'Demonstrated Ability' in Selection Criteria

More often than not, when you are applying for a government job you will come across the selection criteria that asks for your demonstrated ability in something. 

Your demonstrated ability will include abilities that are quantitative (or measurable) such as engineering abilities, computer abilities, mathematical abilities etc. It can also include more conceptual abilities (which are harder to measure) such as interpersonal and negotiation abilities, strategic planning abilities etc.

Demonstrate is defined as:
"Clearly show the existence or truth of (something) by giving proof or evidence.
Give a practical exhibition and explanation."

How do you do this when writing selection criteria statements? How can you clearly show that what you're saying about yourself is true, and how can you give a practical exhibition ... in writing?

When going through their initial training all recruitment consultants (and most selection panel members) are taught that past behaviour will predict future behaviour. So your task here, is to show the panel what your past behaviour is. If a criterion asks about your ability to do something, give an example of where you have done it in the past. Show, through practical examples, your level of ability.

Here Are Some Examples

Demonstrated ability to work independently.

If you are addressing a selection criterion like this one you would need to show the following in your statements addressing the selection criteria:

  • That you have the ability make independent decisions.
  • That you can control your own actions during stressful or busy periods.
  • That you do not mention referring to your supervisor within your responses.
  • Provide examples that demonstrate your ability of where you have achieved results as an individual.
  • Show that you are able to identify and use support systems to alleviate stress.
  • Demonstrate the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Show that you are able to plan, organise and prioritise work.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of your own limitations and have strategies for overcoming these.
  • Show that you are confident in your abilities.
  • Demonstrate with examples that you work regularly and consistently without supervision.

Demonstrate an ability to think strategically.

If you are addressing a selection criterion like this one you would need to show the following in your statements addressing the selection criteria:

  • Demonstrate that you can anticipates issues
  • Show that you have assessed emerging issues and trends in the workplace
  • Give examples of where you have considered long term opportunities and potential areas of change
  • Demonstrate the ability to builds organisational capacity
  • Show that you can capitalises on your work areas strengths and opportunities
  • Give consideration to the government agenda and demonstrate that you can focus on aligning organisational requirements with government requirements
  • Show that you are able to link strategy with medium and long term requirements and organisational objectives, and develops long term solutions
  • Show that you are aware of the importance of promoting the vision and the mission of the organisation
  • Display a proactive and forward thinking approach with good levels of judgement when decision making
  • Communicate at the big picture level
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognises, harnesses and seizes opportunities

Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team environment.

If you are addressing a selection criterion like this one you would need to show the following in your statements addressing the selection criteria:

  • Asks others for input and shares ideas
  • Collaborates with the team
  • Cooperates with others
  • Balances the needs of the team
  • Respects different viewpoints and ideas
  • Accepts changes in the make-up of the workforce
  • Treats each team member equitably
  • Finds ways and time to coach others
  • Forges links with other teams and business areas

free selection criteria examples

The "Kind" of Selection Criteria Matters

There are 5 types of selection criteria, and these are all skills and abilities criteria.

When addressing a skills and abilities criteria you should answer these questions:

  • What are the most important skills, related to this criteria, that are needed to succeed in this job?

    While you won't be writing about this directly in your selection criteria statements, it is essential to have the answers to this question so that you can demonstrate your skills within the context of the job that you are applying for. This shows that panel that you understand the role, what is required and how you can meet their needs. (Most applicants forget to answer criteria within the context of the role they are applying for, but the best applicants always do).

  • What do you bring to the table in terms of these skills and abilities?

    This is where you let your skills and abilities shine, and show the results that you have achieved for your former employers.

  • How have you improved your performance in these areas?

    By answering this question you are showing the panel that you are committed to learning and improving, that you are able to easily adapt to a new role and you will have a limited training liability if selected for the job.

More Help With Your Job Application:

How to make sure your selection criteria are pitched at the right level

Questions you should ask before applying for a government job