Help with basic understanding of Competence requirements

I was previously a quality manager for our company, and one requirement I always struggled to understand was competence. In talking to different auditors they seemed to have different opinions of what this meant.

One perspective was you have an expectation of your employees and competence means you trained them on what those expectations are(here is the process for x, y, z, here is what term a, b ,c means, etc). I always used this perspective as it's something I understood and I could point to training records as evidence...

The other perspective that I'm asking about here was, how do you know the new hire x was qualified to to job y with responsibilities a, b, c - where is the evidence? I always struggled with this perspective as to me hiring has always seemed like a judgement call(risky). If you did a job yourself for a number of years then it seems like there is less risk as you know the pitfalls, the terminology, the strengths the person should have and the concepts they should be familiar with and can try to look for these in an interview process(I prefer hands on interviews doing the job). Where if you never did the job yourself, you do your best to talk to the person to make sure they sound competent and look at their resume to see that they have relevant experience/education but in either case(you did the job or not) it's risky when you hire the person and you won't know for months or in some positions years to know if the person was actually qualified.

The problem I'm observing recently is it seems like we've had a lot of bad judgement calls years ago, and now it's coming to light(management team in agreement) we have several people in positions that are doing a poor job and to me it just seems pretty clear they were not qualified for the job - it was a bad hire (e.g. someone that is terrible with keeping details straight is our project manager responsible for releasing new products). Keep in mind we're a small family owned business where the family approves all hiring decisions and in some cases does 100% of interviewing. As was head down the difficult path of changing responsibilities(you have strengths in technical sales so that will be your focus, we'll find a someone else to manage our projects). That has me thinking back to auditors that asked me where the evidence is to prove the new hire was qualified to fill the job description we hired them for.

How do we mitigate the risk of ensuring we hire competent people for the right job? I'd be happy to read a book if anyone has advice or if their are best practices I should read about or whatever but it seems to me like we have a bit of a trend of bad judgement calls resulting in unqualified people being assigned responsibilities where the person is naturally weak/ inexperienced. At the end of the day my goal is to better educate myself so I can do a better job at hiring and feedback what I learn to the rest of the management team so ideally we can all benefit.
Last edited:
Elsmar Forum Sponsor


Super Moderator
What's to understand? Competence = demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills. It's defined by the ISO as such and doesn't required a great deal of brainpower to understand.... Most easily demonstrated with the certification of forklift drivers under US OSHA 29CFR 1910.178 - Powered industrial trucks....A no brainer.

Just remember, no matter how competent a person is or you think they are, they can still push the wrong button or flip the wrong switch. Crap happens

Johnny Quality

Quite Involved in Discussions
If you work out how to never hire bad hires then you should write a book in it! Though I would ask you...

  • You say the family do the hiring decisions and in some cases all of the interviews? Do they have an active role in the business, do they know what is needed from the role they are trying to fill?
  • From my experience the first thing an interviewer looks for in a resume is on the job experience. How do you differentiate between someone with 10 years of experience and someone with 1 year of experience 10 times over?
  • How do you sort between those who naturally interview well and the nervous wrecks?

Perhaps it'd be a good idea to view the interview process as a flow chart, with inputs and expected outputs.

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
Competence is delivered by two processes:

A. Recruiting people (includes internal assignments) who have the potential to do the job well. Here we are selecting folk who have the required attributes or behaviors. Recruiting may also assess current skills and knowledge offered by the candidates.

B. Training and learning (in all its forms) imparts/acquires the necessary skills and knowledge which together with the behaviors and strengths or attributes results in competent employees.

But, is the system within which these employees work, effective at helping employees do good work? We also have to select leaders who engage employees in system thinking, designing and development.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
P Basic Minitab Help - It's about Linear Regression Using Minitab Software 1
L Seeking help in Basic Maintenance Knowledge Manufacturing and Related Processes 4
S I am asked to fit 2 lines - Basic Minitab Question - Quick Help needed Using Minitab Software 1
P Help With Basic Minitab Questions! Using Minitab Software 6
K PPAP basic help needed - Tier 1 automotive supplier for an electrical wiring harness APQP and PPAP 4
A Document Control - Please help me with a basic document control system Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 9
R Lead auditor scenario (Need help) is this non conforming to ISO13485 Manufacturing and Related Processes 2
J HELP NEEDED ! Risk Management Exercise ISO 14971 - Medical Device Risk Management 12
D Help Me. Non conformitty in External Audit IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 13
U Need Help With API Q2 Quality Manual Oil and Gas Industry Standards and Regulations 8
A Nonconformity help IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 5
J ISO 9001:2015 Clause 8.5.1 Control of Production and service provision - Help with Work Instruction Access ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 13
Azaarus Help with CAPA for an IATF finding regarding inspection documentation IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 10
A Help needed with locating conector Design and Development of Products and Processes 0
Y CER: can "state of the art" help to make up for literature search on equivalant devices? EU Medical Device Regulations 1
D Need some Help on 8D fault tree analysis Problem Solving, Root Cause Fault and Failure Analysis 6
B Can someone help me explain P-Value with a simple word please? Capability, Accuracy and Stability - Processes, Machines, etc. 11
M Help on formulating a LP minimization problem Manufacturing and Related Processes 2
N Help with understanding Process Controls Manufacturing and Related Processes 7
K Screen printing ink and machine selection_ Need help Manufacturing and Related Processes 6
J Need Help with FPY Data in Assembly Process Manufacturing and Related Processes 7
S Need help on "Country of Origin" Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 0
M Need Help With Information Security Asset Risk Register IEC 27001 - Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) 2
T Help with BS EN ISO - IEC 80079-34 2020 (Explosive atmospheres QMS) Other ISO and International Standards and European Regulations 0
J Help settle a disagreement: Should external providers of preventive maintenance be on your ASL? AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 5
C ISO/ IEC 17021 Resource requirement (need help) Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 5
D Supplier Quality level category help - high level ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 6
D Amendment Class II - Please confirm if the submission is by email (Canada) - Help Canada Medical Device Regulations 0
T ISO/IEC 17065 certification scheme Help Other ISO and International Standards and European Regulations 7
T Help to Suggest name for a new certification and inspection company Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 7
SocalSurfer AS9100 new certificate, but need QMS software, help Quality Assurance and Compliance Software Tools and Solutions 2
L Manufacturing Process Audit Help IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 6
M Case study help as per ISO 9001: 2015 ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 18
M Case study solution help required as per ISO 9001 : 2015 ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 1
A Beginners help with ISO3951-2 Combined control s-method n>5 what is Phi ?? Inspection, Prints (Drawings), Testing, Sampling and Related Topics 0
MDD_QNA Medical Device Software - Is a Help Button required? IEC 62304 - Medical Device Software Life Cycle Processes 1
S Need help with analysing a survey on minitab Using Minitab Software 1
M Help me improve the definition for internal PPM Manufacturing and Related Processes 3
I Help: QFD House of Quality Quality Tools, Improvement and Analysis 1
C New to Site - Request Help with API Q2 Implementation Oil and Gas Industry Standards and Regulations 9
O Please, help with document on ISO/ TS 17758 and (IDF 87: 1979). Thank you. Manufacturing and Related Processes 1
A Class medical device (MDD) - Classification help EU Medical Device Regulations 1
K A proposal for the model Quality Management - I need help for the project ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 3
A Help with Drawing Review - ISO 9001:2015 ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 6
Q % Study variation low, % tolerance high - GR&R Interpretation help Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 3
R Probability - Need a help to solve the below question Statistical Analysis Tools, Techniques and SPC 5
M Thanks for the help Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 0
Judy Abbott Can any one help me with an urgent BIOCOMPATIBILITY Impact assessment? Internal Auditing 9
A Help establishing regulatory requirements - Plastic dental cartridge syringe US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 0
A Medical Device Contract Manufacturing Requirements and Information - Help wanted ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 5

Similar threads

Top Bottom