The Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) an employee needs to meet the requirements of a job. When an employee carries all of the necessary KSAs for a role, they have the capacity to perform very well in this position.

When submitting a job application, there must be an indication that the candidate possesses the KSAs specified for the role. From the perspective of human resources, the request for these skills will be beneficial as it can facilitate an interviewer in determining if applicants have achieved particular skills.

A stand-out example of a body that regularly uses KSAs to filter job applications is the US Federal Government. Any individual applying to work for the government will be asked to demonstrate a list of quality ranking factors. With evidence of the necessary KSAs, a candidate will be considered for the next stage of the hiring process.

Any time that there is a vacancy announcement, it is advised that the hiring company also specify their desired KSAs. Within the job posting, it will be mutually beneficial to promote the company's desire to see any KSAs demonstrated through qualifying evidence. This way, to avoid any manipulation of data, each job applicant must be able to provide specific evidence for how they developed a particular set of knowledge, skills and abilities. By insisting that job applicants make reference to their experiences it will lead to a better yield of stronger and more suitable candidates.

Breaking down the KSAs

We can take a look at what each specific element of knowledge, skills and abilities KSAs is referring to:

Knowledge is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a particular activity or function. Factual or procedural knowledge can be accumulated through education and in service. It refers to the notion that an individual has had experience in a particular subject that has enabled them to grasp a strong understanding of it.

Skills pertain to the capacity to perform an observable competence. These can be manual, verbal and mental skills that cover a whole host of requirements. Skill sets vary by individual and are becoming increasingly important for human resources. With a good understanding of an individual's skill set, one is able to delegate particular roles and tasks based on their recognized skills.

Ability refers to the capacity to perform an observable behavior. Abilities must be demonstrated through manual, verbal or other methods of practice. An example might be seen in a job interview, where a candidate is asked to perform a specific task that requires the necessary abilities for the role.


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