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 Selection Criteria


Applying For Jobs Requiring You To "Address The Selection Criteria"


Overview: Introduction to selection criteria

What are selection criteria and how do you apply for a government job

What is the purpose of using selection criteria

How the decision to shortlist an applicant is made 

Selection Criteria Review Service

More Tips

Some strict conditions to adhere to

Check to see if there is a vacancy

Outcome based resume may be required

Review of Write a Winning Job Application : A Guide to Selection Criteria, by Lloyd White


Overview:  Introduction to selection criteria writing


If you applying for jobs within the Australian State or Federal Public Service, Local Government, Statutory Authorities or any funded Government programme or agency, you will have to write a document to "address the selection criteria." 


Selection criteria :-

  • Is a recruitment method designed to find the right person to fill the job.

  • It  ensures that it is an equitable process based on merit.

  • Every applicant will be matched against the selection criterion as set down by the government department or organisation doing the recruiting.

  • It is used by primarily by all levels of government and government funded agencies and statutory authorities.

The process of applying for jobs requiring selection criteria is important and it must be followed.

The advertisement will state that you can send for, or download, the information package. This package is important and must be read carefully. It will contain:

  • A job description and duty statement,

  • Information on the agency or government department,

  • Conditions of employment, selection criteria document

  • Specific instructions on how they want you to address each selection criteria. These can be attributes, skills, knowledge, qualifications, experience and the organisation's values.

Each package may use slightly different language and will provide instructions on how to write "responses to the selection criteria",  "how to address the selection criteria  or "statement of claims against the selection criteria". They all mean the same thing, but you must use the terms or language that has been used in your selection criteria package as a header for your document. If not stipulated, any of these headings are acceptable. 

There is a very specific process involved in writing responses to selection criteria. It isn't easy, even for experience people, and can be very time consuming. If you do not understand how to address the selection criteria correctly and effectively, you really need assistance or you will be wasting your time and energy.

Unless you address the selection criteria correctly, your application will not be assessed. You may have all the qualifications and attributes for the job and may be  a "perfect match". However, if you don't understand how to write a document to address each selection criteria correctly and effectively you will not get an interview.  It is as simple as that.

As you have probably discovered, writing responses or answers to the selection criteria is not easy.  It is a method that has to be learnt.

So have you come to this site hoping we can write your responses to the selection criteria for you? Sorry we can't do it for you.  Why?  Because we do not want to set you up to fail. We do, however, offer a review of your final copy of the responses to the selection criteria.

See here for this selection criteria review service


Pro-Active Human Resource Management will not write your selection criteria for you. Experience has shown that many applicants who received job interviews as a result of using our selection criteria service, failed dismally because they had not been through the writing process and did not understand how to answer questions using the correct process or method.

We always suggest you purchase Lloyd Whites Book comprehensive guide on how to apply for government jobs and how to address the selection criteria (see review) which will give you the skills to write an highly effective and competitive document. If you have never applied for a government job you will need a high level of assistance to address the selection criterion. It is assumed, since you are at this site, you are a novice or just don't have time.

Write a Winning Job Application : A Guide to Selection Criteria
This book contains everything you need to know about how to address the selection criteria.  It shows you how to analyse common key selection criteria questions and provides a foolproof method for answering the criteria.

See a full review of this book here

 What are selection criteria and how do you apply for a government job

Firstly, an explanation of the purpose of using selection criteria needs to be explained and why it is used in applying for a government job.

Ideally, in theory at least, each job will have a duty statement and job description which has been based on a skills analysis for that job. When a position is vacated the employer should re-assess the duty statement and selection criteria to see if anything is changed, and a new duty statement or job description should be written.

These duties should be assessed in the form of competencies and knowledge based on the level of importance to the job, i.e. what percentage of time is spent doing specific tasks.

So selection criterion are based on the job description for a particular position.  They consist of :-

  • The qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience and personal qualities required to carry out the duties of the position.

  • More often these days they contain outcomes to achieve.

The selection criteria is often written in such as way as to test a range of skills such as:-

  • Problem solving,

  • Written and verbal communication

  • Conflict resolution,

  • Team skills

Selection criterion is written to test the applicants ability to do the job.

The applicant needs to demonstrate in their selection criteria responses how they have performed the tasks in the past, what processes they used, and provide a case study example.

Applicants may need to demonstrate that they understand and can work within the values of the organisation, or within a specific environment,

For example,  in health sector, or universities, they must demonstrate they can work within specific legislation and guidelines that regulate these environments. 

In government funded organisations, including private schools, the selection criteria may also include the mission statement or values of the organisation. The applicant will need to demonstrate a knowledge and commitment to these values.

Essential and Desirable Selection Criteria


The selection criteria contains "essential" and "desirable criteria". These are drawn up from the duty statement that shows the value of each skill or knowledge. The applicant must address each selection criteria or the application will be discarded. Sometimes it appears that some question overlap, however, you cannot put “see above”, as many inexperienced applicants do, although it is tempting at times.


This is why it is so important to analyse each selection criteria and Winning Applications shows you how to do this with pages of examples. 

People make the mistake of applying for positions where they do not meet the desirable selection criteria, thinking it is not important.

The importance of desirable selection criteria

This is basically a way to test the market

"Desirable selection criteria" will depend on the employment market and availability of people with skills they require for the essential criteria. When unemployment is low employer's will place less importance on desirable criteria because they may need to entice good applicants outside the public service to apply.

If the employer receives a dozen applicants who meet all essential criteria and all, or some, of the desirable criteria, they will be looked at first and rated against an evaluation matrix. Note: It seem like yesterday when Pro-Active first began our online employment services in 2001 in Western Australia, the selection criteria was the only document that was looked at in public service recruitment.  It could have had 10 -18 criterion to answer.

In 2002 the rules were changed within the Western Australian Public Service. Only 3 mandatory selection criterion, generally based on EEO, OH&S and values of the Department/Organisation or some other criteria, were required.  The Public Service could take into account the cover letter, resume and selection criteria to weigh (compare using a formula)  the applicants against each other.

This is primarily because the process was so time consuming that some public service departments were not attracting quality applicants from the private sector.  However, most departments within the public service still use a lot of selection criterion because this process is easier to administer, is relevant to position (why replace something that works and doesn't need fixing) and ensures  recruitment is  based on merit.

What is the purpose of recruitment using selection criteria

The Public Service (both State or Federal Government Departments), Local Government, Statutory Authorities and Government funded agencies, use selection criteria to fulfill Equal Employment Opportunity principles, and it is supposed to get rid of nepotism and favouritism.  Each permanent job must be advertised, in-house, or in the paper.

Applicants are short-listed based on their ability to convince the selection criteria assessment team that they have the capabilities required to perform the role as set out in a selection criteria document.

The selection criteria process can actually benefit some applicants, because:-

  • It provides applicants the opportunity to address the requirements outlined in the position's job description.

  • Everyone is given equal opportunity to demonstrate that they can meet the job requirements by being asked the same questions in the selection criteria and at the interview.

How the decision to shortlist an applicant is made 

Briefly, the selection assessment team, or even an employment agency representative, will evaluate each application against responses to the selection criteria in order to select candidates who will be short listed for an interview.  There are several ways they will do this and will use some version of a matrix. It is not possible to expand upon the assessment process here, except to say you must address (answer) each selection criteria.

If you are interested you may find other resources advertised on these pages that provide several different selection criteria assessment tools. Try using this Google search box to use terms such as selection criteria + selection tools and selection criteria + assessment tools  or if you need more information on selection criteria in specific occupations search selection criteria + nursing  or selection criteria + teachers

Custom Search


An applicant needs a model for addressing the selection criteria - a guide to look at and follow. Also, unless you know exactly how your selection criteria answers or responses are assessed, you simply cannot write an effective job application and you are wasting your time.

This is why the guide on how to write selection criteria is highly recommended 

Interviews in the Public Service and agencies that recruit by selection criteria method.
If you do get an interview, that required you to write a full set of selection criterion responses, you can be assured that all applicants will be asked the same questions that are directly related to each of the criterionThis makes preparing for the interview much easier. You can prepare your answers by expanding your on your application - that is, what you have already written in your responses to the selection criteria or "Statement Addressing The Selection Criteria". Note: Lloyd White also covers this in his book.
See a review on the book or go straight to suppliers Australia wide

Some other tips

There are strict conditions,

for example, the recruitment office must receive the application by the stated time or it may not be looked at. In some cases an “expression of interest” from internal staff or qualified staff from outside the organisation, can be sufficient to give you extra time.  However, you must discuss this with the human resources department and get their answer in writing. Organisations trying to recruit at a higher level or from outside the public service may consider a late application, but you may be required to write a brief prιcis of your qualifications and  why they should wait for you.

Check to see why there is a vacancy

Ask if anyone is acting in the job and for how longIn some cases the Agency/Dept is looking for new blood or it may just be a formality and the person who has been acting may have a better chance of getting the job. 

Outcome based resumes

In 2006 The Australian Federal Government in began to look at outcome based resumes. This was quite a departure from the competency based approach.  So you can see that they are looking for high performers. Your resume and selection criteria should be outcome based if possible.

Pro-Active Human Resource Management has written many outcome based resumes to be used within Government and all clients have succeeded in getting an interview.

Selection Criteria Review

Pro-Active Human Resource Management  offers a selection criteria review or evaluation service by providing a written or verbal report suggesting ways to improve or strengthen your document, or comment on any other aspects of the selection criteria that may need clarification or backing up. This way it is your document and you are just seeking clarification or an assessment on your responses to the selection criteria.

E-mail us your resume, selection criteria, job description and your selection criteria application. At least 48 hours notice is needed to get it back to you, so please ensure you advise us of the application closing date. Because resume services are heavily booked we may not be able to do it for you in your time-frame. So contact us first.



When we receive your documents we will provide you with a quote for the review. The cost will depend on the level of the job and the complexity of the selection criteria and assistance required to make it a winning application or even an expectable one.  Please note: The cost will also take into account the number of pages in your selection criteria document.


For example, if you have 10 selection criterion, and your responses or answers are a half a page each, there may be at least a quarter of a page per criteria in the evaluation report.  Take into account that the minimum cost for a typist to type one page will be at least $15 -$20. This needs to be taken into account when quoting.


So ensure your document is the final copy and it is the best you can do. The evaluation will be as concise as possible.  Of course, if your selection criteria is ok as it is, there will be no need to write more than one sentence or just one word -"ok".  On the other hand, if your application requires a lot of assistance we may not be able to assist you with a review, or the report will be longer, so will the time spent on the overall review of the document.


Sometimes it is not apparent when first quoting for the job that the answers need a lot of more attention than assessed on a first quick read through. They may not actually answer the question. This reassessment is because a lot of time is spent reading the selection criteria and duty statement and assessing your answers against these documents. This contributes to the overall cost of any selection criteria whether if it is good or not so good. So it is costed in to the price of the review.


If you can't answer each selection criteria adequately, you must consider if it is worth the cost of a review. We give you suggestions only and you will still have to re write the document.


Prepayment is required if we agree to accept the assignment. So please leave plenty of time, and email first to ask if we are available to meet your deadline.


Once again I reiterate, if you have the time please consider learning as much as you can before you attempt to write your answers to the selection criteria - especially if you are a novice.  It really is necessary to have a good guide.

Review of Winning Applications by Lloyd White

Write a Winning Job Application : A Guide to Selection Criteria
This book contains everything you need to know about addressing selection criteria.  It explains how to analyse common key selection criteria questions and provides samples of key selection criteria.

Lloyd White has been training section panels for over 30 years and delivered selection criterion training course for just as long. His guide to selection criteria writing was the first of its kind and has no equal.

This Guide is now in its fourth edition, released in August 2007. His first three books had been the "bible" for people who want to win a Government job - either Federal or State Public Service as well as not for profit organisations, Local Government and Statutory Authorities. The 4th Edition is bigger and more comprehensive. There are 202 pages pack with up to date information.


The contents of this edition cover everything you need to write a winning job application.  It contains:-

  • Everything you need to know about selection criteria.

  • 18 full written samples of key selection criteria responses

  • 31 criteria are explained with a model to follow when you write your responses to the selection criteria.

  • 257 possible interview questions based on 65 of the most common selection criteria
  • 41 selection criteria are broken down into skills and a vocabulary you can use. These are the action words the panel is looking for.

The book requires a good study if you want to get the most out of it so if you are thinking for going for a job requiring selection criteria writing, it is recommended that you get practicing now.  It is not an easy process if you want to do it properly.  There is also a lot of interview information that is very useful for any type of job.

By the way, did you know you get a tax deduction for the book and your resume if your application is for a promotion within your company? Ask us for a tax receipt.

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The Ultimate Guide to Selection Criteria Writing

4th edition


Learn how to address  selection criteria to win

 your next government job.


Suppliers Australia wide


If you want to apply for a government job but don't know how to address the selection criteria effectively, this book takes you step by step through the selection criteria process.

 Selection criteria sample questions and answers.


See a review of this selection criteria book


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