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A competency is a measurable pattern of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully. Competencies specify the "how" of performing job tasks, or what the person needs to do the job successfully.

Competencies are used for:

  • assessing and selecting candidates for a job;
  • assessing and managing employee performance;
  • workforce planning; and
  • employee training and development.

OPM’s MOSAIC Studies and Competencies

OPM has been conducting Governmentwide occupational studies using its Multipurpose Occupational Systems Analysis Inventory - Close-Ended (MOSAIC) methodology for more than two decades. MOSAIC, a multipurpose, survey-based occupational analysis approach, is used to collect information from incumbents and supervisors on many occupations for a wide range of human resource management functions.

Through these studies, OPM has identified the critical competencies and tasks employees need to perform successfully in nearly 200 Federal occupations, as well as for leadership positions.

The foundation of the MOSAIC approach is the common language (that is, common tasks and competencies) used to describe all occupations included in the study. Furthermore, it provides agencies with a basis for building integrated human resource management systems that use a common set of tasks and competencies to structure job design, recruitment, selection, performance management, training, and career development so that employees receive a consistent message about the factors on which they are selected, trained, and evaluated.

For more information regarding MOSAIC, please refer to Appendix F of the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook.

Many of these MOSAIC studies are available for your use:

Competency Tools

The following tools have been created to make it easier for you to view, explore, and use MOSAIC competencies:

  • This document, MOSAIC Competencies, contains a comprehensive listing of all the MOSAIC competencies OPM has used. The table of contents is linked to an alphabetical listing of the competencies for ease of use.
  • Would you prefer to search and/or sort all of the MOSAIC competencies? Use this MOSAIC Competencies Workbook to locate, search, and sort the MOSAIC competencies as needed.
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