How to write key selection criteria

How to write key selection criteria

Well written key selection criteria may help you get an interview.

Many roles in the public sector ask you to write responses to key selection criteria. But some don’t.

Check the job advertisement and position description to see if you need to respond to key selection criteria.

If you do, a selection panel will read your responses to work out if they want to interview you.

Use your responses to help prepare for your interview, as they’re good answers to refer to.

Step 1: brainstorm key words and ideas

Copy and paste the criteria from the position description into a new document.

For each criterion:

  • highlight the keys words you think the employer is looking for
  • list examples of your skills, experience, incidents, training, personal qualities and expertise

Step 2: write a statement using the SAO approach

Write a statement under each criterion of 60 to 120 words using the SAO approach:

  • Situation, where and when you did something
  • Action, what you did and how you did it
  • Outcome, what was the result of your actions 

Step 3: proofread your statements

Each of your responses to the criteria should be:

  • free of errors
  • concise, precise and relevant
  • factual and positive
  • about your capabilities and experience

Key selection criteria examples

KSC1: Problem solving - Seeks all relevant facts. Liaises with stakeholders. Analyses issues from different perspectives and draws sound inferences from available data. Identifies and proposes workable solutions.

Problem solving has been a critical part of my roles over the past five years. While working as Customer Complaints Officer at Acme Department Stores, I dealt with a variety of problems. While many could be resolved easily, two to three per week were more complex and required a detailed process to resolve. I had to investigate what had happened from the staff and customer's points of view, clarify the facts, and work out what had gone wrong and why. I then had to propose suitable solutions and negotiate a mutually satisfactory outcome. I was often commended by my manager for my sensitive handling and speedy resolution of these problems. Less than one per cent of complaints had to be escalated.

KSC2: Advanced computer skills - Uses a wide range of software features for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Helps others solve problems with software.

As Personal Assistant to the Marketing Manager at SYZ Enterprises, about half my time was spent preparing letters and reports for clients using Word. I also used detailed information in Excel spreadsheets to prepare graphs and tables, to demonstrate the results of our market research and to analyse client company performance. I often prepared major PowerPoint presentations for my manager and maintained a database of her contacts. I also managed many daily emails and searched for information on the Internet to answer questions.

KSC3: Sound communication, interpersonal and negotiating skills, including well-developed written and oral skills, and the ability to develop and deliver interpretation and education services.

In my five years as a teacher, strong communication, negotiation and interpersonal skills have been essential. I have dealt with a wide range of people, including parents, colleagues and students. I was involved in a community project where I co-wrote a booklet on helping children learn and have fun. As part of this project, I led successful negotiations with the local council and three schools in the area who agreed to run a series of weekend family science programs for kids in the area.