Relax! We’ve got it covered. It’s really quite easy once you get started…

1. Do I need to complete Selection Criteria for non-government jobs?

For most private sector applications, you will need only a Resume and Letter of Application. However, many private sector organisations (universities, hospitals, etc.) now use Selection Criteria for appointment and promotion of staff.

2. Is a ‘Statement against the Selection Criteria’ the same as ‘Responses to Selection Criteria’ or ‘Summary of Responses to Selection Criteria’?

YES! This is a document in which you respond to Selection Criteria using concrete workplace examples to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities in relation to the selection criteria.

3. What’s a Selection Criterion?

‘Criterion’ is the singular form of the word, ‘criteria’.

4. How much do I need to write for each Selection Criterion?

You need to write enough information to convince the selection panel that you have the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the job. Quality is more important than quantity. A rule of thumb is to write between half a page and one page in length for each criterion. In some cases, you are advised regarding word length required.

5. How long does it take to answer Selection Criteria?

This varies depending on your written skills and experience in writing applications. It usually takes many hours – even days – to write a professional application. People who say: ‘I’ll just throw together an application and see how I go’ rarely succeed.

6. How do I answer when there are double or triple barrel questions?

Each selection criterion may have several elements (eg oral and written communication skills and negotiation skills). Each section of the selection criterion must be addressed: Oral + Written communication skills + Negotiation skills.

7. If I can’t answer a criterion, what should I do?

Remember when you skipped a question on your exam paper at school and you scored zero points? Similarly, an unanswered criterion is worth nothing. If you don’t have the specific experience required, state how you have similar experience.

8. How many applications are usually received for each position?

It varies widely, but for positions such as an Information Officer, you may be competing with hundreds of other applicants for two or three available positions.

9. What is short-listing?

The selection panel develops a short list of applicants to be interviewed, based on how well their written applications meet the Selection Criteria or other selection tasks.

10. What is ‘weighting’ of criteria?

The selection panel nominates the rating of each criterion according to the requirements for performing the job. There’s no such thing as an unimportant criterion. Even one weighted at 10% deserves 100% effort and may be the difference between being selected for the position and being the ‘runner-up’.

Now, you have a basic understanding of what’s involved in applying for a government job. Remember when you learned to drive a car? It was really difficult trying to remember how to change gears … and steer…at the same time. But, soon you worked out how to do both tasks automatically.

Similarly, applying for a government job involves learning a range of new skills. In particular, you need to learn how to ‘sell’ yourself in your application, while supplying workplace examples that demonstrate your skills and experience. Keep working at it – it’s a worthwhile journey.

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