explanation of the purpose of using selection criteria needs
to be explained and why it is used in applying for a government
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.
criterion are based on the job description for a
particular position. They consist of :-
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:-
criterion is written to test the applicants ability to do the
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.
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
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
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
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
The importance of
desirable selection criteria
This is basically a way to test the market.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 criterion. This
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".
White also covers this in his book.
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
anyone is acting in the job and for how long. In 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
2006 The Australian Federal Government in began to look at
outcome based resumes.
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.
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
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
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
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
Write a Winning Job
Application : A Guide to Selection Criteria
This book contains
everything you need to know about addressing
It explains how to analyse common
key selection criteria questions and provides samples of key selection
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.
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.
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.
interview questions based on 65 of the most common 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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