HOW TO RESPOND TO YOUR SELECTION CRITERIA
HOW TO RESPOND TO YOUR SELECTION CRITERIA
Landing your dream job can be a challenging process. You need to have the right skills, experience, and network to get your dream job. But often, that isn’t enough to assure you of a place in the final round of interviews.
The competition is tough, and you need to stand out from the crowd to be successful. Having a professional resume and cover letter are essential first steps, but you will be asked to answer key selection criteria questions in many cases. The way that you are responding to key selection criteria can be what makes or breaks your chances of getting the job.
This guide will teach you how to answer key selection criteria questions to interest recruiters and hiring managers who are looking for candidates just like you.
What is Key Selection Criteria?
Key selection criteria are standards used to choose the best candidate for a position based on qualifications, experience, and education. They can also be based on personality traits or other important factors to the company hiring process.
The most important thing you need to know when answering key selection criteria is that they are not always objective. Employers may use them to screen out candidates who don’t match their idea of what makes someone suitable for the job – even if those candidates have better qualifications than others on paper. This means it is crucial to understand how employers might interpret your application before submitting it.
Get to understand the CAR model in your key selection criteria response
The CAR model is a simple way of making decisions when faced with choices or options like key selection criteria responses. CAR is a 3-step process in the form of stories and statements about the things you have done and the results you have achieved. Itstands for:
Challenge: Outline your previous roles and responsibilities and when, where, and how these skills were applied in a work environment. Describe the job, project, or challenges presented to you and how you used your skills to solve these problems.
Action: Go into a little more detail about how you completed the task or solved the problem, including what steps you took, how you applied them and how this relates to the key selection criteria being asked.
Result: Describe what outcomes or benefits resulted from the actions you took and quantify these results where possible.
How to Answer Key Selection Criteria Questions
The first thing you should do before responding to key selection criteria is read the question carefully and understand what they are asking for. If it’s unclear, ask them to clarify their requirements or provide more information about the position. Once you know what they want, begin answering the key selection criteria and start thinking about your qualifications, skills and experience that match up with those requirements.
- Use demonstrated knowledge: These answers should come from past roles or study: It’s not enough to say “I have experience in X” without giving any details; be sure to include specifics such as where, when, and what type of experience. Be very specific, don’t just say “I’m a hard worker”, instead give an example of when you were working hard. Align your skills with the questions asked and respond by outlining why these skills would make you a good candidate for the role.
- Be critical with your responses: The selection process is rigorous, and employers want to ensure that only those with the best qualifications will be accepted into this program. Seemingly small things like grammatical or spelling mistakes can doom your application before it even gets off the ground. Be hyper-critical of your work; read and re-read your responses until you are satisfied it is perfect.
- Take detailed notes: If your answering of the key selection criteria is successful, the next stage is the interview process. Here, your prospective employer is going to want to take a deeper dive into these answers. You are going to need to align your key selection criteria responses with your answers in interviews.
- Use short statements: Try not to be overly verbose. Get straight to the point and make brief statements that outline clearly when, where and how you have applied your skills in past roles in your responses to key selection criteria. Your value to their organisation should be made immediately evident, and your answers need to answer the questions you have been asked directly.
- Use action words (verbs): Action words are essential for a variety of reasons. They can make your writing more interesting and engaging, which will keep readers reading. They also help you to be specific about what you want the reader to do next. This makes it easier for them to take action on the content that they just read.
- Use the correct language and tone: Take the time to read the advertisement and key selection criteria carefully. Also, read the website and social media pages of the company you are applying to work for. This will help you understand the language they use and the tone of voice so that you can match it in your responses.
The tips in this guide can help you create responses to key selection criteria that will get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. Remember to use the right tone, include relevant details about your experience, be concise, and make sure that all the information on your resume is accurate before submitting it for consideration.
Once you have done everything possible to prepare yourself as a candidate with these key selection criteria response techniques, you will put yourself in the best position to land your dream job.
Selection criteria: Proven ability to work collaborative in a team and within the work environment.
This criterion is a standard example for ‘teamwork’. The selection panel are looking for an example of when you have worked in a team. This is to establish that if you were successful in getting the job you would be able to work well with other staff members.
Teamwork Criterion response example:
In my previous role in hospitality at XYZ Café, I proved my ability to work in a team-focused environment. I was on shift work and worked with large teams daily. Teamwork is critical to provide efficient service in a coordinated manner. Most daily duties were team-oriented, including service, preparation, and post-service tasks that were organised among staff members to ensure they were completed as required.
To achieve this, communication with other staff such as chefs, kitchen staff, bartenders, and other floor personnel, was essential, as well as attending regular meetings aimed at improving customer service delivery and to provide excellent customer experience. I treated all staff members with the same level of respect regardless of their experience or tenure.
This fostered and established strong professional relationships which enhanced overall team performance. Due to my excellent teamwork skills and collaborative work efforts, I was frequently offered additional shifts because I was able to work effectively with everyone and complete the work on time.
Selection criteria: Demonstrate a high level of effective team management
This criterion focuses on ‘leadership skills’. This is often asked when the potential employer is looking at a role where you may have a certain level of autonomy or may require leadership in the future.
Team Management Criterion response example:
I often had to demonstrate my ability to lead teams while working as an administration assistant at ABC Company. Over the course of five years at the company, I became one of the longest-serving administrative assistants. In addition to leading team meetings, organizing staff events, and overseeing the work of up to six junior assistants and receptionists, I also had to coordinate the workload of the facility. Developing and maintaining close relationships with all members of my staff was critical to me fulfilling my responsibilities.
It was important to create a trusting environment for more junior assistants to come to me with problems. Additionally, I demonstrated my leadership abilities by handling busy and stressful times with calm composure and completing multiple tasks ahead of schedule while managing multiple priorities. As a result, I was able to prove that I could do my work and remain level-headed and supportive.
In turn, this helped to create an environment of collaboration and respect. As a result of my collaborative and friendly leadership style, the administrative staff trusted and often came to me to influence and gain support from senior management to address their needs.
Selection criteria: Ability to show a high level of quality customer service and management
This is typical language used when discussing ‘customer service’ criterion. You are applying for a position that will require you to interact with customers, and management wants to see prior experience working with customers.
Customer Service Criterion response example:
As a student, I worked as a sales assistant at Excellence Department Store for two years while studying. Customer service was one of my most important responsibilities. Since I worked across several departments, I frequently demonstrated my ability to provide excellent customer service, particularly with challenging situations with customers, or with clients who were troubled by something that was not within my control. It is important to communicate clearly and display genuine concern when dealing with difficult situations. As an example, one day a woman I served in the store brought in an online-ordered dress that did not fit her, and a replacement could not be made before her event.
I spent several hours working with her to try to calm her down and to see what other options might be available to her. In collaboration with other department staff, I provided suitable alternatives, treating her with respect and making her feel valued at all times. I even offered her a cup of tea while I selected a few dresses I thought might be suitable. In the end, this support helped the customer to identify a dress she liked more than the original and to leave a positive review on the company’s Facebook page.
When something goes wrong, being able to assist customers is one of the most rewarding aspects of customer service. In addition to the number of positive customer reviews I have received during my time at Excellence Department Store, I have been named ‘best sales assistant of the month’ five times in two years.
Selection Criteria: Demonstrate the ability to use business technologies and analyse data and information effectively
An example of how ‘using technology’ criteria may be worded in a job application. Here, the reader needs to see how you have previously used relevant business technologies, and that you have been able to accurately read and understand the information given by these programs.
Technology Criteria response example:
As part of my Administration Diploma, I had to participate in work placements that required me to use business technologies every day, including online library databases, microfiche, Microsoft Office 365, and Salesforce.com basics. My work placement at BDB Company revealed that staff were still using only paper-based systems to collect data. I organized a cloud-based company database system that supported uploading of files to the cloud, linking to various programs, including Microsoft Excel, to create spreadsheets for staff at the office to use on a daily basis.
During this process, I had to analyse large quantities of data online and convert this data into practical, easy-to-use information. As a result, management and administration became more efficient because they no longer had to rely on outdated paper-based systems. Streamlining several processes throughout the workplace enabled managers to identify where processes went wrong and improve them.
Selection Criteria: Demonstrate the ability to apply analytical and research skills
This is a common way to ask you to prove you fulfill ‘analytical and research’ criteria. The employer is looking to see that you can apply what you have learned in terms of analytical skills and research to everyday situations.
Analytical and Research Criteria response example:
My training as a teacher’s aide required me to conduct extensive research into the special needs schools and students that I would be working with during work placements and in my future employment. It encompassed research into autism and students on the spectrum, and how different students may react to stimuli within the school environment, as well as when a different teacher is present than their usual teacher.
In my experience, students with special needs react in unusual ways to new and changing circumstances, so it was crucial that the research papers I was writing provided me with useful analytical accounts. Teachers aid training and my independent research had to be applied to real-life situations rather than just understanding theory. Several of my projects on the topic required extensive literary research and analysis of statistical data. Over the course of my two-month work placement at ABC primary school, I applied the theories and concepts that I had learned from my research to everyday situations.
A young student found it particularly difficult to write with the pencils and pens because of their texture. My research into the sensory perceptions of students with autism led me to discover ways to make writing easier for him by modifying pencils with everyday items such as blue tac. In my class and in some other classes, students were better able to engage in class activities since I was able to apply my research and analytical skills to practical everyday learning. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher’s aide.
Selection Criteria: Proven ability to use interpersonal skills in everyday workplace situations
This is a common way of phrasing the ‘interpersonal skills’ criterion. This basically refers to people skills. Communication skills are also included, because if you are not able to communicate effectively, you are not going to be an effective people person.
Interpersonal Skills Criterion response example:
During my time as a bartender at the BB Hotel, I had many opportunities to utilize my interpersonal skills to improve difficult situations. Especially on a busy Saturday night, when customers have had too much to drink, being able to relate to them and talk them down from becoming angry is a vital skill I honed during my four-year tenure.
There was one evening when a particularly irate customer was getting upset with one of our newest staff members who had cut him off. I did not wish to get involved too early, as this can often lead to new employees feeling undervalued. However, when he became personally offensive, I stepped in.I knew this customer reasonably well since he was a regular. By explaining that I would have done the same thing, he calmed down.
I checked in on the new staff member a few times throughout the night, as well as sharing this with security and management. It was about two years later that she told me the reason she had remained with us for so long was that she knew, from that first shift, that she would always be supported by her colleagues. The company’s annual awards night, which is organized by management, recognized my interpersonal skills by awarding me the title of ‘most supportive staff member.’
Selection Criteria: Job applicants must possess a high level of administration skills such as database management, Microsoft office and basic computing.
When hiring staff, employers are looking for individuals who excel at certain programs that ensure efficiency and maintain modernisation of the workplace. Today, organisations are expecting anyone with a level of administrative background and/or skills to be proficient with multiple programs and general handling of a computer system.
Administration Skills and Database Management Criteria response example:
While completing my diploma in administration, I worked as an intern at AAA Wealth Management as an assistant to the administration officer. This allowed me to develop my database and computing skills. My ability to use multiple Microsoft and Google applications improved significantly. Working in administration involved working with client details, answering phone calls, and arranging notices and meetings for all staff members. I remember a day during my internship when a client urgently requested a meeting with his advisor; the Administrative Officer was away sick that day, so it was my job to accommodate the client’s request within the busy schedule of the small business.
Our database system MySQL helped me to rearrange the specific advisor’s day and then, using Microsoft Office, I emailed other clients to let them know about the change. Even with the changes at short notice, the day’s meetings ran smoothly, and an urgent session was added to the schedule. Using the databases and applications, I was able to notify the Committee in time for them to be prepared for the meeting with the client.
Selection Criteria: Must have the ability to demonstrate sound written and oral communication skills
In many positions you need to show how you can effectively communicate as part of a team and to a variety of people. Strong ‘written and oral communication’ skills are vital, and these skills need to be supported through daily tasks in the workplace.
Written and Oral/Verbal Communication Criteria response example:
At Travel Centre, where I worked full-time, effective communication both orally and in writing was crucial to being successful. In my professional career, I developed and adjusted travel arrangements to meet the needs of different types of clients. Keeping clients informed of changes to their itinerary prior to and during their travel was crucial for ensuring their satisfaction. Occasionally, the client’s travel itinerary was interrupted by unexpected changes.
For example, because of a major weather disruption, a family of four was unable to travel to New York and stay for the four days they needed. The fact that they were scheduled to stop over in LA meant that I had to arrange an additional four days of activities. During the planning process, several phone calls and emails were sent to the client to keep them informed about the new arrangements. As a result, I was able to provide them with reassurance during the stressful period and to understand their requests for the new activities.
Organizing accommodations and activities in a different time zone required me to send many emails to confirm availability within a short period of time. In constant communication with the family and other relevant stakeholders, I was able to effectively restructure their stay in LA so they could enjoy their time.
In appreciation for my constant communication, support, and quick thinking, they brought back a thank you gift. It would have been extremely difficult for me to be a travel agent if I did not have confidence in my communication skills, as it is a key capability for coordinating, controlling, reaching out to multiple people, and ensuring that clients are kept informed and satisfied by the service I provide.
Selection Criteria: Have the ability to prioritise tasks and demonstrate a high level of organisation
Organisational skills are a key capability for working in any job in any field of work. The reader would be looking for an example of when your organisational skills would have been demonstrated at a time of need and/or everyday working that you can continue to display if you were hired.
Organisation Criteria written example:
As a teacher at The Learning Centre Primary School, my job is to prepare the students for high school by helping them develop their numeracy and literacy skills. In addition to teaching them academic skills, it is important that they also learn skills that will carry on throughout their lives such as organisation, socialisation, and dedication. Among the many tasks of being a teacher includes the ability to make decisions, such as how to break down weekly objectives into daily attainable tasks that students can understand so that this can be accomplished through homework or class activities.
Each Friday, for example, I collect the students’ homework, I analyse it, and I determine what areas the students struggled with, passed or excelled in, and I use that to integrate new teaching aids into the following week’s lessons. Considering all students’ activities, I will plan the week’s timetable appropriately, allowing me to assess the relative importance of each task. This way, on Monday morning, I know what the students have accomplished in the past week, plan the week’s activities, and set the week’s goals.
It is extremely important to stay organized as a teacher and prioritize the needs and difficulties of the students in order to help them get the most from their education and to succeed academically.
Selection Criteria: Ability to demonstrate solid analytical skills and attention to detail
Analytical skills are essential in the workplace as they tie in with problem solving. An employer wants to understand how you can gather information, analyse it and solve problems that ensure the smooth flow of productivity in the workplace.
Analytical Skills and Attention to Detail Criteria written example:
To be successful in any career, it is important to continually evaluate both simple and complex problems in the workplace by applying skills such as paying attention to detail, researching and analysing problems. My Certificate IV in Accounting required me to complete a group assignment in which I had to keep a record of a business’ finances for a month in order to complete the course.
During my time with BJ’s Patisserie, I helped ensure that his sales and costs were accurate. When I worked closely with the staff at the café, I observed that the staff completed multiple tasks throughout their shift without any individual assignment. Staff members seemed to be better suited to specific tasks, such as serving, making coffee, or handling the register. I suggested to the owner that staff members be assigned tasks based on their strengths and preferred work styles.
As part of the change, I was constantly analysing ways to improve systems, processes, and staff responsibilities. Within a short period of time, the business increased sales by 15% thanks to a more efficient work process that improved staff productivity, tasks were completed more efficiently and at a higher standard.