Selection Criteria

Writing Selection Criteria

Writing selection criteria can be daunting for anyone. In fact, the whole job application process, right through to the interview—and beyond—can be a little overwhelming. Even the best-prepared candidate has moments of doubt, especially when it comes to responding to selection criteria.

Writing Selection Criteria Requires Preparation

Whether it’s your first time writing selection criteria or not, I want you to put your best foot forward and that requires preparation. I put this article together to help you face the challenging Q&A; portion of an application process. Let’s take a quick look at what selection criteria are—after that, we can move into the easiest way to analyse the questions, and finally learn how to respond.

When writing selection criteria you are helping the employer determine if you are a suitable fit for the job. Each selection criterion make up a series of written questions put together by the recruiter, to give you a chance to showcase your experiences, how they translate to the role offered, and how you would be of value to the organisation.

Click here to preview selection criteria examples.

Understand Why You Are Writing Selection Criteria

  1. Check for a word count.
    You might not realise how restrictive a word count can be until you’ve taken the time to structure a response that doesn’t fit. A word (or character) limit can challenge you to be more economical with your words, so it’s always a good idea to check the restrictions before you start.
  2. Read the instructions.
    Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to craft a careful response and then realising (usually after you’ve hit the submit button) that you’ve misunderstood what the recruiter is asking for. Many organisations will provide you with instructions on how to respond to the selection criteria, or how they want responses formatted. Read these carefully!
  3. Understand the criteria.
    Whatever selection criteria a recruiter is using, their wording can often guide you towards the responses they’re looking for.

Client Testimonials

” I would like to say a very big thank you for both documents. I am impressed and very happy with the way it is written and presented. Best I have seen so far, great job.”
– T Hire, Perth

Structuring Your Responses for Maximum Effect

A good response highlights your skills and experience and provides the recruiter with supporting examples. I want to explore the most popular response model with you to help get you started. What we’re talking about here is the S.T.A.R. Model.

To begin, search your memory for work-related experiences that you can apply to each criterion. For example, they may ask “Have you been instrumental in improving company processes, and what was the outcome?”. You might remember that you once identified a problem at work that was costing the company a lot of money. You then implemented changes, resulting in a significant increase in company revenue within the first year. Don’t you want to let your future employers know how wonderful you are? Of course you do. And the best way to do that would be to use the S.T.A.R. Model below.

S.T.A.R. stands for:

S = SITUATION. What was the setting? Where were you? What was going on?

T = TASK. What was your role? What were you trying to achieve?

A = ACTIONS. What did you do to achieve your task?

R = RESULT. What was the outcome?

Using this structure when answering your selection criteria will help the employer in their decision-making process. They want to know ‘WIIFM’—or, What’s in It for Me? Why should I hire you over all the other applicants? Making their job easier will increase your chances of getting hired.

S.T.A.R. is easily the most popular response model because of its simplicity, but it isn’t the only one open to you.

Remember: it’s best if you attempt writing selection criteria answers yourself – checking for sense and grammar – as you know best how to address each criterion.

Thanks for visiting my writing selection criteria page. For a selection criteria sample click here.

Please visit the homepage for more information or click the link to learn more about how to write a resume.


Sharron what can I say, you are beyond impressive! With the short time I gave you to prepare my resume, I was blown away with the outlay, the content and how you highlighted all my best points. I have shown your work to a recruitment agency and they were very impressed. Thank you so much for guiding me through the entire experience, you are truly gifted… Wanda Peters