Competency Based Assessment


The Insolvency Service

The Challenge

To ensure that administrative staff are selected using fair, objective and cost-effective procedures.

The Solution:

The first stage of the project was to review how fair and relevant the current recruitment procedure was for administrative staff. A key issue regarding the existing procedure was that applicants were ‘sifted’ on the basis of educational qualifications. This raised concerns that although they could do the job, good people were often lost as they did not possess the educational background needed to proceed to the interview stage. Following our research, we decided that competencies would provide the most suitable alternative assessment criteria. We conducted a thorough job analysis to identify a set of competencies to be used in the recruitment of administrative staff.


We recommended a two-stage approach to recruitment, consisting of a competency-based application form sift, followed by a competency-based interview for successful applicants. Applicants who do not necessarily have an educational background but possess the relevant qualities to perform the role are not discriminated against. This approach therefore reduces the risk of equal opportunities implications and ensures diversity. We then ran several training courses for staff involved in administrative recruitment. This included a review of best practice assessment skills along with training in how to conduct the application form sift and competency-based interviews.

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