What are key selection criteria?

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Key selection criteria list the essential and desirable skills, experience, personal attributes and qualifications that employers look for in candidates to fulfil a certain role. They generally appear near the bottom of a job advert, and are central in allowing a hiring manager to efficiently vet high numbers of candidates by easily comparing their suitability to these criteria.

The criteria make up the job (or person) specification – not to be confused with the job description, which provides a general description of the role and the tasks and responsibilities connected to it. So, while the former provides a kind of checklist of the skills that are crucial to performing well in a role, the latter sets out how you would be utilising these skills day-to-day.

Key selection criteria are typical in adverts for public sector jobs in Australia and the UK, but you may also see them used for private sector jobs – although the job specifications are often less formulaic and less strictly adhered to compared to those in the public sector.

Selection criteria usually fall into one of two categories: essential and desirable requirements. Essential requirements are non-negotiable and if you can’t demonstrate that you have them, you’ll almost certainly not be considered for the role. Desirable requirements on the other hand are less likely to hurt your chances; if you do have a skill on the list it may enhance your chances, but not having it won’t immediately eliminate you from the process.

A third category you may come across, especially in advertisements for public sector jobs, are ‘common selection criteria’. The term is used to refer to criteria that apply to all jobs with that employer and are usually connected to certain standards of conduct or legislation that the employer, and its employees, have to uphold. For example, job applicants for public sector roles in Australia might see common selection criteria such as ‘Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)’ and ‘Ethnic Affairs Priority Statement (EAPS). The employer will want to know that you understand what the criteria mean and how they would apply to you in that specific role.

Selection criteria provide more than a simple exercise in ticking boxes; they force you to really think about the skills, strengths, experience and qualifications you have and to justify them. They are the key to nailing your application and striking the right chord with the hiring manager, so make sure to read them carefully and give them serious thought.

Source: HN Global