Addressing Key Selection Criteria

If you are asked to address key selection criteria in a job application, this criterion is considered the most important part of your application. Key selection criteria are also your only opportunity to show the employer that you are the best person for the job.

Two or three different people from the organisation usually assess responses to key selection criteria. The assessors use the criteria to assess your qualifications, skills, ability, experience and knowledge. Each of your responses will be scored and the applicants with the highest overall scores are those which get an interview.

Key selection criteria are written to suit the available job. Here are a few of the more common ones:

  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills.
  • Knowledge of human resource management with particular reference to equal employment opportunity and workplace health and safety.

You should read key selection criteria very carefully to determine what each criterion is asking. Your response should relate directly to each criterion, so no waffling – quality, not quantity, counts most! If a selection criteria contains the word ‘demonstrated’, you should have actually performed that activity or used that skill in the past. If ‘knowledge’ is mentioned, then you are expected to have already acquired that knowledge.

Make sure your response to each selection criteria clearly marks why you meet the criteria. You should also provide supporting evidence and examples of personal experience to justify your statements.

Selection criteria are used by some organisations as the basis for the selection panel to short-list applicants for interviews. Key selection criteria summarise the crucial requirements of a position and are a mandatory requirement for selection into the public sector and are becoming increasingly common in the private sector.  The selection panel determines the standards for each selection criterion. Applicants are ranked according to how closely they meet the key selection criteria in comparison to the standards expected by the panel. You must satisfactorily address each selection criterion to be considered for an interview.

Notes to take away

Alternative terms for key selection criteria include:

  • Selection Criteria
  • Selection requirements
  • Requirements of the job
  • Personal requirements
  • Short-list criteria

Key selection criteria may be categorised as mandatory or desirable:

  • Mandatory criteria are considered to be essential.
  • Desirable criteria are those considered to be important but are not essential.

The major types of key selection criteria may relate to:

  • Qualifications – detail educational and professional qualifications
  • Experience – show the extent of direct involvement in an area
  • Knowledge/understanding – outline theory, application and implications
  • Skills – provide details of competency and proficiency
  • Abilities – indicate your potential to develop skills and outline the expertise you have developed
  • Personal characteristics – provide details of the kind of person you are and how well you fit into the environment

Wording used for each selection criterion indicates the level sought for that criterion, for example:

  • Knowledge range may be indicated using: thorough, sound, general, awareness and ability to rapidly acquire knowledge.
  • Skill range required may be indicated using: excellent, highly developed, demonstrated and ability to develop.

Other hints

  • Individually address each criterion under separate headings.
  • Carefully read each selection criterion. Break down each criterion into parts and address every aspect thoroughly.
  • Be aware of key expressions and levels required in each criterion.
  • Use as many concrete examples as possible to support your claim to meet each criterion. Draw examples from your academic, employment and social experience, committee participation, voluntary work, hobbies, etc.
  • If an example applies to a number of selection criteria, include the example under each relevant criterion.
  • Where possible substantiate your examples with indicators of how well you did them. This might include results, comments, extended contracts, happy customers, etc.
  • In your response to the selection criteria do not refer to your resume. If something is relevant in your resume write it into your selection criteria statement.
  • Use good English. Ensure that your application is written clearly and concisely, that it is grammatically correct, and free of spelling errors.
  • Use active rather than passive verbs.

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