Your guide to behavioral competencies in the workplace

Guide to behavioral competencies in the workplace

When you’re recruiting a new member of staff for your company, you want to make sure that you hire the best possible candidate. The problem is that most companies only focus on candidates’ technical skills. For instance, if a company is recruiting a new software engineer, it will want to know how well candidates can code. 

But that’s not everything the company should know about the candidate. Soft skills and behavioral traits, like problem-solving skills, how well they take and give feedback, how well they communicate with others, and if they are capable of motivating and leading others are all factors that determine success at work. 

To assess all the facets that make a great candidate, organizations should test behavioral competencies. This article will go into detail on how to do this, why behavioral competencies are important in the workplace, and which specific qualities you need to look for. 

But first, let’s define what behavioral competencies are. 

What are behavioral competencies?

Behavioral competencies are a set of personal traits, values, and behaviors of an individual that can positively or negatively affect their job performance. 

Behavioral competencies can boost an employee’s success at work. For example, if a candidate is charismatic, sociable, and a good public speaker, that will positively impact their potential job success in a sales role. 

On the other hand, if your candidate is introverted, calm, focused on details, and not outgoing, they may not be a good match for the role. In this situation, their behavioral competencies could negatively impact their potential success as a salesperson; however, they would likely be an effective accountant.

Why are they important in the workplace?

Behavioral competencies can work wonders for your business. Once you assess and analyze all your employees and candidates, you will have a clear picture of all their competencies. 

On top of their technical skills, you will also know their behavioral and personal traits that can make them more suited to certain roles in your organization. 

If you have an applicant who is great at handling pressure and possesses excellent organizational skills, they may be a strong candidate for a managerial role in your organization

Understanding these competencies enables you to move your current employees to roles in which they can thrive and find the right positions for new candidates applying for positions in your company. 

Additionally, HR teams often look at the current behavioral competencies of their workforce and seek to improve them. They can create training programs for employees so they can build new behavioral competencies that can positively impact the workplace. 

Last but not least, companies can scout their own workforce focusing on behavioral competencies to discover future leaders. You probably have employees with the potential to lead entire sectors of the company – when you assess the behavioral competencies of your workforce, you’re more likely to find the hidden gems. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a set of behavioral competencies that any company should look for in their candidates. 

What behavioral competencies should you look for

There are hundreds of behavioral competencies. However, the following six should be your priority as they have the biggest impact on most workplaces: 

6 behavioral competencies you should look for
  • Communication skills. These are held in high regard in the world of work today. It doesn’t matter if an individual works onsite or offsite, they will need communication skills appropriate to their role. Most online communication is done via email, so written communication skills may be a priority; if the person works onsite, they will need to communicate verbally with colleagues, peers, and supervisors. Whatever the context, communicating and receiving clear and concise messages will be a dealbreaker for many positions.
  • Leadership skills. Leadership skills involve many personal elements, such as motivating others, leading by example, resilience, and the determination to reach a goal. All these behavioral competencies should be considered positive in any workplace, no matter the industry. 
  • Critical thinking. Your company will expect your employees to be autonomous and make the best possible decisions for the organization’s well-being. To pull that off, your employees need critical-thinking skills. There’s a massive difference between making a good data-based decision on limited information and simply “winging” it. 
  • Relationship building. You’ll need employees who know how to build relationships with others inside and outside the company. This means more than just being a good communicator: It means being empathetic, giving tough feedback when necessary, and receiving feedback well, in addition to being able to interact with people in a way that elevates them.
  • Ethics. You want candidates with solid ethical boundaries to be a part of the team. Especially in today’s business world, your employees need to know the difference between right and wrong decisions. And they should be willing to take the right course of action even when it’s difficult.
  • Business acumen. The most effective candidates will have good business acumen. This means looking at the business in a holistic way, understanding how the entire organization moves and breaths in the industry and in the broader market. 

How to accurately measure behavioral competencies

Once you’ve established the behavioral competencies you need in your workplace, it’s time to measure those traits in your candidates and employees. 

But what’s the best way to do that? This is where pre-employment tests come in. 

Pre-employment tests provided by TestGorilla enable you to measure your candidates’ and employees’ behavioral competencies objectively.  

You won’t have to worry about unconscious bias creeping into hiring decisions when you give your candidates our tests, which are developed by experts in the field. And the results you receive are numerical, making it easier to review, compare, and rank your candidates. 

And our test library has a comprehensive range of assessments, whether you want to give your candidates a Communication Skills test or a Business Ethics and Compliance test

The importance of behavioral competencies in the workplace

When hiring candidates for your open positions, make sure that you test applicants’ behavioral competencies. These traits will help you find the right person for the role and your company. 

And assessing behavioral competencies is easy with TestGorilla. Arrange a free demo session with us today to discuss your exact needs and decide on the right plan for you.

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