Methods of Competency Mapping

Competency mapping, irrespective of the sector and organization, follow steps that are consistent across its different methods. Sharma and Khanna (2015) in their research article highlighted eight steps to competency mapping which has been summarized as follows:

  1. Identify the department for which competency mapping needs to be conducted
  2. Identify the organizational structure and list down the grades and levels followed in that organization
  3. Conduct job analysis and prepare a job and role description
  4. Using any suitable method of competency mapping collect data about the core competencies of the employee
  5. Classify the obtained data into required skill set and further identify the skill levels
  6. Evaluate and confirm the identified skill set with immediate supervisors and heads of other departments
  7. Preparation of competency calendar
  8. Mapping of competencies

Following these steps, the competency mapping tools are as follows.



Competency-based interviews may be structured, semi-structured or unstructured depending on the person conducting the competency mapping. Interview should be carefully designed so as to provide information about both the easily observed information and the general disposition and motivation of the employee. Questions prepared should target each competency and give an overview of the tangible skills and knowledge possessed by the employee, how he or she acts under certain conditions, and how they behave with other people. The questions focus on relating past job performance to future on the job performance. Biasness and distortion of flow should be avoided as much as possible (Balaji, 2011). If handled effectively, interviews can prove to be a powerful technique for getting accurate details and obtaining information which may otherwise be unavailable.


Competency mapping questionnaires consist of a list of questions either standardized or prepared solely for the purpose of competency mapping which the employees are expected to fill. There may be competency mapping questionnaire for employees or for managers depending on the level at which the mapping is being conducted. One form of a questionnaire is the Common Metric Questionnaire (CMQ) that makes use of five domains to examine competencies to improve work performance.  These five domains are as follows: background, contact with people, decision making, physical and mechanical activity and work setting. Another form is Functional Job Analysis (FJA) which is a qualitative analysis and breaks the job down to seven parts: things, data, worker instructions, reasoning, people, mathematics and language. The behavior and actions of the employees in the seven areas is a part of FJA.

Assessment Centers

Assessment centers is a process (and not a location) that helps to determine the suitability of employees to specific type of employment or job role. Using validated tests, different elements of the job are simulated. The candidates or employees are expected to complete a number of assessments specifically designed to assess the key competencies required for the job role they are applying. These tests focus on assessing the individual based on their knowledge, skills, attitudes and other behaviors. An essential feature of this process is using situational test to observe job specific behavior.

Critical Incidents Technique

This technique was developed by Flanagan (1954) and involves direct observation of the employee in specific situations. The observations should be recorded as accurately as possible since it would be used to identify behaviors that contribute to success or failure of individual or organization in a specific situation. First step, is to make a list of good and bad on the job behavior. After this, the supervisors should be trained to note down incidents when the employee was successful or not successful in meeting the job requirements. At the end of the year, a balance sheet for each employee is created to find how well the employee has performed (Balaji, 2011).

Psychometric Assessment

These are standardized and scientific tools used to assess the mental capacities and behavioral styles of employees in an organization. The most commonly used psychometric assessment is aptitude, achievement and personality testing. Aptitude tests help to determine the capacity of the individual to acquire with training a particular type of skill or knowledge. Achievement tests help to determine the level of proficiency an individual has achieved in a given area. Personality testing gives a description of the unique traits and characteristics that drive the employee’s behavior. Apart from these, competency mapping rating scale may also be used as a part of assessment.

These competency mapping methods can be used individually or as a combination to provide a comprehensive detail about the competencies of the employee and the job requirements.