Answering Selection Criteria

The concept of “selection criteria” was fairly foreign to me before applying for jobs as a graduate physiotherapist. But I’ve since become very well acquainted having completed my fair share of them over the years! In this post I’ll give you my top tips on how to nail this section of your written application, increasing your chances of being placed on that short list for an interview.

Just like any style of writing there is an art to addressing the selection criteria posted as part of a job advertisement. If there are dozens of people applying for the same job with all of you answering the same set of questions, you’ll need to find a way to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the selection committee.


What are “Selection Criteria”?

Basically, a list of criteria used to select a potential employee. It will be a list of questions or statements pertaining to the position you’re applying for that you’ll be expected to address. As a process it allows the selection panel to judge the skills, experience and attributes of all the potential candidates, and narrow the field down to those who have the necessary requirements for the job.


Top Tips

  • For each criteria describe your skills, knowledge and experience in that area, emphasising the big stuff.
  • Pay attention to the criteria and answer it directly – don’t get distracted writing about what you want to write about. If it says “demonstrated ability to do something” write about how you’ve done that already. If it says “experience in” write about your experience in that area.
  • Vocabulary – use strong, persuasive verbs
  • Examples, examples, examples. These are the proof in the pudding that makes for a strong response. Brainstorm some challenging situations you’ve been in that you felt you’ve handled well, and frame these into a relevant response
  • Think of the selection panel – put yourself in their shoes and make their job easy by writing about what they’re looking for.


Common Mistakes

  • Being too vague – anyone can say they possess superior communication skills. Give an example to prove it.
  • Using the same example to support different criteria. Show loads of different examples of how great you are in a variety of situations.
  • Not demonstrating outcomes – they want to see results!



Please don’t plagiarise, but this just shows you how you can pack loads of real-life examples into your responses:

Selection criteria can seem a little alien at first – it’s actually quite difficult to express to others everything you know you can do in written form! Let your confidence in your abilities shine through and you’ll persuade the panel that you’re the best person for the job, as long as you believe it too.


< Back to Australia