Essential Competencies Project

About

Today, many employers lack reliable ways of assessing the extent to which applicants have the necessary skills and knowledge for their positions. As a result, they must rely instead on sub-optimal metrics, including applicants’ educational attainment and the prestige of the school they attended.

CED’s Essential Competencies Project examines the feasibility and efficacy of competency-based hiring and works with select companies to screen applicants at initial stages of the hiring process, resulting in a more thorough system of hiring.

The Essential Competencies Project is a four-year, real-world experiment of competency-based hiring by a select group of businesses.

Currently, many employers are uncertain about the skills and knowledge that predict job performance and lack reliable ways of assessing the extent to which applicants have these skills. As a result we believe that many employers rely instead on applicants’ educational attainment and the prestige of the school they attended as a “noisy” predictor of how well qualified the applicant is.

We believe that easily-administered assessments that predict an applicant’s future job performance will be a game-changer – for low- and middle-income job applicants, for employers, and ultimately for the postsecondary sector.

The Essential Competencies Project will rigorously examine the feasibility and efficacy of competency-based hiring and potentially will provide a “proof of concept” for this innovation. As part of the four-year pilot, a select group of companies will commit to using standardized tests of key competencies to screen applicants for their US-based workforce at initial stages of the hiring process. For a subset of their new hires, these companies will use scores on standardized screening tests in lieu of traditional proxies for an applicant’s knowledge and skills (such as the applicant’s educational attainment and the school they attended).

For more information or if your company is interested in participating, please contact Monica Herk, Vice President of Education Research, mherk@ced.org

Recent Activity

March 15, 2017