How to Address and Understand Selection Criteria
Our selection criteria guide has been prepared to help you understand what selection criteria are and how to write selection criteria. Our selection criteria examples have been chosen to help you craft your statement of claims and get noticed by your future employer.
Preparing a complete job application is definitely worthwhile, but on the other hand it takes plenty of time and effort. We encourage you to call to our selection criteria, resume and cover letter writing services, to check our sample cover letters and to let us write the right cover letter for your resume. The professional writers at Resume Services Australia can also assist you in addressing selection criteria and preparing a complete and compelling job application.
Addressing selection criteria is compulsory in Australian government job applications, but selection criteria can also be found in job advertisements from the private sector. Many candidates feel uncomfortable with writing their statement of claims, because it requires them to make additional efforts when preparing their job application, besides writing the resume and the cover letter. Is this endeavour worthwhile? Our answer can only be positive.
Why not transform selection criteria into your key advantage and use them to feel more confident and prepared during job interview? Aside from meeting a mandatory requirement, you will be showing the recruiter you are the right candidate for the job.
Resume Services Australia has crafted a guide for you helping you to understand and address correctly, selection criteria for Australian jobs.
This guide covers the following:
What are Selection Criteria
Before addressing selection criteria, you need to understand each criterion means. Selection criteria refer to the skills, qualities, qualifications, knowledge and experience that a person needs to have in order to fulfil a role efficiently. Employers use them to identify the right person for the position they are trying to fill.
Whenever you apply to a job, your application is assessed using the selection criteria for that specific role. Recruiters measure your assets against key selection criteria and choose the candidate meeting their requirements to the greatest extent. A few examples of selection criteria are: “computer proficiency”, “excellent negotiation skills”, “demonstrated teamwork skills”, and “security procedures knowledge”. Selection criteria formulation depends on the specific requirements of each job and they are particularly easy to identify in government jobs.
Selection Criteria types
Selection criteria can be divided into important criteria and less important criteria and they can also be separated into essential (must have) criteria and desirable (should have) criteria. Less important and desirable criteria weigh less than the important and essential ones; the strongest job applications manage to meet all of the essential criteria.
Successful candidates address all selection criteria as if they were essential, and moreover, are able to identify different criteria categories in order to understand what kind of information they need to provide:
- Work-related qualities.
For skills and abilities selection criteria, candidates should explain how their skills relate to those required for the role, what transferable skills they have, how they managed to improve their abilities in the past and how they reached proficiency levels. Regarding knowledge selection criteria, it is important to mention where you got your knowledge from, why it is relevant for the position and how you can develop your knowledge even more. When addressing experience selection criteria, candidates need to explain how they gained their experience, how much experience they have and how it could benefit their future employer.
Short paragraphs specifying where and when a qualification was obtained should be sufficient, along with showcasing the areas of study which are relevant for the position you are trying to fill. Work-related qualities are equally important and they often make the difference between candidates. You need to demonstrate with examples qualities such as pro-activity, motivation, ethics, and commitment to workplace values. This type of selection criteria should be addressed in the same thorough and serious manner as skills and abilities.
Why do you have to address selection criteria?
When addressing selection criteria, you will feel more motivated if you bear the next idea in your mind: meeting selection criteria demonstrates you are able to perform the role you are applying for and you showcase your capability by providing specific details about your qualifications and professional experience. At the same time, it is crucial to mention results or success indicators wherever it is possible. The main objective when writing selection criteria is demonstrating that your qualities and past achievements make you suitable for the job.
Addressing selection criteria responses optimizes the recruitment process for employers as well as for candidates. Selection criteria assessment allows employers to compare job applications in an equitable way, using exactly the same eligibility indicators for all candidates. By looking at how you have addressed selection criteria, employers can make an idea of how well you might perform in the role and they can decide more easily what applicants to select for the interview.
There are also benefits for the candidates. Employers displaying eligibility criteria in job advertisements are more transparent and by making their requirements public, they help candidates assess their chances of being selected for a job interview. You don’t waste time applying to jobs which don’t suit your abilities and you know exactly what the recruiters are looking after. Furthermore, it is a lot easier to prepare your job application when you are familiar with job requirements and you know how to promote your personal qualities and expertise in a way that rings a bell to your future employer.
How to identify selection criteria in job advertisements
Selection criteria should be listed clearly in most job advertisements, especially for government jobs. In private sector jobs advertisements, key selection criteria are sometimes not very well defined and you have to read between the lines in order to identify them. A well-defined selection criteria example is “well-developed customer service skills”, but you can come across this criterion in less formal job advertisements, too. For instance, the same selection criterion can be rephrased like this: “the right person for the job should be able to ensure a high customer satisfaction level and handle efficiently customer complaints”.
Some selection criteria can be hidden within the job advertisement, such as the ability to follow instructions. If the employer asks you to contact them via email and you choose to send them a letter instead, you may be failing to meet selection criteria because you don’t follow guidelines precisely. Another situation when you are required to address selection criteria more or less obviously is during job interviews. You should pay attention whenever the hiring manager is asking you a question starting with “Give me an example of how you…” or “Tell me about one time when you…” Whilst many candidates focus on highlighting their past experience and abilities, they tend to overlook those questions which hide selection criteria and are in fact crucial for the outcome of their job application.
How to ask further information about the job
When key selection criteria are not clearly defined within the job advertisement, one possibility is that they are stated in a separate information pack, offering additional details about job requirements. In some cases, you have to call or email the recruiter to get the information pack or at other times you may be referred to a website from where you can download the information.
In the case of private sector employers, there may be no additional pack available. In this case, you can contact the organisation and simply ask for more information. Candidates looking to find out more about the position make a good first impression and a call can help you get your foot in the door while managing to prepare a better job application. Prepare a list of questions before you contact the employer and also be prepared to answer to their questions. Emailing is easier because you don’t have to be spontaneous, but don’t forget to check the grammar and the spelling before hitting the “Send” button.
What the information pack should look like
The information pack can contain extremely useful documentation without whom your job application would be incomplete. Here are some elements and requirements you could find in the information pack:
- A complete position description;
- Information about the organisation;
- Contact details and instructions on how to find the company’s location;
- A statement of claims addressing the selection criteria or evidence in support of selection criteria;
- The resume and the cover letter;
- A copy of your driver’s license;
- A copy of your citizenship certificate;
- A list of referees;
- Remember that the ability to follow guidelines is a hidden criterion.
Applying to jobs which ask you to address selection criteria
The first step when applying to jobs which ask you to address selection criteria is reading carefully the advertisement several times. Make sure you don’t miss any requirement; otherwise your effort of applying to the job will be useless. The next thing that a good candidate should consider is thinking how the organisation would benefit by employing him or her, given selection criteria. Many people overlook important qualities or miss selling points because they don’t take into consideration exactly what the employer is looking for. Being modest is never a good strategy. Find the common denominator between you and the organisation and make the best use out of it.
What is the statement of claims?
The statement of claims is an important part of your job application, aside from the resume and the cover letter. The statement of claims is a document where you address selection criteria and demonstrate how your skills and experience recommend you for the role. In public sector jobs, the statement of claims is considered more important than the resume and the cover letter, but this doesn’t mean you should neglect the other two documents.
The format for the statement of claims can be often drafted by the employer and you may be required to fill in a form. If not, you can craft your own statement of claims. Mention each criterion as a heading and give your answer underneath. In some cases, selection criteria writing can feel like taking an exam. A criterion may include multiple sections, and you may have to break it into categories and ensure you address each section.
Whatever you do, never address a criterion with a phrase such as “please see cover letter”, or your application will be rejected because you have not followed guidelines correctly.
If you are not comfortable with addressing selection criteria, you can call to a selection criteria writing service such as Resume Services Australia, which helps you prepare your job application, from creating your resume to writing your statement of claims in a way that gets you noticed by your future employer.
Addressing selection criteria using the STAR model
Selection criteria must be addressed providing specific situations and examples. Thus, the prospective employer can see how you may use your skills in your next role by evaluating how you have previously met certain selection criteria. Here is how you can answer selection criteria using the STAR approach:
- S – Situation. Start by giving details about the context, such as where you were studying or working;
- T – Task. Give an example of a task you were required to perform in that situation;
- A – Action. Describe in a concise manner the steps you took to complete the task;
- R – Result. Explain what happened as a result of your actions. You should focus on positive results and show what benefits you can offer to your future employer.
How to answer to selection criteria using the STAR model – Examples
Besides using the STAR method for selection criteria writing in order to showcase your abilities and demonstrate how your future employer could benefit from them, you also need to consider the length of your answer. Sometimes you may be provided with guidelines or a template helping you estimate the right length of the answer. If not, remember that shorter answers are accepted for entry-level positions and that you should give more details if you have extensive experience and you are applying for a senior-level job.
Here is an example applying for an entry level position:
“Selection criterion: Teamwork skills
While I was studying at the University, I had a part-time job at a local supermarket as a courtesy clerk. My duties were helping customers bag their items, carrying bags to the car, offering information about products and services, promoting discounts, placing products on the supermarket’s shelves and keeping the check-out area clean.
While performing this role, I always focused on communicating clearly and being helpful and polite to customers. I supported my colleagues by ensuring that the premises were clean, customers were served irreproachably and the customers flow at the pay office was fluidised. This was especially important in busy periods, such as holidays, week-ends and in the afternoon.
I supported the team by assisting cashiers in performing their tasks and I also took over less desirable tasks, such as cleaning spills or retrieving products to their place on the shelves when my other colleagues were unavailable or busy with serving customers.
As a result of my effective teamwork skills, customer satisfaction improved and there were no long queues at the pay office. I was named “Employee of the Month” two times during my experience as a Courtesy Clerk and I consider that the teamwork skills acquired while performing that particular role will continue to benefit my career and my future employers.”
Here is another example for an entry-level candidate:
“Selection criterion: Excellent leadership skills
My strong leadership skills were demonstrated while studying Public Relations at the University of Canberra. I was part of the Public Relations Students Association and after several months of membership I was elected as head chief.
There was one particular situation when I used my leadership abilities. Our association was taking part into a project where teams from various universities were asked to create an awareness campaign whose objective was to promote wildlife conservation in Australia. I immediately signed up for the project together with several other colleagues and they proposed me to become the leader of the team. During the two weeks we had at our disposal to design the campaign, I developed and supported the project, both by helping create the public relations strategy and by organizing the team. I assigned tasks, set deadlines, encouraged and motivated the team and solved conflicts in an amiable way. As a result, the team’s productivity was high, its members were very creative and our campaign was awarded with the first prize.
After the project was over, I served as head chief of the association for a year and afterwards I continued to fulfil various roles in the Association until I ended my studies.”
Words you should use or avoid when addressing selection criteria
When writing your statement of claims, use strong action words, such as: “demonstrated”, “analysed”, “initiated”, “reviewed”, “negotiated”, “developed”, “formulated”, “prepared”, “operated”, “recorded”, “trained”, “quantified”, “maintained”, “controlled”, “distributed”, and “sold”, as well as nouns like “efforts”, “knowledge”, “expertise”, “ability”, and “understanding”.
The worst faux-pas when addressing selection criteria are using the negative (avoid words such as “never”) and comparing yourself to others. When you say “I was better than everyone else at communication skills”, you just look arrogant instead of measuring your skills against the required selection criteria.
Checking your statement of claims
Before submitting your statement of claims, perform a double check and look for errors and omissions. Consider the following aspects:
- Write no more than one page for each criterion or make sure your respect the length mentioned in the guidelines;
- Check for typographical, grammar or spelling errors;
- Make sure the formatting matches the resume and the cover letter. Your application should look as a whole and be consistent in terms of fonts and font sizes;
- Verify the accuracy of your answers;
- Eliminate passive language and words that reduce credibility such as “a little” or “somewhat”;
- Make sure your claims are supported by facts. Instead of “My presentation was appreciated by business partners”, opt for “Our business partners decided closing a new deal immediately after my presentation.”
- Check again if you have addressed all the aspects of each criterion. Address every description in additional paragraphs and not only the first descriptor in the selection criterion.
Other models for addressing of selection criteria
If you don’t like the storytelling method, you can choose another model for addressing selection criteria. Mention the selection criterion and give examples using bullets:
“My strong communication skills were demonstrated by:
- Serving as the main speaker in team projects during my university studies;
- Making a presentation at the Annual Students’ Marketing Conference in Paris, in 2010;
- Working as a reporter for a local newspaper while I was a student;
- Working as a receptionist and greeting guests at my first full-time job;
- Serving as the master of ceremonies at corporate parties at my last workplace.”
What if you don’t meet all the selection criteria?
There is no such thing as the perfect candidate and what employers look for is a person who meets essential selection criteria to the highest extent. If you apply for a government organisation, you may be asked to meet all selection criteria. It is advisable to apply if you meet nearly all selection criteria. If you fail to meet essential criteria and you are competing against many other candidates, your chances of landing an interview decrease and it may not be worthwhile applying.
A trap that many entry-level candidates and graduates fall into is feeling that nothing comes into their mind when writing the statement of claims and that they don’t meet certain criteria. In these cases, it is important to give the matter some time and to try some lateral thinking or asking for other people’s opinions. Sometimes friends or co-workers can describe your abilities in a way that you did not consider and find good examples of how you meet a criterion. If you still don’t find the right situation or example to provide an answer, the last solution you can try is giving details about what you intend to do in order to meet that requirement.
Matching your resume and cover letter with selection criteria
Even if the statement of claims, the resume and the cover letter are separate documents, they should be part of the same story. One of the first things you need to consider is using the same formatting style, fonts and font size in all three documents in order to make your job application a cohesive whole.
One thing you absolutely need to avoid is answering a selection criterion with “Please see resume”. It doesn’t matter if repeated information appears throughout your job application; your aim is helping the employer find the data they’re interested in every time they look for it.
Another mistake you should steer clear of is not tailoring your resume to the job application. The statement of claims may respond exactly to job requirements, but this doesn’t mean you should neglect the resume and not craft it according to key selection criteria. The cover letter is the right place where you can include selection criteria that have been overlooked by the employer and comment on additional ways in which you can benefit your future employer. If there is no relevant addition you can think of, the solution is reinforcing your claims and demonstrating a positive and enthusiastic attitude.
One of the easiest ways of obtaining an excellent job application where the resume, the cover letter and the statement of claims complement each other is calling to resume and cover letter services, such as Resume Services Australia. Our professional resume writers are also trained for addressing selection criteria and they will make sure that all the documents in your job application are complete, compelling and match each other.
Job advertisements not asking you to formally address selection criteria
If a job advertisement does not formally require you to meet selection criteria, it is recommended to think of some selection criteria examples by yourself. The recruiter may not ask you to write a statement of claims, but it is very possible to come across selection criteria during the interview, when you will be asked questions such as “How did you demonstrate in the past your abilities to work under pressure?” In conclusion, selection criteria are not an option, but a must for any well-prepared and confident job candidate.
Revising your job application strategy
Writing a statement of claims and addressing selection criteria considerably increase your chances of landing an interview. Nevertheless, if you have not been selected for an interview, you may need to look again at your job application and improve it for the next position you will apply for. If the recruiter provides feedback, it is easier to understand why you have been rejected. Remember that your application is the one being rejected, not you, so you don’t need to take anything personal.
How selection criteria help you prepare the interview
There are multiple ways in which writing a statement of claims and addressing selection criteria helps you prepare the interview. First of all, selection criteria offer you valuable information about the employer’s demands and expectations and you know exactly what to focus on during the interview.
Furthermore, you are less likely to be asked unexpected questions during the interview and you can prepare most of the answers ahead.
Another advantage of selection criteria is that they allow recruiters to select for the interview only those candidates suiting their requirements by and large. When you are called to an interview after submitting a statement of claims, you know from the start that your chances of landing the job are higher compared to incomplete job advertisements where lots of people apply and many are called to the interview without checking beforehand if they really are suitable.
Preparing a complete job application is definitely worthwhile, but on the other hand it takes plenty of time and effort. We encourage you to call to our selection criteria, resume and
cover letter writing services, to check our sample cover letters and to let us write the right cover letter for your resume. The professional writers at Resume Services Australia can also assist you in addressing selection criteria and preparing a complete and compelling job application.
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