Competencies are behaviors an employee displays in order to translate the knowledge and skills and leverage the traits to deliver a performance on the job.

Competencies are related to a given job function. Hence different jobs will require different competencies. An offshore software engineer needs to have the necessary technical skills to write the code and written and verbal communication skills to effectively communicate across the world, among others. In this case, the communication competency is highly valuable, given the offshore nature of the work.

If the job description changes to that of a software engineer working as a database administrator, a slightly different set of competencies apply. While related technical skills are very important, in this case, expertise will be desired given the fact that databases are critical to the business and scope for errors is less. Communication competencies are always required but basic communication may be enough for this function. However, a meticulous attitude and handling high levels of stress will be important, given the requirement criticality of the infrastructure.

Competencies are the application of all that we know and can do. Almost all employers describe a job function in terms of competencies and results required. Also, almost all employee appraisal forms will attempt to grade people in terms of competencies on some scale. For example, a competency of 'Result Orientation' may be measured on a scale of 1 through 5, and an appraiser may be advised to comment on the reasons behind the rating.

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