Selection criteria – an overview

selection criteria

Selection criteria are most commonly found in Australia in recruitment for government-funded jobs, but sometimes these practices travel across the ditch, so a brief outline will help you understand what is required.

Answering selection criteria

Selection criteria contained in the job description describe the particular skills, abilities, knowledge and qualifications (if any) that are required to achieve the outcomes of a job.  Applicants are rated against the criteria to select the best applicant.

The Writing Process

  1. Read the selection criteria carefully.
  2. Identify the specific factors in each selection criterion.
  3. Determine how you meet each criterion.

You can start your statement with ‘I possess a high level of skill in….’

You should then support this statement with evidence, such as ‘In my role of …, I have …’ This is an example of a previous situation where you have demonstrated a particular skill or ability.  You can show what tasks were involved or how you would apply the skill or ability in real life.

Expand your previous statement by describing (step by step) what was involved in the process.

You should then provide support or evidence of achievements, such as ‘the attached statement from …’; ‘this resulted in…’; ‘I have improved…’ These are the results or outcomes of your supporting statement and show how you were successful.

  1. Check you have used positive and specific language.  Instead of saying “We produced a newsletter”, outline precisely what you did, for example, “I formatted and edited the newsletter’.
  2. Check that you have addressed the specific factors under each criterion.
  3. Check that you have not undersold or oversold yourself.



  • Where appropriate, use bullet points in your answers to help with clarity – it will make your application easier to read. Remember, some points will need to be expanded on in more detail.
  • If your responses are lengthy, place each selection criterion on a separate page with the selection criterion stated at the top of every page.


  • Although there are no hard and fast rules, the suggested length of the response should be between one paragraph and ½ page per selection criterion.
  • As a guide, the more senior the role or more complex the selection criteria, the more detailed your response should be.

Other Presentation Tips

  • Put your name, vacancy reference number and page number on each page.
  • Ensure there are no errors (e.g. telephone numbers and e-mail addresses) and that your sentences are grammatically correct.
  • When sending applications by e-mail, avoid fancy fonts that may not be part of the recipients’ library.