Career advice: competencies & values

Sometimes people assume that the competencies they are good at will also bring the most job satisfaction. According to consultant Katja Oostergetel, a career choice based on talents alone is not a good idea. Professional career advice takes into account a complex but enlightening interplay of capacity, talents, developed competencies and motivations. In this article, she explains.


Talents and competencies

Based on a reliable and valid instrument for mapping personality traits, competencies can be identified that are related to them. Because these competencies fit the personality, they are competencies that could be called "talent. Employing or developing the competency comes easily to the person in question. However, when people have to assess themselves, they sometimes come to very different assessments of competencies on which they score high or low. The comparison of the two is interesting. For example, the comparison can reveal blind spots or make it clear that certain competencies are highly developed through effort and POWER. The comparison shows what the CORE competencies are and where there is POTENTIAL. These are the competencies that can easily be developed by the employee. The comparison also shows where the employee has a RISK. If a large appeal is made to these competencies, it will take more energy and effort to achieve a good result.

Drives or values

In the next step in the study, talent-based competencies are compared to drives, or, the competencies that motivate someone in their job. A match between the motivations, also called career values, and characteristics of a job largely determine the motivation and engagement a person will have in a job. The comparison between those motivations and talents shows what gives someone ENERGY and what competencies they should see reflected in their work to stay motivated.

The VALKUIL are competencies that come easily to him but do not motivate him in his work. Many talented people do what they are good at, but not always what they also enjoy doing. This distinction can be very illuminating and create space for other, more appropriate choices. In the competencies for which the employee is less talented but which do motivate him in his work lies a CHALLENGE. The development of these competencies will take effort, because the employee has less talent for them. But because it does bring pleasure, it can be very rewarding. A RISK here is formed by competencies that do not motivate and for which the employee also has no aptitude.


A personality assessment cannot tell whether a person is also intelligent, although some competencies do seem to be related to intelligence. How developable or useful certain competencies are depends on the intellectual abilities a person may possess. Also, intelligence is a predictor when it comes to the degree of complexity a person can grasp in performing a given task.

Education level is the most commonly used indicator for estimating someone's intelligence level when selecting personnel, for example. Because jobs at the WO+ level are scarce, jobs offered are often classified as VMBO, MBO, HBO, WO level. Those who do function at the WO+ level and would like to work run a high chance of finding work that requires adjustments to expectations. The comparison of (natural) talents with developed competencies and motives provides insight into whether this can cause problems and in what area these bottlenecks can be expected. By gaining insight into this, workable and valuable choices can be made. When the educational level does not match the suspected work and thinking level, a capability test is valuable. In this way, in combination with other factors, sound advice can be drawn up for appropriate career choices.


While using natural talents takes little energy, they only motivate if they also align with personal values. Also, not every natural talent is also developed at a professional level. Some of the natural talents will have to be seen as potentials and can only be used professionally if they are given attention and time to grow. And furthermore, sometimes we are very good at things that do not give us energy. Instruments that especially bring out talents can give you a boost in self-confidence, though, and it can be incredibly fun to take such a survey once. But professional career advice takes into account the complex but enlightening interplay of capacity, talents, developed competencies and motivations.

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