Skills and competencies

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Skills and competencies
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Skills and competencies - Everyone has a specific personality structure. Personality, can be called a certain meta-level, which includes, two areas extremely important from the point of view of professional success: competencies and skills. This is what we are looking for in our new employees and we develop them in us, because we would like to achieve better and more professional success.

The word “skills” and “competencies” are used interchangeably, as if they were synonyms. However this is a mistake. Competencies and skills differ from each other. Understanding this differences helps us in better management and better selection of the staff to the company [1].

Skills and competencies - difference

Skills - We gain skills during our development by learning and knowing new things. They are relatively independent of our emotions or beliefs, although they are strongly related to talent and predispositions to specific things. We can say that each person, spending his energy and time on learning, can acquire specific skills, although not everyone can develop these skills at the same level. Skill is something you can learn.

Competencies are features related to the way of thinking, creating relationships and acting in a specific way. They influence on the functioning of a person in his professional life. Competences are influenced by motivation, conviction, experience and ability and emotionality too. Competences are not something permanent - with the development of a human, he gain further competences, and these involve further ones. Just as each of us is a process, our competences are an ever-expanding collection of elements. What's more, each competency can be improved and we can make it better, although we should remember that not every competency will come to each of us with the same ease. It is impossible to determinate once forever if someone has given competence or not. The competencies measuremenr is a complex process. Most of theoreticians agree that we can objectively do it only on the basis of a set of abservable behaviors.

This show us a clear conclusion for employers and recruiters who, instead of focusing only on the employee's past professional performance, should also focus on assessing their potential to acquire new competences. Therefore, currently aware employers emphasize flexibility and the ability to adapt as key to taking a given position [2].

Types of skills and competencies

Skills and competencies of employee are key factor for achieving high efficiency of work in organization. Most common skill and competencies are:

  • competence related to aptitudes, employee's potential, development opportunities and talent to gain new competences
  • skills related to abilities necessary for success in a specific task at work
  • competence related to knowledge, preparation for specific tasks, specialization, administrative position within organization
  • physical competences and job requirements, e.g. physical fitness, agility
  • competences related to the style of operation, goal setting, ability to plan and organizational skills
  • competences related to personality, effectiveness of dealing with specific types of social situations
  • competences related to principles and values, beliefs and motives of actions
  • competencies related to interests, preferences for specific tasks and line of work or environment
  • competencies related to experience in working in similar work position
  • knowledge end education in performing specific tasks
  • skills and abilities in areas of self management and self-control
  • competences connected to development of skills needed on the workplace

The ability to use by person his knowledge, skills, system values and personality traits, in connection with his occupation the specific workplace is usually about the successes achieved at work [3].



  1. Andrews J., Higson H. 2008, s. 411
  2. Oates T. 2002, s. 171
  3. Orinos N. 2012, s. 53

Author: Weronika Cyganik