5 Ways to Improve Your Selection Criteria Responses

1.  Plan your selection criteria responses, don't just sit and write.

Planning your selection criteria responses is a crucial step in ensuring that you demonstrate what the selection panel want to know, and in the way they want to know it. If you don't plan, your responses will turn out to be sloppy, difficult to make sense of and easy to forget. Everything you don't want!

Key steps in planning your selection criteria responses include:

  • Understanding why each criteria is important in the job, and conveying this understanding with relevant examples.
  • Developing an understanding of what your strengths are relating to each criterion and expressing these with relevant examples.

(Our ebook "The Selection Criteria Coach" has a 5 step plan and lots of tools to help you do this easily).


2.  Fill your application with lots of examples, but not any kind of examples.

Make sure your examples are not only relevant to the type of job your are applying for, but also the level of the job your are applying for.

This is one of the most common mistake that job applicants make. Your examples need to resonate with the selection panel, and in order for this to happen your examples needs to be:

  1. High level.
  2. Demonstrating appropriate knowledge, skills or experience.
  3. Relevant to the specific duties of the position.

Most applicants forget to make the match between the selection criteria and the context of the position. This can happen if you are cutting and pasting between applications, or sometimes you might be so immersed in writing about your current (or previous) job you fail to remember the needs of the job you are applying for.

For a strong application, make sure you are meeting the match between the position, the type of selection criteria you are addressing and the context of the position (see the below diagram).


selection criteria response tips

3.  Use the keywords and language from the selection documentation.

This will make your responses appear more relevant to the position. The use of keywords is important for two reasons:

  1. Firstly, it demonstrates to the panel that you are familiar with the position and the requirements of the position.
  2. Secondly, it aligns your knowledge, skills and abilities with the knowledge, skills and abilities required in the position.

Doing this is practice could be as simple as going through the selection documentation (job ad, selection criteria and position description) and highlighting the key words or phrases that are used, and then mirroring this language in your written responses.


4. Delete all theoretical statements.

If you come across any theoretical statements when you proof read your selection criteria responses - delete them!

Unless it is a 'knowledge' selection criteria and it is obvious in the selection documentation that the selection panel are only wanting to hear about what you know, you should not include any theoretical statements, at all. Even if it is a 'knowledge' criteria, back up your theory with evidence of how you've used it in the work place.


5.  Don't use the STAR method when writing your responses.

A lot of government, resume and career development websites recommend using the STAR approach when writing selection criteria. However, this is an outdated way of addressing selection criteria and most people who win a job don't use this way of writing their responses.

The websites that suggest it are usually also old and haven't been updated to take into account more modern approaches for writing job applications, or reflect what is currently happening around the shortlisting table.

While the STAR approach might help you to get your selection criteria responses down on paper and can be a good way to get your writing started, it will provide a second class application that won't compete with the best application writers. You can read more about the STAR approach here, how to use it and how to improve upon it.


star method for selection criteria

Selection Criteria Examples




Our ebook Selection Criteria Exposed contains 200 examples of statements addressing selection criteria. It has been produced for applicants in a hurry, and without the time to spend writing lengthy selection criteria statements. Take a look!


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