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.
One approach for structuring your responses, and ensuring you are providing enough evidence, is the STAR method.
Read all the information you have about the job and the employer, including the advertisement, the job description and list of duties.
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.
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.
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.
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.