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Best Practices for Creating a Competency Profile

Competencies – sets of related behaviours, skills and abilities – form the building blocks of an effective talent management strategy. In order to use competencies to measure potential and performance, the first step is to create a competency profile for the job role under consideration.

We’ve put together a guide of best practices when setting out to create a competency job profile. The Lumenii online competency status test is a free, interactive, online tool that is designed to be used in conjunction with this guide.

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Step 1: Decide on a Consistent Competency Framework

A competency framework is a library of competencies that is used as the basis for the profiling process. Each competency within the library needs to have a comprehensive definition, explaining what that competency means, as well as a list of discrete behavioural indicators – statements of observable behaviour that provide more detail about the makeup and measurement each competency.

Some companies create their own competency frameworks, while others use competency libraries from assessment providers. Lumenii offers a well-researched and validated library of 45 competencies that are applicable across all roles and levels, and that are used by companies around the world as the basis for their job profiles.

Step 2: Consult the Stakeholders in the Role

Whether you are a hiring manager or an HR professional, it is important to consult a range of sources when creating a competency-based job profile. The best practice is to consult a line manager, an HR manager, a subordinate and an incumbent. While each stakeholder could provide their input in isolation, it is best to conduct a group session where all parties can contribute and agree on the relevant competencies. Supplementary documents, such as job advertisements and job profiles, can also be integrated into the profiling process.


Step 3: Specify the Day-to-Day Tasks, Results and KPIs for the Job in Question

In order to understand which competencies are essential for performance, it is important to specify the day-to-day outputs for the role. In some cases, HR, the line manager or even the incumbent him/herself may have a different idea of the job and its key deliverables, so consensus at this stage is required. Any existing job descriptions or other supplementary documents can be used as a basis and to provide more information.

HR manager taking notes during an HR webinar in South Africa

Step 4: Specify the Knowledge, Experience and Technical Skills Required for the Role

Similar to step 3, make use of group consensus and any existing job descriptions to detail the knowledge and experience necessary to perform effectively in the role. Technical skills/experience, such as typing or MS Word, are not classified as competencies, but rather as technical skills.

Step 5: Select your Job Specific Competencies

It is best practice to select only six to eight competencies for your job profile – those that are essential for performance in the role. Many times, people are tempted to select long lists of competencies, but this creates unrealistic requirements and makes it far more difficult to measure these competencies in the long run.

All competencies selected for the job role need to be relevant, measurable and necessary for the incumbent to perform effectively.

Our online competency library allows you to compile a competency profile, provides advice on which competencies to select, and allows you to download the profile to use on an ongoing basis.

Step 6: Use your Competency Profile for Recruitment and Development

Once you’ve compiled your competency profile, you can begin to integrate it into your talent management strategy.

  • Talent assessment: measure an individual’s inherent potential on the selected competencies, for recruitment/selection purposes.

  • Talent development: measure an incumbent’s performance on the job-specific competencies, as part of ongoing performance management initiatives.

  • Talent performance: examine the competency scores of individuals and groups, to assess team effectiveness, team composition and team performance.

  • Talent analytics: analyse competency potential and performance on a group level to determine holistic areas of strength and development.

Recruitment and HR manager reading an assessment article by Lumenii



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