Frequently Asked Questions: Competencies

What is the Competency Training Map?

The NIH Training Center has identified and mapped training courses to competencies at various proficiency levels. The Competency Training Map aids employees in researching training courses that will help them reach their target proficiency level for a given competency. However, taking a class does not guarantee that employees will attain the desired proficiency level. It is the ability to perform tasks/activities related to their job responsibilities that demonstrates the level of proficiency attained. Training can only aid employees in developing competencies. There is not a specified number of classes that an individual needs to take in order to meet a competency proficiency level.

What competency based tools has NIH developed?

NIH has developed competency models in some of the most common roles performed across ICs. These roles consist of competencies that fall within the following areas: non-technical, technical, leadership & management, and executive level proficiencies.

Non-technical competencies represent the sets of knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that apply to all NIH employees. Technical competencies are occupation-related competencies that apply to all employees within a specific business area. The leadership & management competencies apply to all employees with supervisory responsibilities in administrative occupations. The executive level proficiencies are based on OPM’S Executive Core Qualifications for the Senior Executive Service (SES). 

The suggested competency models provide guidance on the expected performance needed by NIH employees in different occupational areas.

How do I use the competency behavioral-based interview guides?

The interview guide serves as a tool that supervisors can use to understand if and how interviewees have demonstrated key behaviors associated with particular competencies. Past performance may be a good predictor of future performance in a similar situation.

Most interview guides include a number of questions related to each competency. Interviewers may choose questions they think are appropriate for the candidate, job or organization.