Updating Results

Selection criteria

Most application processes involve addressing a set of qualities and skills. Here are some suggestions for tackling them.
Selection criteria

What are they?

Selection criteria are personal qualities, skills, abilities, knowledge and qualifications that employers require for a role. 

They are used to identify the most suitable person by helping differentiate between candidates and providing a more detailed picture of someone’s abilities in relation to the position.

Selection criteria might appear under a separate heading in the selection documents or may be implied in more general statements such as ‘What we look for’. Either way, you need to show that you are the best candidate for the job, based on your past experience as well as behaviour.

Employers expect you to provide evidence to support your claims. To respond successfully, you need to use examples from your past experience to demonstrate how you have developed and applied these skills. 

Top tips for success

  • Selection criteria should be addressed in a separate document, unless otherwise noted.
  • Use each criteria as a heading. 
  • Use the most recent examples when you can.
  • If you have a particularly strong example to use, use it early; there is no guarantee the employer will read all your criteria.
  • Use ‘I’ not ‘we’, particularly in teamwork examples. Talk about your specific contribution.
  • Use numbers to quantify your responses and outcomes where possible – How much? How many?
  • Highlight results whenever possible.

Using the STAR approach

One approach for structuring your responses, and ensuring you are providing enough evidence, is the STAR method.

  • Situation – Describe the situation, professional role or context you were in.
  • Task – State the tasks, challenges or problems you faced in that situation.
  • Action – Be specific when describing actions you took. Use a distinct example and where possible, quantify with numbers. This will assist the panel to visualise the scenario.
  • Result – Refer to the outcomes you achieved – and point to evidence to show this was the case.

Gather information

Read all the information you have about the job and the employer, including the advertisement, the job description and list of duties.

Match the criteria to your skills

Read each criterion carefully and highlight or underline the skills it is asking for – there may be more than one and you need to respond to each component.

Brainstorm

Think about specific examples from your life or work experience that show how you meet the criteria. 

For example: ‘Provide an example of using initiative.’

Your response could refer to when you worked as a barista in a popular café and suggested an online ordering system for frequent customers in response to lengthy queues at peak hours. Don’t forget to note that your idea was implemented by your manager and led to a 40 per cent reduction in wait time for your best customers.

Write

Using a range of relevant and specific examples, explain how your study, work and other activities have given you the knowledge, skills and experience that meet the criteria. Highlight the link between what you have done and how it relates to the role. 

Use active rather than passive language (and avoid wordy and passive phrasing such as ‘I was required to…’). Don’t just present a list of what you have done; explain how you did it.

Review and submit

Let your work sit, and then come back to it with a fresh eye. Have you provided the information that shows you are the best candidate for the job? Have you covered all the points? Finally, proofread and have someone else read it and give you feedback.