Responding to selection criteria

Increasingly, employers are using selection criteria to help short-list applicants for interviews. This is intended to give transparency, consistency and impartiality to the recruitment process.

Formally responding to selection criteria is now the norm when applying for public sector positions in Australia and the UK. Although not yet widely used in New Zealand, we expect their use to increase.

In drawing up the interview short list, a panel rates each applicant on how closely they meet each of the criteria, based on the applicant’s written response, and calculates an overall ranking. It doesn’t matter how well qualified you are for a job. If you do not respond to all the criteria as part of your application, you will be eliminated on procedural grounds.

An employer will not necessarily be able to match information in your CV to the criteria so it is vital to address each criterion specifically. You must provide specific examples to demonstrate that you meet each one.

All essential criteria must be included and we recommend that you also address those described as "desirable". The information can be presented in a separate document attached to the CV or as a continuation of the application covering letter.

Successful Resumes writers are highly experienced in writing selection criteria. We pay particular attention to the words chosen by employers to describe the desired characteristics, because these hold clues to the response expected.  For example, there’s a significant difference between having an “aptitude” and a “capacity”; or between “knowledge” of an area and an “understanding”.

If you are applying for a public sector job overseas or are facing this requirement in New Zealand, call Successful Resumes to discuss your needs.

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Responding to selection criteria for government jobs and public sector jobs requires careful attention to selection criterion wording.