Human Resources Department

Human Resources at MIT Logo
* What is CompQuick?

What are Competencies?

The MIT Administrative Staff Core Competency Model
* Hiring for Competencies at MIT
* Using CompQuick

* Downloads
* Learning More
* The MIT Selection Process


The MIT Administrative Staff Core Competency Model

A competency model is a description of the key competencies required for excellent performance in a given job or category of jobs. A competency model consists of a set of competencies that have been selected through some research process that demonstrates their importance for success on the job.

Competency models at MIT have been developed using either rigorous research interviews or expert panels (a panel of people who know the job requirements well).

In developing a competency model for the broad category of Administrative Staff, HRPD used a research protocol that included in-depth, structured interviews of 71 administrative staff members from a wide range of positions across MIT departments, laboratories and centers. (For more information on the research, see Competencies in Human Resource Practices at MIT: The Human Resources Practices Development Team (HRPD) Recommendations).

The research showed five behavioral competencies that were considered universally important for success in all administrative staff positions across MIT. These competencies should be part of the interview process for any administrative staff position being filled.

The core competencies are listed below.

This competency model for Administrative Staff is referred to as a core model because it is intended as a starting point. Additional competencies can be added to the model to address the competency requirements of individual positions.

A similar core competency model for support staff will be developed by Summer 2000.


The MIT Administrative Staff Core Competencies

 Ability to Influence

The ability to move or persuade others to act in a desired way. Influencing behaviors might include direct persuasion (e.g. appeals to reason, data, others’ self-interest), adapting presentations to the interest and understanding of the audience, or using indirect influence strategies.

Administrative staff are often required to convince and influence others, often those they don't have formal authority over.

 Communication for Results

The ability to mobilize an organization to achieve results by conveying goals and objectives clearly and in a compelling manner. At the basic level, this competency is about sharing information effectively. More sophisticated Communication for Results involves supporting a strategy in the face of resistance or obstacles.

 Information Seeking
An underlying curiosity and desire to know more about things, people or issues. It implies going beyond the questions that are routine or required to perform the job. It may include digging or pressing for exact information; resolving discrepancies by asking a series of questions; or broad environmental scanning for potential opportunities or miscellaneous information that may be of future use.
 Interpersonal Understanding
The desire and ability to accurately hear and understand the unspoken or partly expressed thoughts, feelings, and concerns of others. This skill at understanding "where people are coming from" is important in building work relationships, influencing or persuading others, and working effectively in groups. May include cross-cultural sensitivity.
 Organizational Awareness
The ability to understand and learn organizational relationships and dynamics and use them to achieve objectives. This includes knowing not only the formal organizational structure and "by-the-book" ways of doing things, but also the informal structure--who the "real" decision-makers are and how they can best be approached. This competency can also include an understanding of the organizational culture--what approaches or tactics will tend to work best and what should be avoided.


What are Competencies?

Hiring for Competencies at MIT


Send comments to


Last updated January 2000


| What is CompQuick? | What are Competencies? |

| The MIT Administrative Staff Core Competency Model | Hiring for Competencies at MIT |

| Using CompQuick | Competency Interviewing Tips | Downloads |

| Learning More | The MIT Selection Process |