Selection criteria consist of a list of educational qualifications, skills, abilities, experience, and knowledge that one must have to be eligible to do a job. Both employers and applicants use selection criteria for hiring for a position or for applying for a particular job position, respectively.
However, as an applicant, you must write impressive selection criteria that contain relevant skills that match the job position you are applying for. Good selection criteria can represent you as a potential candidate for a job position. Selection criteria are as important as a good resume and a cover letter. Therefore, it is crucial to create a separate selection criteria document to increase your chances of getting selected.
Even though your resume can provide an overview of your skill sets, addressing selection criteria in a separate document demonstrates your skills and makes it easy for the employer to know about your competencies needed to perform a job.
What are Selection Criteria?
Selection criteria are a set of skills, qualities, and knowledge essential for successful performance in the advertised position. The key selection criteria are used to assess applicants through their resumes, cover letters, and/or interview responses.
Employers use the selection criteria to make sure the person they hire is capable of performing the necessary job duties, and it also gives them an idea of the level of commitment required. While employees address the selection criteria in resumes and cover letters to demonstrate their understanding of the job expectation and how they meet these expectations.
Selection criteria should be tailored to each advertised position description and should focus on essential skills and qualities relevant to the role. Selection criteria should also be realistic, fair, clear, and measurable.
Why are they used?
Selection criteria help employers narrow down the most suitable candidates for a job role. Selection criteria can come in many forms, such as behavioral competencies, qualifications, education history, and work experience.
When writing your resume or cover letter, make sure you have highlighted any experiences that match the selection criteria outlined in the job advertisement. Additionally, be prepared to discuss how your experiences have helped you develop the required skills for the role.
By taking the time to research the job and ensure that you meet all of the selection criteria, you will increase your chances of success in securing an interview and ultimately, a new job.
Once you’ve identified your dream job, the next step is to get through the initial screening process. Selection criteria are a key factor employers look for when considering candidates for a role. It is important to review job descriptions and assess what relevant qualifications and experience are to the position you are applying for.
Key Selection Criteria Examples
The key criteria consist of the list of all the essential criteria for a candidate to be considered for the interview process. The examples of key selection criteria are-
The educational qualification can be a three or four years degree, training course, or diploma in a specific field. For example, a minimum one-year certificate in computer to be considered for the job position.
This section of the criteria focuses on different skills. Different skills that an employer can ask for are technical skills, problem-solving skills, organisational skills, teamwork skills, discipline skills, etc.
3. Technical skills
Examples of technical skills are certification in cybersecurity, penetration testing, and computer programming skills such as JAVA, Python, DotNet, etc.
4. Transferable skills
The third main criterion that an employer mentions in the selection criteria is work experience—for example, minimum three-year expertise in retail to become eligible for a branch manager position.
Knowledge about a particular subject area. For example, knowledge about the marketing field.
Addressing the Key Selection Criteria
Both employers and employees are required to write selection criteria. Employers write selection criteria to post specific skills, qualifications, and experience that they want a candidate to perform the job well.
A. How to write key selection criteria as an employer?
The following steps will help you build effective selection criteria to attract suitable and talented employees for the job position.
Step 1: Prepare a clear position description
The first and foremost step to preparing effective selection criteria is to have a clear understanding of the qualifications, skills, and experience that you might require to perform the job. To do this, you need to examine the position description before you start writing the selection criteria. The criteria will help you in the evaluation of applicants.
The information that you need to prepare a clear job description is what experience a person should have to perform the job. What skills are necessary to perform a job? What educational qualification should the candidate have to be eligible for the job position?
Step 2: Make separate lists of desired and essential criteria
Criteria for the selection can be mentioned in two categories, such as essential criteria and desired criteria.
1. Essential criteria –
Essential criteria list all the skills and qualifications that a potential candidate must have to be considered for a job position.
An applicant’s application will not be considered if he doesn’t match one of the mentioned essential criteria; for example, for a junior software developer job, the critical criteria would be a degree with a computer background, and proficiency in software development languages like JAVA, Python, Ruby, etc.
2. Desired criteria –
Desired criteria list all the additional skills to make an applicant to the top candidates for the job.
The additional or desired skills for the software developer’s job role would be work experience in particular fields, excellent communication skills, etc.
Step 3: Use proper keywords to write the selection criteria
Keywords used to write key selection criteria play an important role in attracting the right candidates for the job position. Using the right keywords, you can emphasize what you are looking for in the candidate.
For example, if you want a candidate to have an educational qualification in the computer field, you will mention “qualify in” computers. If you want applicants to have experience in a particular field, you can use the keyword “proven record in” the areas.
This will indicate that you want candidates to provide experience certificates to prove their experience in the field.
Different keywords indicate different requirements. Writing the keyword “knowing” means the person knows something is desired, but it is not essential. In contrast to this, the phrase “having certified in” makes it necessary for the candidate to have the skills to be able to get the job.
Step 4: Keep your selection criteria simple
Complicated and lengthy selection criteria can deter many applicants from applying for the job. Therefore, you should not include more than ten criteria.
Moreover, use simple language to write selection criteria and avoid using jargon and complicated words that can make a candidate confused about the requirement.
Step 5: Avoid adding personal attributes to the selection criteria
The last and essential thing that you should keep in mind while writing key selection criteria is that all criteria should be measurable. For example, criteria like “hard-working” are difficult to measure. So, you should avoid adding such personal attributes to the key selection criteria.
B. How to address the selection criteria as an applicant? – Selection Criteria Response
Responding to the job opening is the first step towards getting a job. Your job application will make your first impression on the employer. The key selection criteria are an essential part of your job application.
Therefore, writing effective criteria can increase your chances of getting the job.
The following are the steps that you can follow to write effective selection criteria:
Step 1: Read the job description
The first step for writing an effective position description is to understand the job requirements mentioned in the job advertisement. Read it thoroughly, and while you read, think about how your skills can fit the job position.
Think of the particular work experience example that you can mention perceiving as a potential applicant. Avoid applying for the job position if your skills don’t match the requirements for the job position.
Step 2: Determine the essential and desired criteria
An employer will mention the essential and desirable criteria for the job position. Make sure that you match the critical criteria to be considered for a job position. You don’t need to match all the desired criteria.
However, matching some of the desired criteria will make you a strong applicant. Avoid applying for the position in case you don’t fit all the essential criteria.
Step 3: Determine the format and length of the selection criteria
Most employers have a specific format that they want applicants to use to write the selection criteria. Read the “how to apply” section carefully of the position description section.
In case you have any confusion, you can contact the human resource manager of the company. Creating a separate document for selection criteria will make it easy for employers to know about your skills.
Step 4: Organize your response
The first three steps will provide you with information on whether you should apply for the job position or not and what format should be followed to write the selection criteria to make your first impression. However, in this step, you respond to the job position.
Having organized thoughts to write effective selection criteria is essential. Address each criterion under a different heading and explain how you gained that skill and experience in 2-3 lines.
Use bullet points to mention experience and skills from various jobs.
Step 5: Use the proper model to address the key selection criteria
Different models can be used to respond to the various criteria, such as the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and results) model. That means you should first write the situation, then the task, and so on to address the criteria.
In addition to the STAR model, other models can be used to address different criteria. For example:
- CAR (Circumstance, Action, Result),
- SAR (Situation Action, Result), and
- SAO (Situation, Action, Outcome).
Step 6: Respond to all the criteria
To be considered for the job, you need to address all the critical job criteria and the desired criteria that you fulfill. Write your response to each criterion using any of the models, as mentioned earlier
Step 7: Avoid common mistakes
Avoiding common mistakes will increase your chances of getting selected. For example, responding to criteria that you can’t justify with specific examples can put a wrong impression on the hiring manager.
Mention specific examples, avoid general statements, and don’t rephrase the employer’s information in the position description.
Step 8: Proofread your document
Once you have written your key selection criteria, the last step is to proofread the document before sending it to the employer. Avoid mistakes like incomplete sentences, misspelled words, and grammatical errors.
Tips to Address Selection Criteria
The following are a few tips that you can use to write effective selection criteria and optimize the selection process-
- Use simple language to write the selection criteria. Avoid using jargon and complicated words that can make readers lose interest in your application.
- Don’t cross the limit of maximum words to write the selection criteria. You can find the maximum word requirement in the position description posted by the recruiter.
- Don’t address the criteria for which you don’t possess experience. Choose only relevant examples that can demonstrate your skills adequately to address each criterion.
- Make use of action-oriented words such as developed, implemented, organized, etc. to define the work that you have done.
- Avoid grammatical and spelling mistakes. Proofread your document and get it proofread by your friend or some professional who can help you create impressive selection criteria.
- Address all the criteria in the same order that they have been asked in the position description.
- Use professional font size and font style. Some organizations prefer a specific font size and font style to be used while writing a response. You can find this information in the job description posted by employers.
How long should a response to Key Skills Criteria be?
The optimal answer is however long they request. Selection criteria can be assessed quickly and efficiently, so employers will often ask for succinct responses that focus on the specifics of the job role. Generally speaking, two to three lines are sufficient for each criterion to provide concise yet informative answers.
When answering selection criteria questions during an application process, it is essential to demonstrate how your skills match the criteria. This means you should provide examples to back up your claims and show how your experience has developed the required skill set for the role. By taking the time to research the job and ensure that you meet all of the selection criteria, you will increase your chances of success in securing an interview and ultimately, a new job.
What will happen if I do not meet the Selection Criteria??
If your application does not address the key selection criteria, it may be disregarded. To give yourself an advantage over other applicants and demonstrate that you are a suitable candidate for the job, make sure to directly address all of these requirements in your submission. Doing so gives you the upper hand and could be what sets you apart from other contenders!
Selection criteria are an essential part of both the position description and the job application. Selection criteria highlight your skills, educational qualifications, experience, and knowledge.
The selection process can be written as a separate document when applying for a job position or made part of the resume. Writing effective selection criteria is essential to be considered for a job interview.
As mentioned above, the steps to address selection criteria can help you write effective selection criteria.