How Startups Are Transforming IT Hiring With Competency Models


October, 2023

How Startups Are Transforming IT Hiring With Competency Models

topic IT Recruiting visibility1132 views

You're hiring for a key technical role at your startup, but the candidates just aren't fitting the bill. Their experience looks good on paper, but they lack the soft skills and mindset to thrive in a fast-paced, agile environment. The truth is, traditional hiring methods focused on degrees, certifications, and tenure just don't cut it anymore. What you need is a way to assess for competencies - the skills, behaviors, and attitudes that truly define success in a role.

Competency models are transforming how leading IT startups hire by mapping the DNA of a role. Forget the buzzwords on a resume. By defining the competencies that matter for a position, you can identify, assess, and hire candidates who have what it really takes to hit the ground running. If you want to build an IT team that can keep up with the pace of change, competency-based hiring is the way to go. Read on to learn how competency models can help you find, evaluate and onboard IT talent built to scale.

What Is Competency-Based Hiring?

What Is Competency-Based Hiring?

Competency-based hiring, also known as skills-based recruitment, is an approach that focuses on a candidate’s skills, talents, and work behaviors rather than their credentials or job titles. Instead of relying on degrees, certifications or years of experience, startups are identifying the key skills and attributes, known as competencies, required for success in a given role. They then evaluate applicants based on how well their abilities match up.

This innovative approach allows startups to cast a wider net and consider candidates from diverse, non-traditional backgrounds. If someone has the core competencies for the job, their lack of a computer science degree or years of programming experience won’t count against them. Startups get access to a whole new pool of tech talent and candidates have a fair chance to showcase their abilities.

The key is developing a competency model for each position that outlines the key skills, behaviors, motivations, and work styles required to perform the role effectively. This model becomes the benchmark for evaluating applicants and ensuring the best match. Some of the competencies startups may prioritize for tech roles include:

  • Coding proficiency in languages like Python, Java or C++
  • Troubleshooting and critical thinking skills
  • The ability to learn new technologies quickly
  • Soft skills like communication, collaboration and adaptability

Competency-based hiring is a win-win. Startups get the highly-skilled talent they need and candidates are given opportunities based primarily on their abilities rather than their credentials or work history. When the focus is on competencies, everyone gets a fair chance to find the right match.

Building a Competency Model for Your Open IT Role

Finding the right IT talent is challenging. Competency models help startups define what the role really needs to be successful. By mapping the specific skills, knowledge, and behaviors required, you can hire candidates that are the best fit.

Building a Competency Model for Your Open IT Role

To build a competency model for an open IT position, start by analyzing the role. What are the essential duties and responsibilities? What technical and soft skills are needed to perform them? Talk to IT managers and high performers currently in similar roles. Get their input on what makes someone excel in that job.

Next, define 3 to 5 key competencies. These are the must-haves, like coding proficiency, communication skills or strategic thinking. Break down each competency into specific behaviors and levels of proficiency to look for. For example, for “Coding Proficiency,” you might specify languages, frameworks, and years of experience at an expert, advanced or intermediate level.

Then create a competency rubric to evaluate candidates objectively. For each competency, describe what constitutes a poor fit, good fit or exceptional fit. Use a numeric scale, say 1 to 5, to score candidates in an interview. Look for those who rate highly in all key areas. They’ll have the skills and talents to hit the ground running.

With a solid competency model guiding your search, you can craft a compelling job listing, ask targeted interview questions and make data-driven hiring decisions. The result? Candidates who are tailor-made for your startup’s needs. Using this focused approach, you’ll build an A-team of IT pros with the technical and soft skills to achieve your business goals. And that’s a competitive advantage no startup can afford to overlook.

The Benefits of Competency Models for Startup IT Hiring

Competency models provide numerous benefits for startups hiring in IT.

Better Job Matching

Competency-based hiring helps ensure you find candidates with the right skills and abilities for the role. By focusing on competencies—the skills, knowledge, and behaviors—required for the position rather than just years of experience, you can assess if a candidate is truly a good fit. This results in better job matching and higher retention rates.

Increased Productivity

When employees have the necessary competencies to excel in their jobs, they tend to be more productive and effective. Candidates who are a good competency match will get up to speed quicker and need less hand-holding. They have the ability and motivation to work independently, taking initiative to solve problems. This allows your technical team to focus on high-priority and high-complexity work.

Improved Employee Development

Competency models provide a roadmap for employee growth and progression. Employees can see what skills and abilities they need to develop to advance their careers. Managers can also identify competency gaps and create targeted development plans to help their team members strengthen key areas. This leads to a highly-skilled, future-ready workforce.

Enhanced Recruitment Process

A competency-based approach to hiring often includes assessments to evaluate a candidate’s competencies. These assessments provide an objective measure of a candidate’s abilities which helps reduce bias in the hiring process. They can also save time by quickly screening out candidates who lack the necessary skills. By focusing on competencies, the entire recruitment process is also made more efficient.

In summary, competency models enable startups to make strategic IT hiring decisions based on skills and abilities. When you hire for competencies, you end up with great job matching, increased productivity, improved employee development and an enhanced overall recruitment process. This allows you to build a highly qualified technical team equipped with the competencies your startup needs to succeed.

Competency-based hiring is changing the game for IT recruiting

With a competency model approach, you can hire people based on what really matters - their ability to do the job. You'll find candidates with the exact skills and mindsets to thrive in a role, leading to better hires and a team that's built to achieve.

For startups, this could be a game changer. When every hire matters and you need top talent fast, competency-based hiring helps ensure you get the right people in the right seats. And when your team is purpose-built for the work, there's no limit to what you might accomplish. If you're looking to scale fast while maintaining a high bar for talent, competency models may just help you crack the code for startup success. Who's ready to transform their hiring? The future is competency-based - are you?

Get in touch!

Focus on growing your business
and we will take care of hiring the best tech staff for you.

Related Posts

IT Recruitment & Hiring Practices: Staying Up-to-Date

We’ll walk you through the basics, share our insights on which strategies are effective and which are wasted effort, and provide some strategies for...

Revolutionizing IT Recruitment

Have you tried to hire an IT professional recently? If so, you know the struggle is real. Between the low supply of talent and the high demand across ...

Top Stand with UA
Stand with Ukraine