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3 Competencies to Measure in the Hiring Process, Regardless of the Job

September 26, 2019


When it comes to finding the employees who are the best fit for your organization, many factors are at play. Many of these factors depend on the position itself and what the requirements of the job are, along with other specifics of the job. When determining the competencies important for success, these are all important aspects to consider. However, regardless of these factors, there will always be certain competencies that, no matter what the job is and has to offer, are important for successful job performance.

Here are three of the core competencies needed in a good employee, regardless of the job you're hiring for:


When speaking with organizations about their hiring challenges, a very common response is “we just can’t get people to show up." Finding dependable and reliable employees can be hard on employers, especially if you are trying to find employees for non-standard work hours such as swing shifts and third shifts. Therefore, getting a gauge of how dependable your candidates are is important to making a good hire. Consider collecting examples of times they may have come in on a day off, worked late hours to meet a goal, or covered for a missing employee. Getting a sense for how punctual the candidate is also plays into how dependable they will be on the job. 

Work Ethic 

Employees who not only set goals for themselves, but set high standards on those goals, are employees you want to have in your organization. Tapping into one’s work ethic during the hiring process can give you a sense of how conscientiousness the candidate is along with the pride they place in the quality of their work. Understanding how employees have spent their time on the clock in the past helps you to better understand how they are likely to spend their time on the job at your company. If their responses indicate they may be cutting corners when no one is looking or are consistently doing just the bare minimum, you may want to think twice before extending an offer to that particular candidate.  Here are some tips on how to evaluate past performance to predict future behavior.

Motivational Fit 

If a candidate is not demonstrating an interest in performing the particular job tasks that the job entails, there is a good chance that that candidate will not be happy in the role of which you are hiring for. In addition to fit with the particular job tasks, you should also consider the fit for other candidate motivations including company culture, the supervisor the candidate will be working under, the group of employees the person will be working with, and the environment the candidate will be working in. These are just a few areas that can either motivate or demotivate the candidate. Thus, truly understanding what the candidate wants and what motivates them is one of the best things hiring officials can do when trying to find candidates who will stay within an organization. 

Read more about measuring motivational fit during the hiring process.

Dependability, work ethic, and motivational fit are all competencies that can be measured in a consistent and legally defensible way as part of your hiring process. Even better – these competencies have been found to predict successful job performance! Most commonly, these competencies are measured as part of a behaviorally based assessment and/or interview, but they can also be measured as part of realistic job preview or work simulation. 

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Lindsey Burke Lindsey Burke is a Senior Consultant based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI. She is largely responsible for client support and managing clients in industries including manufacturing, sales, and healthcare. Lindsey completed her M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Xavier University and earned a B.A. and B.S. in Psychology from Kent State University.