What Is Behavioral Competency? Definition, Types & Examples

Behavioral competencies are essential for anyone looking to succeed in the workplace. They are a set of skills and behaviors that individuals need to be successful.

By understanding behavioral competencies, the types of competencies available, and the examples employers look for, you can ensure you have the necessary skills and behaviors to excel in your career.

We will provide an overview of everything you need about behavioral competencies, giving you the tools to help you reach your professional goals.

What Is Behavioral Competency?

Behavioral competencies are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that contribute to successful performance in a particular job role. They are the foundation of job performance and help to shape an individual’s success within a role.

They are often used in recruitment, selection, and training processes as they provide employers insight into how a person is likely to perform in specific job roles. 

Behavioral competencies are usually assessed through interviews, job applications, and aptitude tests.

Behavioral competencies go beyond the technical skills associated with a job role, such as computer programming or customer service. Instead, they focus on the behaviors necessary for success, such as problem-solving, teamwork, decision-making, and communication.

As such, they are essential when evaluating a candidate’s potential for success in a particular role. 

Behavioral competencies are attributes that can be applied to a wide range of job roles and provide employers with an insight into how a person may perform in a given role.

They can also identify potential areas for improvement in an individual’s behavior or measure their development over time.

The Types Of Behavioral Competencies

Behavioral competencies are the skills, abilities, and characteristics required to effectively perform tasks and activities in a work or social environment. These competencies are essential for individuals to succeed personally and professionally. In this article, we will explore the different types of behavioral competencies.

Communication Skills

Every aspect of life depends on effective communication. It includes verbal and nonverbal communication, listening, and responding.

Good communication skills can help build positive relationships, resolve conflicts, and present ideas effectively.


Leadership is guiding, directing, and motivating a team toward common goals.

It involves setting a clear vision, providing direction, and making decisions. Good leaders inspire and empower their teams to perform at their best.


Adaptability is adjusting to new situations, changes, and challenges. It involves being open to new ideas, taking on new roles, and learning new skills.

Adaptability helps individuals to navigate through changes and uncertainty.


Problem-solving is identifying, analyzing, and finding solutions to problems. It involves critical thinking, decision-making, and creativity.

Good problem solvers can come up with innovative solutions and resolve complex issues.

Time Management

Time management is prioritizing tasks, managing deadlines, and using time efficiently. It involves setting goals, planning, and organizing tasks.

Good time management skills can help individuals to increase productivity and achieve their goals.


Collaboration is the ability to work effectively with others towards a common goal. It involves communication, teamwork, and respect for others’ opinions.

Good collaborators can build positive relationships and achieve results through shared effort.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is understanding and managing one’s and other’s emotions. It involves empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation.

Good emotional intelligence can help individuals build positive relationships, manage conflicts, and succeed.


Creativity is the ability to develop new ideas, concepts, and solutions. It involves thinking outside the box, using imagination, and taking risks.

Good creative skills can help individuals to innovate and find new solutions to problems.

Customer Service

Customer service is understanding and meeting customers’ needs and expectations. It involves communication, problem-solving, and empathy.

Good customer service skills can help individuals build positive customer relationships and improve customer satisfaction.

Work Ethic

Work ethic is the attitude and values that individuals bring to their work. It involves being reliable, responsible, and committed to excellence. A good work ethic can help individuals to achieve success and earn respect in their professional and personal lives.

Behavioral competencies are essential for individuals to succeed personally and professionally. The above-listed competencies are just a few examples of the many skills and characteristics individuals need to develop to achieve their goals.

Developing these competencies can help individuals improve performance, build positive relationships, and succeed.

How Do You Appraise And Assess Behavioral Competencies?

Assessing and appraising behavioral competencies can be complex, but ensuring that employees have the skills and qualities necessary to perform their job effectively is essential. Below are some standard methods used to appraise and assess behavioral competencies:


This method involves having employees assess their behavioral competencies. It can be an effective way to encourage self-reflection and self-awareness and identify areas for improvement.

However, self-assessment should be combined with other methods to ensure accuracy and objectivity.

Behavioral Interviews

Behavioral interviews are a structured method of assessing behavioral competencies.

In this approach, interviewers ask questions about specific situations or experiences, and the candidate’s responses are evaluated based on their behavior, skills, and qualities demonstrated in those situations.

360-Degree Feedback

In this method, Feedback is gathered from multiple sources, such as managers, peers, subordinates, and customers.

This approach aims to provide a more comprehensive picture of an employee’s competencies and help identify areas for improvement.

Performance Appraisals

During a performance appraisal, an employee’s performance is evaluated, including their behavioral competencies.

This approach typically involves setting goals and objectives, providing Feedback on progress, and identifying areas for improvement.

Assessment Centers

Assessment centers are structured events designed to evaluate an individual’s competencies through various exercises and simulations.

These exercises can include role-playing, group discussions, and other activities designed to simulate real-life work situations.

Regardless of the method used, ensuring that the appraisal and assessment process is fair, objective, and consistent is essential.

It should also be tied to job requirements and business objectives to ensure that the assessed competencies are relevant and valuable for the organization.

How To Use Behavioral Competencies In Your Job Search?

Behavioral competencies are the skills, abilities, and characteristics essential for individuals to succeed personally and professionally.

In a job search, highlighting your behavioral competencies can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your potential to add value to the organization.

Here are some tips on how to use behavioral competencies in your job search.

Identify Your Strengths

Identifying your strengths is the first step in using behavioral competencies in your job search. Look at the competencies listed in the job description and assess which ones you possess.

Consider past experiences where you have demonstrated these competencies and think about how to use them in the position you are applying for.

Customize Your Resume

Customize your resume to highlight the behavioral competencies relevant to the position you are applying for.

Use bullet points to showcase your experiences and accomplishments that demonstrate the competencies the employer is seeking.

Be specific and provide examples of using these competencies in your previous roles.

Use Action Verbs

Use action verbs to describe your experiences and accomplishments. Action verbs such as “led,” “managed,” “collaborated,” and “innovated” can help to demonstrate your behavioral competencies.

Avoid using passive language and focus on your actions to achieve results.

Prepare for Interviews

Prepare for interviews by thinking about how you can demonstrate your behavioral competencies.

Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to provide specific examples of how you have used your competencies in the past. Be prepared to discuss challenges you have faced and how you overcame them using your behavioral competencies.


Networking is an essential part of the job search process. Attend events, join professional organizations, and connect with people in your industry.

Use your behavioral competencies to build relationships and demonstrate your value to potential employers.


After an interview or networking event, follow up with a thank-you note or email.

Use this opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and highlight your behavioral competencies. This can keep you top of mind and demonstrate your professionalism.

Continuously Develop Your Competencies

Continuously developing your behavioral competencies can help you to stay relevant and competitive in your field.

Seek out training opportunities, attend conferences, and read industry publications. This can enhance your skills and demonstrate your commitment to growth and development.

Using behavioral competencies in your job search can help you to stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your potential to add value to the organization. 

By identifying your strengths, customizing your resume, using action verbs, preparing for interviews, networking, following up, and continuously developing your competencies, you can increase your chances of landing the desired job.

Maintaining authenticity and genuineness in your communication is essential, demonstrating how your competencies can benefit the organization.

Behavioral Competencies Examples

Behavioral competencies are the skills, abilities, and characteristics that enable individuals to perform effectively, personally, and professionally.

They are often called soft skills and can be applied across various industries and job functions. Here are some examples of behavioral competencies:


Effective communication is essential in any job. It involves conveying information clearly and concisely, listening actively, and responding appropriately.

Good communication skills include non-verbal communication, such as body language and tone of voice.


Collaboration involves working effectively with others to achieve common goals. It requires communicating ideas and concerns, listening actively, and compromising when necessary.

Good collaborators also understand the strengths and weaknesses of team members and leverage them to achieve optimal results.


Problem-solving involves identifying, analyzing, and resolving problems effectively. It requires gathering and analyzing information, generating potential solutions, and evaluating the best course of action.

Good problem solvers also consider the impact of their decisions on stakeholders and anticipate potential consequences.

Time Management

Time management involves prioritizing tasks, organizing schedules, and meeting deadlines. It requires allocating time effectively, minimizing distractions, and maintaining focus.

Good-time managers also understand how to balance their personal and professional lives and avoid burnout.


Leadership involves motivating and inspiring others to achieve a common goal. It requires communicating a vision, providing guidance, and delegating tasks effectively.

Good leaders also listen to Feedback, encourage innovation, and provide opportunities for growth and development.


Adaptability involves being able to adjust to changing circumstances and environments. It requires learning quickly, embracing new challenges, and being open to Feedback.

Suitable adapters also understand the impact of their behavior on others and adjust their approach accordingly.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves being able to recognize and manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others.

It requires empathizing, communicating effectively, and resolving conflicts constructively.

Good emotional intelligence also involves being aware of one’s biases and assumptions and challenging them.


Creativity involves generating new ideas and solutions to problems. It requires thinking outside the box, approaching challenges from different perspectives, and experimenting with different approaches.

Good creatives also understand leveraging their strengths and weaknesses to achieve optimal results.


Resilience involves being able to cope with adversity and overcome challenges. It requires being able to bounce back from setbacks, maintain a positive outlook, and stay focused on goals.

Good resilient individuals also understand how to ask for help and support when needed.


Ethics involves being able to behave responsibly and ethically. It requires making ethical decisions, adhering to ethical standards and principles, and being accountable for actions.

Good ethical individuals also understand the impact of their decisions on others and the broader community.

Behavioral competencies are essential for individuals to perform effectively personally and professionally.

Communication, collaboration, problem-solving, time management, leadership, adaptability, emotional intelligence, creativity, resilience, and ethics are just a few examples of the many behavioral competencies that individuals can develop and apply across various industries and job functions.

By cultivating these competencies, individuals can increase their effectiveness, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Key Takeaways

  • Behavioural competency refers to the combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics that are needed to perform a job effectively.
  • There are three types of competencies: behavioural, technical, and functional. Behavioural competencies are the most important because they relate to how an individual behaves in the workplace.
  • Behavioural competencies are not innate traits but rather can be developed through training and practice.
  • Examples of behavioural competencies include communication, teamwork, adaptability, and leadership.
  • Behavioural competencies are important for both individual employees and organizations as a whole, as they can improve job performance, increase employee engagement, and drive business success.
  • The process of developing and assessing behavioural competencies involves identifying key behaviours, creating a framework for measuring those behaviours, and providing feedback and coaching to employees.
  • Finally, it is important to note that behavioural competencies are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different jobs and roles require different competencies, so it is important to tailor competency models to specific job requirements.


Behavioral competencies are an essential tool to have in your professional toolbox. They help you demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills and qualities to do a job well.

There are many behavioral competencies, each with its definition and examples.

 By understanding the different types and their importance, you can use them to your advantage when looking for a job.

With this knowledge, you can make yourself more marketable and stand out.


Why are behavioral competencies important in the workplace?

Behavioral competencies are important in the workplace because they enable individuals to perform their roles effectively and contribute to the organization’s success.

They also help individuals build positive relationships with colleagues, customers, and stakeholders, leading to greater job satisfaction and career success.

How can I improve my behavioral competencies?

Improving your behavioral competencies involves identifying the areas where you need to develop your skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics and taking steps to build them.

This may involve seeking feedback from colleagues or supervisors, undertaking training or development activities, practicing new skills, and reflecting on your performance.

How do employers assess an individual’s behavioral competencies?

Employers may use various methods to assess an individual’s behavioral competencies, including interviews, assessments, and performance reviews.

During interviews, employers may ask questions assessing a candidate’s communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills and ability to work in a team.

Assessments may involve activities such as group exercises or psychometric tests, which can provide insights into an individual’s personality traits and work style.

Performance reviews are often used to evaluate an employee’s competencies in relation to their job responsibilities and to identify areas for development.

How can behavioral competencies be used in recruitment and selection processes?

Behavioral competencies can be used in recruitment and selection processes to help employers identify the most suitable candidates for a particular job or role.

By defining the competencies required for the job and using structured interviews or assessments to evaluate candidates against these competencies, employers can make more informed hiring decisions and select candidates who are likely to perform well in the job.

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