabilities and capability levels will be used for advertising purposes to tell possible applicants what knowledge, skills and attributes they must posses to be able to apply for the job. All the selection methods, tests, etc. must be adapted to determine whether the new candidate have these capabilities or not.


The question that are usually asked is whether formal qualification i.e. degrees, diplomas, etc. are no longer going to be used for selection purposes. The answer is yes it will still be valid and will still be used but not as a requirement to apply for the job. It will rather be used as a tool during the selection process. Degrees, certificates, diploma’s, etc. only provides proof that the applicant’s knowledge is on a certain level regarding the subjects he has studied. This does not provide the proof that he will be able to apply this knowledge in the job he is applying for. (there are certain instances where this will provide proof of his skills i.e. a medical doctor will only get his degree once the practical application of his knowledge (skills) is on a certain level and he has completed his practical training.)


Testing of applicants will become more advanced and focused on testing whether the candidate possess the capabilities as required by the job. Ways for testing the various capabilities could be:


  1. Testing the knowledge:

    1.1 Certificates, diploma’s, degrees will provide proof that an applicant’s knowledge is at a certain level.
    1.2 Written tests regarding the subject
    1.3 Oral tests regarding the subject.
    1.4 Proof of courses/seminars/workshops attended.
  2. Testing the skills:

    2.1 Role Play.
    2.2 In certain careers the degree, diploma, certificate can be used to proof the level of skill regarding the subject under discussion.
    2.3 Practical tests where the candidate must apply his knowledge. (i.e. the writing of a program, do a presentation, etc.)
    2.4 Observation while the applicant must do a task.
  3. Testing of attributes:
    This is the most difficult to determine, but not impossible!
    3.1 Psychological tests.
    3.2 Interviews with previous employers or people that used to work with the candidate.
    3.3 Recommendation letters from other people or companies.


It is quite clear that traditional selection methods are no longer good enough to evaluate an applicants capabilities. Using these CBM methods, will ensure that the right employee will be placed in the right job. The chances of incorrect placement will be reduced drastically and companies will be more accurate with recruiting the right people.