What is a "core competency"?

Author: Linda Segall, Segall Enterprises

Core competencies are sets of skills, knowledge and behaviors unique to the successful performance of a specific position. For example, a core competency of a sales person may be "the ability to persuade," and a core competency of a customer-service representative may be "the ability to resolve customer problems."

Core competencies may also be identified as the qualities and characteristics that are deemed necessary for success across the organization, regardless of the position. These competencies are often listed in job descriptions to assure a good fit into the organization. An example of an organizational core competency might be "the ability to take initiative."