Selection Criteria Articles

Types of Selection Criteria Questions

If you are applying for a job in the public service sector, or seeking a promotion it is likely that you will be required to address key selection criteria as part of your written application.

In fact, this process is not always limited to applying for roles within the public service sector but applies also within community service organisations, TAFE colleges, universities, hospitals, defence, schools, and some private sector companies.

Selection criteria questions vary widely from agency to agency however the most common types include:

  1. Simple Criteria
  2. Complex Criteria
  3. Expressions of Interest
  4. Values Based & Common Criteria
  5. Addressing the SELC framework
  6. Behavioural Questions

Simple Criteria

Examples of simple criteria include:

  1. Well-developed communication skills
  2. Ability to work as part of team
  3. Strong organisational ability and time management skills

These types of selection criteria are usually pretty simple to respond to as they usually require applicants to provide evidence of their knowledge, skills and abilities in only one area.

Complex Criteria

Examples of complex selection criteria include:

Managerial & Planning: Ability to effectively organise, plan, and deliver services:

  1. Manage and prioritise multiple demands
  2. Contribute to work area planning
  3. Contribute to, and be responsible for achieving team goals
  4. Manage resources
  5. Develop policy and guidelines and action plans
  6. Manage projects and contracts


  1.  Ability to work and liaise effectively on scientific matters in a multi-disciplinary environment, and a demonstrated ability to work in a team within a project-based framework. This includes achieving positive outcomes and the full completion of work within deadlines.
  2. Sound experience in a management role with management of assets in property/domestic building/real estate industries; preparation of business plans, feasibility studies and associated budgets (related to housing); management of operations within a budget; and property valuations

Complex selection criteria contain more elements and require more skill when identifying your knowledge, skills and abilities. This is largely due to the fact that they contain many parts and therefore it is important to provide evidence of your knowledge, skills and abilities by addressing ALL parts of the criteria.

Expressions of Interest

Many agencies are moving away from full-blown selection criteria in an effort to simplify the recruitment and selection process and encourage more applications. Usually applicants may be required to submit an expression of interest or a short 2 page cover letter.

Examples include:

Job One - Key skill requirements/competencies

  1. Well developed leadership skills and the ability to apply relevant legislation, guidelines and standards needs to be demonstrated.
  2. Capacity to work effectively with indigenous people
  3. Extensive, relevant clinical knowledge including advanced emergency skills.
  4. Effective leadership and management skills
  5. High level negotiation, consultation and communication skills
  6. Capacity to be flexible and responsive to a challenging work environment

Job Two
Please write a statement explaining why we should employ you. To assist in preparing your statement, some things we would like to know about you are: why you want to work for us, your teamwork and people skills, how you have shown initiative, and how you communicate effectively with others.

In this case, applicants need to submit a 2 page cover letter outlining how their experience, abilities, knowledge and personal qualities would enable them to achieve the key accountabilities and meet the key skill requirements. Here, applicants can address the selection criteria indirectly and don’t need to copy the full selection criteria or provide a separate heading for each criterion.

Values Based & Common Criteria

Employees within the public sector are subject to high standards of performance and personal behaviour. Therefore many roles within the public sector require applicants to address selection criteria that relate specifically to values. These include:

  1. Personal Drive & Integrity: Ability to demonstrate public service professionalism and probity, engage with risk and show personal courage, commit to action, display resilience, and demonstrate self awareness and commitment to personal development.
  2.  Workplace Diversity: Knowledge of equity and diversity principles which will enable the appointee to implement equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles at an everyday, operational level.
  3. Occupational Health & Safety: Experience and knowledge of workplace health and safety principles.

 Addressing the SELC framework

The Senior Executive Leadership Capability framework (SELC) outlines five core criteria for high performance within the public sector. This includes:

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Achieving Results
  3. Communicating with Influence
  4. Cultivating Productive Working Relationships
  5. Exemplifying Personal Drive & Integrity

Depending on the role, there may be an additional criterion related to Technical Skills. More information regarding the SELC framework can be found on the Australian Public Service Commission website.

Behavioural Questions

Some applications require you to address behavioural questions as part of the selection criteria.

Examples include:

Describe a situation that demonstrates your ability to anticipate and doing something about a problem that was likely to arise in future. In your answer, please ensure you address the following:

  1. What was the situation and what was your role?
  2. What were the potential problems? How did you become aware of it?
  3. What did you do once you became aware of the problem?
  4. What was the effect of what you did?

Provide an example of a time when you have drawn upon a previous experience to anticipate and address possible obstacles to the delivery of objectives in a new project. In your answer please address the following:

  1. What was the situation?
  2. What role were you performing?
    What previous experience did you have?
  3. What was the new project?
  4. How did you draw upon your experience to anticipate and address possible obstacles to the delivery of objectives in the new project?
  5. What was the outcome?
  6. What impact of your actions?

Happy Selection Criteria Writing!

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Having held a range of diverse and varied roles as Recruiter, Human Resources and Hiring Manager, and selection panel member, having sat on hundreds of selection panels, it seemed only natural that Nikky transition her passion for assisting job-seekers to establish CareerPro, a leading, professional writing business focused on helping job-seekers to effectively market and "sell" themselves to prospective employers. Through her unique writing services (selection criteria, resumes, curriculum vitae, cover/application letters) she assists clients and job-seekers locally, nationally and internationally to achieve their goals of promotion, interview and job success.




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