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What do we mean by selection criteria?

Selection criteria provide a set of measurable standards against which employers can assess your application.

Selection criteria are used not only by the Australian Public Service, but also state and local government, the welfare sector, professional associations and various educational institutions. When you apply for a position in the public service your application must address the selection criteria. The written application should provide sufficient and relevant information to allow a selection panel to short-list candidates to the next stage.

When you apply for a position in the public service your application must address the selection criteria. The written application should provide sufficient and relevant information to allow a selection panel to short-list candidates to the next stage.

Remember that you have to demonstrate your value against the selection criteria – to do this you should read any duty statements that are available and read the Integrated Leadership System to identify how each of the core criteria will be measured against the minimum of Defence APS 4 position requirements.

You will find that most selection criteria will provide a set of questions for you to respond to. These questions will have been formulated to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your suitability for the position. It is important for you to determine what criteria the questions are focusing on and frame your responses accordingly.

How to best write your response against selection criteria ­the Star Approach

Taken from Get it Right: A Recruitment Kit for Managers, APSC, 2003; see APSC Cracking the Code for further information.

To structure your response to the selection criteria we recommend that you use the 'STAR' approach. The STAR approach will assist you when responding to the questions asked.

The STAR approach asks you to answer some specific questions, giving examples of when and how you have used your skills.

When writing your response:

  • Use examples from work, university or other areas of your life
  • Focus on your own involvement in various situations (use 'I' rather than 'we')
  • Provide recent examples wherever possible
  • Use examples that have a clear beginning, middle and end

STAR

Situation

  • Briefly outline of the situation or setting
  • Who was involved?
  • What was your role?

Task

  • What did you do?
  • What happened next?

Approach or Action you took

  • How did you do it?

Result

  • What was the outcome?
  • What feedback did you receive?

Hints to start writing

There are many ways in which you can start writing your responses to selection criteria. The following is just one. One point to stress, however, is to have someone else to read over your application for spelling or grammatical errors. This will also help you ensure that you have actually answered the question asked.

  • Look at the question and decide what selection criterion is being asked
  • Write down an experience that you have had concerning that selection criterion. Don't worry about word limits or grammar - just write
  • Get someone else to read it to check you have written about the right criterion. Sometimes you will find you have included more than one
  • Go back through the example again and, using the STAR approach, highlight each area
  • You will then be able to start writing your response, tailoring it to the appropriate criterion and any word limits imposed
  • It is important to remember to state what you did, not what the group, the team or your supervisor did