What is Selection Criteria?

When looking for a job, there is much more goes into it than having just a good resume and cover letter.

This is unfortunately only you as a person on paper, and to get that position you require, you need to be able to fit all of the company’s requirements.

This is where their selection criteria come into play, and you as a job seeker need to satisfy a hiring company that you meet enough of their criteria to offer you the position.


Here, we will take a look at how to address the selection criteria of a hiring company to give you the very best chance of landing that dream position.

Selection CriteriaWhat is the Selection Criteria and how to Beat it?

Many individuals send-off perfect cover letters and outstanding resumes, but they are unsuccessful at landing the position they are seeking.

The critical element is how much you want the position which has been advertised because if you are dying to land it, you will go past just sending a couple of bits of paper with your work history and references.

The key criteria for a job are more often than not spelled out in a list of qualities, skills and knowledge/ experience which are required for the advertised position.

How do you address selection criteria on a job application? Here are nine rules you can follow that will help you fulfil all, or be prepared for the selection criteria.

Understanding the entire process. Employers use these key criteria to compare applicants on the same level.

Study the key criteria. Think carefully about what the employer is looking for. Make bullet points for your answers.

Do your homework. The more homework you do, the better suited your answers will become. To help you stand out from other candidates, Google the company and read the organisation’s annual report (if you can), read news reports, and do all you can to find out more of their company culture.

Matching the criteria. Print out your resume so you can compare it against their key criteria. Can you see where it matches? It’s acceptable to give examples of extracurricular activities like sports or charity work. Consider customising your resume for the job, so it highlights the key criteria.

Keeping the layout simple. Bullet points and short sentences are best. Time-restricted recruiters check for key points in very few words. Less can be more when it comes to your job applications.

Give the best responses. Applicants who have credible examples of the key criteria stand a better chance to make it to the top of the pile. Here you should follow the STAR method:

  • Situation – Explain where the example came from (example customer service).
  • Task – Your role in the example.
  • Action – Outline any action you took
  • Result – The ending result

Confirming your claims. Instead of saying “I worked in a team”, be specific about the role you played.

Choosing words carefully. Recruiters can spend as little as 6 seconds scanning resumes. 30 seconds is around the time they spend on an entire application. If you have words that POP, you can catch further attention. Where possible use the same words that are used in the key criteria.

Proofreading responses – Get someone else to do it. Fresh sets of eyes are best when making sure you have answered the questions and corrected all spelling and grammar mistakes. Ask the person if they’d employ you based replies to the key criteria.

Essential QualificationsEssential Qualifications and Desirable Qualifications

When you have a job advertisement in front of you, there is a good chance it will contain somewhere desirable and crucial qualifications. The reason these are listed are recruiters will base job postings on job descriptions. This is on top of a list of duties a candidate would need to do to fulfil the role.

These qualifications serve as a screening process for the hiring managers, and it is here there are two categories, these being Essential and desirable.

Now, we should look at “What is the difference between essential and desirable?”

Desirable Qualifications

If you can fill the list of desirable qualifications in a job advertisement, a hiring manager would look at this as the icing on the cake. How often is it a person knocks on your door who can do everything you desire? These qualifications aren’t necessarily what is needed to do the job effectively, and a good example is speaking a second language. It might not be required, but it is hand to have for a business.

Essential Qualifications

These differ from the above because these are the qualifications needed to perform the tasks listed in the job description. Candidates who apply for positions without fulfilling this part of the selection criteria will be wasting not only theirs but also the employers time.

Examples of essential qualifications can be things like driving licenses for delivery drivers. Just looking at this example, you can see what a waste of time it is.

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Examples of Selection Criteria

There is no saying what a company could list for their desirable or essential qualifications, or for the remainder of their selection criteria. This in a way doesn’t allow any job hunter in Australia to improve their skills in specific directions.

The only time you will know is when a specific position has been posted, and the criteria are listed.

Some of the basic criteria are:

  • A degree in a relevant field
  • Good levels of written and oral skills
  • Excellent research and analytical skills
  • The ability to work under pressure and able to meet deadlines

These are pretty standard and can change from job to job, but as a minimum, you should be able to meet all of these. Maybe a degree won’t be included, or it will be listed as a “good secondary education.”

Although it appears these are just more ways interviewers look at the person before meeting them for an interview, but all of the criteria do serve other purposes for selection panels of hiring managers:

  • They use these criteria to decide who to shortlist (hence, if you have desirable qualifications)
  • Interview questions will be based on the information you supply (so don’t lie)

Depending on the type of job you are applying for, the employer requests can be addressed in one of three ways. These formats are:

  • Employers application form
  • Cover letter
  • Resume

Now, on a few occasions you might be sending both a resume and a cover letter, but whatever way you address the criteria, always follow the employer’s instructions.

The following key selection criteria examples will show the difference between the methods of responding to an employer’s request.

Application Form TipsApplication Form

This method doesn’t really give many options for your answers, and they often give behavioural or competency-based questions.

These can be quite generic in the way they look, but they could have initially been composed by selection criteria writers. Make sure you read everything very carefully.

Cover Letter

Most applications will be accompanied by this type of letter. When they are sent with your resume, you should contain a couple of paragraphs which describe the skills you will be bringing to the position you are applying for.

Try not to just use the same information which is in your resume, and also make sure it is relevant to the selection criteria, and if at all possible, list your desirable qualifications if you have any.


Criteria – Having the ability to examine a company’s financial records and make detailed reports.

Response – My role as Treasurer in the local cricket club require me to maintain all of the club’s financial records.

On a regular basis, I was tasked with reporting to the management committee. This has increased my experience and knowledge of compliance and enforced my interests in a career as an auditor.

resume tipsResume

You will have a skills section in your resume, this should include skills that relate to the position and more importantly the selection criteria. Evidence can be given by referring to past experiences.


Criteria – The ability to work as part of a team.

Response – My excellent team skills can be demonstrated in casual employment in the hospitality industry, membership of the local golf club and the participation in some team-based academic assignments.

Selection Criteria Conclusion

You have seen everything you need to know on how to write selection criteria responses. However, there is an art to getting things on paper, and as we saw managers don’t spend a long time browsing through applications on the first run.

This is why it is crucial you can have the correct skill keywords which make you grab their attention.

If you find the whole thing a little overwhelming, or you want to make sure you have the very best cover letter to go with your application. There is nothing wrong with seeking outside assistance.

Writing a good resume is more than typing words on a piece of paper, there is the visual aspect which makes it leap from the page, and once it does that and you are on the next stage. You can show you meet all the criteria for the position.