Why are selection criteria used?
Selection criteria is a commonly used recruitment
technique in Australia where applicants are required to
provide detailed responses to a series of statements
(typically between 4 and 7 selection criteria).
Government departments (either local, state or federal
government level) follow policies and processes that are
designed to facilitate the recruitment process. The
first step of the recruitment process is to create a
position description outlining the qualifications, knowledge,
skills, abilities and experience a person requires
in order to meet the requirements of the position.
Below are two examples of selection criteria:
|The first example is an administration
related position featuring 6 key skill requirements:
The second example is a management level
position featuring numbered selection criteria:
In some cases position
descriptions will request information regarding both essential and desirable
To be successfully shortlisted by an interview panel, it is critical that
sufficient evidence of your skills and experience is provided through good use
of relevant key phrases
and well written practical examples.
Your goal is to demonstrate clearly to panel members that you are highly
competent at the job.
You must meet the essential criteria
to be considered for a position which is usually established by an interview
panel (typically three people) who read and rate your application by comparing
the content and quality of your application with a checklist of keywords and
phrases. If you do not
meet the essential criteria, you will not be shortlisted
It is not necessary for you to have the qualifications,
knowledge, skills and experience described by the desirable
criteria, but your chances of being shortlisted are
better if you do. Where there are several applicants
who meet the essential criteria, the selection panel
will shortlist on the basis of the desirable criteria.
Selection criteria examples
Apart from qualifications and experience that may be
specific to a particular job, there are several selection
criteria that are common to many government positions.
- interpersonal skills
- negotiation and conflict resolution
flexible and adaptable approach to work
- ICT, computer software and keyboard skills
- knowledge of policies and procedures
- organisational/planning skills
- problem-solving ability
- ability to maintain confidentiality
- ability to work as part of a team
- ability to work independently
- supervisory skills
- verbal communication/interpersonal skills
- written communication skills.
|Note - most government job applicants do not provide enough evidence
to demonstrate they meet the selection criteria!!
Addressing selection criteria - why?
For any government staff vacancy, the
selection panel is required to assess each applicant
in terms of how well they meet the selection criteria.
However, it is not up to the selection panel, who may
have 100 applications to assess, to wade through your
résumé and covering letter trying to find the relevant
information about you that relates to each criterion.
The onus is on you to summarise the relevant information
about yourself and to present it in a form which is
easily accessible to the panel.
Avoid lengthy paragraphs and generalisations without sufficient specific
|TIP - Make sure you include a brief summary at the end of each
selection criteria in bullet format. This makes it easier for
panel members to interpret your application.
This will assist the panel to rate your application
against the selection criteria and against other applicants,
and to decide who to shortlist for interview. Many
good applicants are overlooked because they don't clearly
address the selection criteria and assume that the
panel will be able to read between the lines
in their résumé.
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How to address selection criteria
Format and Layout
There are a number of things you can do to make your
selection criteria statement effective and easy for
the selection panel to read.
- Make it a separate attachment from your
résumé and covering letter.
- Address each criterion separately:
- give each selection criteria (also called key
selection criteria) a title, using exactly the same wording
as appears on the selection criteria form, e.g. 'Excellent
verbal communication skills'
- list each criterion in the same order as the
- between three quarters to one page is good length
(including your summary bullet list)
- Ensure your name and the position
reference number appears in a footer
Your statement addressing the selection criteria needs
to demonstrate how your previous experience, skills,
education and training have equipped you to meet the
requirements of the position.
Below are some suggestions for what to include in the
statement you write for each criterion.
- Highlight your relevant skills and experience by describing
your major responsibilities in current or previous employment
(this may include relevant non-paid work). Where possible,
mention the same kinds of tasks and responsibilities
as are listed in the advertised duty statement. For
- Include principles and processes
- 'When communicating with staff I consistently utilise a range of techniques
and principles including active listening, effective verbal and non verbal
communication and confirmation of messages through feedback and questioning.'
Include references to procedures and legislation
- 'In my role as data quality officer, I applied
principles and guidelines from the public servce act, financial management act
and privacy guidelines including........'
- Indicate the extent of your experience in relation
to a particular criterion, e.g. number of years' experience,
number of staff supervised, etc. For example:
- 'I have over four years' experience using Microsoft
Word on a daily basis. I am able to use advanced
features of the program, such as ....'
- 'I am responsible for supervising the day-to-day
work of five staff ....'
- This is very useful if you want to emphasize
that you have significant experience.
- Briefly give details of one or two
specific tasks and roles you've participated in that are good examples of your ability
to meet the criterion. For example:
- 'I was responsible for organising a large
attended by 200 staff. This involved ....'
- 'My ability to work well in a team was demonstrated
- Where possible, indicate how successfully you meet
the criterion. You could do this by referring to feedback
you've received from others, or things you've set up
that are still being used. For example:
- 'A report I wrote about .... was well received
by the .... Committee, and circulated as a discussion
- 'The accounting spreadsheet system I introduced
two years ago is working effectively and staff say
that they find it easy to use.'
- Mention any relevant qualifications and training you
have, particularly if your experience is limited.
These might include:
- details of any relevant training courses you've
attended, such as 'Effective Communication at Work',
or 'Introduction to Microsoft Excel'
- subjects studied as part of award courses, such
as bookkeeping, office practice, etc.
Providing Additional Evidence and Information
At the end of your selection criteria statement you
may like to add any extra information that you believe
is relevant to the job. Examples of things
you could mention include:
- skills and abilities which you think are important
and which haven't been mentioned in the selection criteria,
e.g. 'flexibility', 'ability to maintain confidentiality'
Make sure that any information you include is directly
relevant to the position.
- knowledge or experience you have which you
believe is important to the job, e.g. knowledge of particular government systems, policies or procedures.
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Selection Criteria Example
An example of a selection criteria statement is
outlined below. (note, this example has been modified to enable use as generic
SELECTION CRITERIA EXAMPLE
SC 4 Exemplifies personal drive, integrity
and resilience under difficult circumstances
My career to date involving diverse roles such as training, customer
relationship management and team based service delivery models have enabled me
to develop excellent personal and professional skills.
With a demonstrated record of integrity, consistency and a focus on quality
service and outcomes, I possess practical experience and a range of professional
skills and strengths based on the principles of government legislation including
the Australian Public Service Act and Anti discrimination/Equal Employment
I possess proven experience and am highly competent in achieving outcomes and
demonstrating behaviours consistent with Australian Public Service values and
conduct requirements such as:
Responsiveness and accountability
Providing service that is fair, effective, courteous, impartial and
Focusing on results and outcomes consistent with priorities
Ensuring compliance with applicable statutory requirements including
laws, policies and procedures
Willing participation in performance management and measurement
Respect and appreciate diversity of colleagues and clients
Providing due care and consideration of decisions and actions being
mindful of short and long term consequences
Establishing professional relationships that build trust and confidence
Work Ethics and Integrity
The following are examples demonstrating my personal and professional skills in
relation to work ethics and integrity:y:
As a Project Manager I undertook a range of processes including the fostering
of relationships, effective communication channels, frequent participation in
peer and supervisor feedback and evaluation
In the role of Learning and Development Manager I supervised customer service
and telemarketing staff providing a hands on leadership approach through example
focusing on positive outcomes and proactive problem solving
Example 3 here
Resilience Under Difficult Circumstances
Based on my extensive and diverse customer service experience, I have developed
broad skills in relation to delivering high quality customer outcomes. Processes
and principles I utilise include:e:
A consistently friendly, professional and impartial service to internal and
Demonstrating a solution focussed approach
Use of verbal and non verbal communication styles that build rapport and
Sensitivity to social and cultural differences (eg: non English speaking
Provide clear and concise information regarding options and alternatives
The capacity to diffuse difficult situations through a range of skills
including effective questioning, empathy, paraphrasing, feedback and
An example of when I achieved a positive outcome in a difficult situation is
where___________. The strategies and steps I implemented to address this
situation included________. The outcome of the steps and processes I utilised
resulted in _________._.
Demonstrated highly competent skills and ethics consistent with APS
Excellent customer service and proven ability to provide resilient service in
difficult and demanding environments