Responding to Selection Criteria

Posted June 2nd, 2022

Responding to Selection Criteria. It’s a specialised skill and you’re not alone.

This article with cover how should you respond and address selection criteria.

Firstly, you are required to address each criterion separately, providing enough detail for the panel to assess your abilities in relation to them. While there is no specific word or character limit, the average response should be around 350 -500 words per criterion. The best approach is to 1.Understand the Position description 2. Provide evidence 3. Be positive and specific 4. provide outcomes/results .

  1. Understand the Position Description (PD) It’s important to read the whole of the PD, considering the responsibilities of the job and how they relate to the selection criteria. Make sure you understand what sort of responsibilities relate to every criterion. For example, writing reports, negotiating with colleagues and providing information to clients all relate to a selection criterion based on “communicates effectively”. In your response to that criteria you should therefore cover your experience relating to writing, negotiating and providing information. You should make notes under each selection criteria regarding the types of things you should cover. Inform the panel on what aspects of the criterion you are addressing. For example, the excerpt below from an applicant’s response to the criteria uses the same terms (report writing, negotiating and providing information) to show how their experience relates to the role they are applying for:

“In several positions I was required to negotiate with colleagues and clients in relation to deadlines. for example, while working as an Account’s Assistant with XYZ Company, I had to liaise regularly with clients to negotiate deadlines for payment. I worked in partnership with them, clearly explaining the reasons for the deadline and adopting a flexible attitude if possible. I also ascertained a good understanding of my client’s business to ensure I understood and worked with their needs and their own specific deadlines. As a result of this relationship-building approach, I consistently received payments on time and was therefore able to maintain cash flow and decrease outstanding debts.”

  1. Provide evidence, This is  really important when formulating relevant examples from your work, study, life and/or volunteer experience. Decide which examples ‘fit’ best, then use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Approach and Result) to outline them. The STAR approach ensures that you provide evidence of how you are suitable for the job, not just generic statements. With the example above: The S situation was working as Sales Officer with XYZ.  The task was negotiating the deal, The A approach was explaining the reason for the deadline, being understanding of the client’s needs and adopting a flexible attitude and The R result or outcome was ensuring payments were received on time to prepare and submit the end of financial year  report,  by the required deadline.

Often the difficult part is knowing what examples to use from your work history and what sort of things to emphasize or highlight. You might find that you have too much information to fit into just a couple of pages or you may struggle to write a paragraph. It is best to be concise and avoid going off on tangents. Every bit of information should link to the selection criteria. It must be positive and specific, using positive and specific language and avoiding ambiguous or passive expressions, such as “I was involved in” or “I assisted in”. Use strong action terms and verbs and avoid passive language when describing your qualifications and experience, for example, say “I lead the project” rather than, “As part of my ongoing duties, I participated in the project”. Avoid negative terms, such as “dealing with problems”. Instead, turn it around and couch the phrase as “meeting challenges”or “resolving issues”.

  1. Review your work and once you complete your responses to the selection criteria, go back over your application and check that: · You have covered all aspects of the criteria· The structure of your response to each criterion is logical· The information is concise, there is not extra information that does not relate to the criterion · Your sentences are positive and clear· Your grammar and spelling is correct · The best approach is to ask someone else to read your work and ask that they consider the above points when assessing your response

In Summary, the most important things to remember:

  • Read and understand the whole PD
  • Address all the selection criteria
  • Focus on the criteria based on the Core and Business Enabler Capabilities
  • Give solid examples and don’t forget to outline the results and outcomes
  • Try to keep to around 500 words per criterion · Sell your contribution
  • Read through your work over and over and even have someone else edit and review too! Then press SEND!!

Finally, if this sounds all too difficult we can recommend the services of a resume writer.


Ivana Agapiou career and outplacement consultant and resume writer