Selection Criteria Types

Selection criteria (criteria is plural, criterion is singular) represent the skills and abilities, knowledge, experience, qualifications and work related qualities a person needs to perform a role effectively. They set out the standards by which each candidate will be assessed and are used to identify the best person for the job.

As a general rule, criteria can be divided into five categories.

1.    Skills and abilities.
This can include technical skills which are generally quantitative (or measurable) such as engineering skills, computer skills, mathematical abilities etc. It can also include more conceptual skills (which are harder to measure) such as interpersonal skills, negotiation skills, strategic planning abilities etc.

This can include selection criteria such as:

  • Well-developed oral and written communication skills, and a demonstrated ability for liaison, negotiation and representation.
  • Sound research and written skills and the ability to prepare written briefs and  associated reports.
  • Significant managerial ability, including the ability to develop local strategies; set priorities, procedures and work practices; allocate resources; and monitor work flow
  • Strong organisational skills including the flexibility to operate independently
    or as a member of a self-directed team.

2.    Knowledge.
Knowledge is the accumulation of understanding acquired through education, training or through on the job experience. Some jobs are very specialised and require an in-depth knowledge of a narrow area while other jobs require a broader understanding of a variety of areas. Criteria that specify knowledge are saying that if a candidate does not have the knowledge in question they would not be capable of doing the job. For this reason some criteria use the phrase “or the ability to quickly acquire” at the end of the statement.

This can include selection criteria such as:

  • Possess an understanding of modern business and quality management processes, and in particular the development and validation of corporate plans and Performance Management techniques.
  • A thorough understanding of and commitment to contemporary management practices including Equity, ID, OH&S and Continuous Improvement.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to contemporary management practices.

3.    Experience.
Experience criteria look for evidence of competencies through action.  These criteria should not define the number of years required in a particular industry or position, as experience does not necessarily correlate with performance.  For example, someone who has been a mechanic for 10 years is not necessarily a good mechanic.  There may be other ways to look for other indicators of capability rather than specifying quantities of experience. 

This can include selection criteria such as:

  • Experience in change management.
  • Extensive project management experience.
  • Experience using CAT2 implementation software.
  • Experience in promoting organisational renewal.
  • Experience in and contribution to a major change initiative.

4.    Qualifications.
A qualification can be a license, rating, registration, membership of a professional body, trade or educational qualification.  Only those qualifications needed by employees during the course of their employment can be included as mandatory qualifications and where a qualification is essential it must be specified in the selection documentation.  Qualifications can be noted as “desirable”, and can only be noted as mandatory at certain levels.

This can include selection criteria such as:

  • Qualifications in project management
  • Member of the Management Council of Australia
  • Postgraduate qualifications in the social sciences
  • A forklift license
  • Engineering qualifications and progression towards the appropriate certification

5.    Work related qualities.
Work related qualities can include things like initiative, motivation, adaptability to change and commitment. Criteria that address work related qualities will often be criteria that ask for commitment to a set of workplace values, a code of ethics, a code of conduct or ask an applicant to demonstrate a personal work style that includes using initiative, being proactive or displaying a particular focus or motivation (for example a “strong customer service focus”).

This can include selection criteria such as:

  • Demonstrated initiative and the ability to organise work and set priorities.
  • Personal qualities embracing initiative, motivation and enthusiasm together with sound investigative and analytical skills and judgement.
  • Well developed problem solving skills.

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