Selection criteria tips for the frightened

by K B , updated on July 4, 2015

Selection Criteria Tips for beginners

Are you interested in a career in government, but don’t know where to start?  I receive hundreds of emails from people who want a public sector position, but who are stumped on the selection criteria the government uses. It is possible to crack the government criteria as an outsider, but you do need to do a lot more research than someone who is inside the system. I’ve written more selection criteria than I care to count, so I’ll share a few top tips to get you started.

Selection Criteria Tips # 1: Understand what the selection criteria is asking

Selection criteria can be tricky. You can be lulled into thinking you are perfect for the job, because on the face of it, the skills listed in the selection criteria sound the same as yours. I know it sounds obvious, but all roles are different. Even though the skills listed on the selection criteria seem the same as yours, it’s possible that they mean something completely different.

Confused or bemused?

Let’s have look at the selection criteria used in the federal government for leadership roles. They use an “Integrated Leadership System.” This system states the skills managers and leaders will need to become effective in all tasks required of them as leaders. The government recruits around these skills.

One of the criteria they list, is for example:  “cultivates productive working relationships”, and for each point of the selection criteria they bullet point the underlying skills a manager will need to demonstrate. If you are a manager to cultivate a productive working relationship, you will need to do the following:

  • Nurture internal and external relationships
  • Facilitate cooperation and partnerships
  • Value individual differences and diversity
  • Guide, mentor and develop people

This is where it gets tricky! If you are responding to this criteria, you will need to know with whom you need to develop a productive working relationship.

If you think about it, you could almost take all these steps to build strong relationships with internal customers, external customers, or your team. Yet the role for which you are applying, may have no external contact, for example. If you do not know this, you may give the wrong example and the panel may penalize you.

I really can’t emphasize this enough. If you are outside the public sector system you need to call the convener to find out  few simple facts about the role. I have never seen an application pack that does not have a name and a number to call. Please use it.

Selection Criteria Tips # 2: Ask the convener the right questions

To find out the right types of examples to provide, you’ll need to ask the convener intelligent questions about the job. Like anyone they can be time poor. Start with acknowledging that you have read the selection criteria, but state you would like to clarify some aspects, to fully understand the challenges of the job.

If you don’t mention you have read the selection criteria, the convener is likely to give you the flick or direct you back there.

Good questions to ask are:

–          what do you see as the challenges of this role. The emphasis is on the you – that should get the convener talking

–          can you give me a run-down of a typical day or week – I like this question because this is not what a list of duties on paper tells you

–          what are the main priorities in this role – you would be surprised how often the real priorities are buried down at the bottom of the selection criteria

–          could you explain how I may apply this requirement – this helps clarify any of the selection criteria that you find baffling. The question you could ask in the example above, is: “who are the stakeholders in this role?”

Selection Criteria Tips # 3: Join the dots

Depending on the space you have in your application, refer to your research in your application. Explain how the challenges you may face in the advertised role are similar to challenges you have faced in your experience. That then introduces your examples.

Read this before you apply for a government job. This is one of my most read posts on this topic.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian July 14, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Hi Karalyn

Would you re-write my resume and if so, what would the cost be?

Would you answer a set of selection criteria and if so what would the cost be?

Many thanks


Viet Le July 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

Hi Karalyn,
I have been trying to apply for government positions but I always seem to get stuck on the “Selection Criteria”. Could you please help me overcome these problem

Helen Anderton September 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

Hi Karalyn,
My querie s are the same as “Brian’s” Could you write it and if so what is the cost?

Queensland, Australia

karalyn September 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Hey Helen, I sent you an email in response. Thanks for contacting me.

Veronica October 25, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Hi Karalyn,

I found your article very helpful and interesting. I am stuck with the Selection Criteria as the rest even though I am a Public servant my self. Could you please let me know if you can help me and how much would it cost?


Karalyn October 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Hi there, I have just sent you an email to respond. Karalyn

Veronica January 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Hello Karalyn,

Your article is very helpful. I am currently in the public service but am seeking advice on answering the selection criteria to gain a permanent job.

How much would it cost?

Kind regards


Karalyn January 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Hi Veronica, I have sent you an email regarding this. Many thanks for your comment. Karalyn

Khwan January 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Hi Karalyn

Thanks for the good article, it is very helpful but i am not confidant to do this alone. So, would you help to answer a set of selection criteria and if so what would the cost be?

Many thanks

netti January 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Hi Karalyn
I am looking at applying for a government role. How much do you charge for working with me on selection criteria? Many thanks Netti

Karalyn January 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Hi Netti,

Thanks for your enquiry. I have just sent you an email about this.


Mon March 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm


do you write selection criterias if so how much?

kind regards,


Pen April 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Hi Karalyn

Great articles!
Same question as most of the above.
How much would you charge to answer a set of selection criteria for a job app.


Karalyn April 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hi Pen, Please email me at if you are still looking for assistance.


Anne T June 15, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I found your artical very helpful because iam really stuck with these seletion criteria . I need some help as well , can you tell me how long will take to do it ? how much will it cost? Thanks

karalyn June 19, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Hi Anne,

I will send you an email very shortly to respond to this. Thanks for contacting me.


Muftikhar Ahmed June 30, 2011 at 3:00 am

I need some help to re-write the selection criteria. Would you please inform me how much time do you need and of course please mention the cost as well.


karalyn June 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Hi Mufti,

I will send you an email.

Thanks for your inquiry.


Melanie July 7, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Hi Karalyn,

Same queries as just about everyone else!
Can you please send me an email with costs of writing a selection criteria or possibly going through one I have already written up and telling me where i have gone wrong.
Thank you and I look forward to your response.

karen July 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Can you send me an email with the cost of writing selection criteria. I will look forward to haearing from you. Thanks.

La August 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Hi Karalyn

Today I found your web site and the article on Selection Criteria was great, I need agreat help from you, could you please send me an email the cost for writing the criteria and how many days you need to complete. (only three criteria poins).


karalyn August 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hi La,

Thanks for your comment.

I have asked Lois to send you an email in response to your question.


Ram September 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Hi Karalyn,

I found your article to be of great help. I have started addressing selection criteria but am stuck on some of the points. would you be able to help me with these. If so, what is the cost and how much time would you need.


admin September 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Hi Ram, we have sent you an email. K.

James Mathieson November 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Hi Karalyn,

I seem to stumble when writing selection criteria’s for example I am employed in the client contact role in the APS and wish to transfer these skills to a local government role but never been successful in gaining an interview…and what is the different skills in client contact in local government to the federal government environment



Frank December 18, 2011 at 3:36 am

Hi Karalyn,

I found your article to be of great help. I have started addressing selection criteria but am stuck on some of the points. would you be able to help me with these. If so, what is the cost and how much time would you need.


kathy March 26, 2012 at 3:51 am

Can you please help me answer selection criteria question? How much for each question.



karalyn March 27, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hi Kathy, I am going to send you an email. Thanks for your inquiry. Karalyn

Kate March 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Thanks for your amazing posts! I was/am concerned about my application but reading these have assisted in clarifying what I am supposed to be doing and how to do so. At 22 i’ve never been in the public serive of applied for suck a high level job and the selection criteria alone almost made me give up on the idea until my mum showed me your information. Thankyou!

MD April 5, 2012 at 3:09 am

Hello Karalyn
i have just read ur tips for writing selection criteria for government jobs and very impressed with that. now i want ur help to write a good answer. so if u can pls reply what i need to do and about the cost.


karalyn April 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Hi MD, I will send you an email with our process and quote. Thank you for your email.


Sarah April 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I have applied for numberous public service positions and fumble my way through the selection criteria, from you examples I’m not filling them out correctly, could you please advise of the cost for you to word it the right way for me.

Karalyn April 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Hi Sarah, I have just sent you an email. Karalyn

Jack April 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Karalyn -I tried to adapt my selection criteria that I used when working
at the APS to a local government role without success. Could you advise
the costing for me.

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