CURTIN UniLife SELECTION CRITERIA CURTIN CAREERS CENTRE 02 SELECTION CRITERIA Explore • Connect • Grow The Curtin Careers Centre provides a range of resources for students interested in enhancing their career potential. Our services include: • career counselling with professional career development consultants; • assistance with job search skills and job applications, resume checks, a mentoring program and an online jobs board (Jobs & Events Connect); • employer presesentations on campus throughout the academic year; plus • workshops and information sessions on a range of career topics. We also host the Curtin Careers Fair, WA’s premier university-based fair, along with faculty careers fairs and the Experience Works Fair. Engage with Curtin Careers Centre today to reach your career goal tomorrow! Contacting the Careers Centre Location: Building 303, level 2 Email: [email protected] Phone: (08) 9266 7802 Skype: CurtinCareersCentre (by appointment only) Website: www.careers.curtin.edu.au Access new jobs posted daily, workshop information, special events and employer presentations through Jobs & Events Connect. www.careers.curtin.edu.au/jobsandeventsconnect/index.html Register to attend workshops: www.careers.curtin.edu.au/calendar/ SELECTION CRITERIA 03 CONTENTS Selection Criteria...................................................................................Page 4 Hidden Selection Criteria.....................................................................Page 7 Undertaking a Skills Analysis .............................................................Page 8 Addressing Selection Criteria..............................................................Page 9 The STAR Model.....................................................................................Page 10 The SAO Model.......................................................................................Page 11 Tips for Addressing Selection Criteria................................................Page 12 References ............................................................................................Page 13 Notes......................................................................................................Page 14 Explore • Connect • Grow 04 SELECTION CRITERIA selection criteria Selection criteria are the factors against which applicants are assessed to determine their relative merit for a specific job. They summarise the specific capabilities (knowledge, skills and abilities) required of applicants and are derived from the duty statement associated with the job. The process of addressing selection criteria provides an opportunity for you to explain, in detail, how you demonstrate the knowledge, skills, abilities and qualifications that the recruiter is seeking. If selection criteria are part of a job application, they will be the primary focus in the initial selection process, so it is important to address them carefully. From the employer’s point of view, selection criteria provide an equitable means of measuring each applicant’s suitability to perform the duties of an advertised position. From the applicant’s point of view, it is therefore paramount to respond effectively to each selection criterion in order to increase the chances of being short-listed for an interview. Schmidt and Hunter (1998) undertook a meta-analysis of selection and recruitment techniques. They found the most successful predictor of future job performance was a ‘work sample’ in which the potential employee completed a week to a few months of work on a trial basis, so the employer could determine whether they were appropriate for the position. However, when there are many applicants to assess. this practice is clearly not efficient. By asking applicants to address selection criteria, recruiters can make an initial assessment of the match between past experience and the requirements of the advertised position. Recruiters assess your selection criteria using a marking key similar to the one below: 1 = Failed to meet the selection criterion (i.e. unable to assess due to lack of information) 2 = Partially meets the selection criterion 3 = Meets the selection criterion 4 = Partially exceeds the selection criterion 5 = Exceeds the selection criterion If you score 1 or 2 for any of the selection criteria it is unlikely you will secure an interview. A good understanding of how employers use selection criteria to make decisions can assist you to to write more competitive job applications. SELECTION CRITERIA 05 selection criteria Types of selection criteria The five categories of selection criteria are: Selection criteria are generally categorised as ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’. Essential criteria are those most necessary to do the job. Employers will often request that applicants only apply for the advertised position if they meet all the essential selection criteria. 1. Desirable criteria should also be addressed. In a competitive environment these will become more important. Your chances of being shortlisted for interview will be greater if you meet all the selection criteria. 4. It is also important to be aware that selection criteria may be weighted differently or equally. Careful analysis of the duty statment may help you identify which criteria are likely to be of highest priority to the employer. A conversation with the contact person listed for the position may also provide some extra insight. Categories of selection criteria Selection criteria can be divided into five different categories. You can structure your response to each criterion depending on the category of question you are responding to. 2. 3. 5. experience criteria (e.g applicant must have experience in customer service); skills-based criteria ( e.g. applicant must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills); knowledge criteria (e.g. applicant must have knowledge of OHS practices); values criteria (e.g. commitment to ongoing professional development); finite criteria (e.g. applicant must have a C class licence). Selection criteria focussed on experience and skills can be addressed using the STAR or SAO approach. Refer to pages 10 and 11 for further information. When addressing selection criteria about knowledge, it is important to state whether you do or do not currently possess the required knowledge. If you do, you can explain how you acquired that knowledge and how you keep it up to date. You can demonstrate your expertise by briefly summarising what you know about the topic. If you do not possess the knowledge, you can state how and where you will get it. Finite criteria often relate to qualifications (e.g. “Tertiary qualification in Psychology, Social Work, Community/Mental Health Nursing or equivalent professional status in a related discipline”). These require clear statements indicating if you do or do not meet the criterion. You may wish to highlight specific areas of expertise or experience in your response but it is not necessary to use a SAO or STAR example in these instances. 06 SELECTION CRITERIA Selection Criteria Selection criteria that focus on attitudes and values have become increasingly popular in recent times. The Hudson Highland Group (2005, 4) reports that 37% of recruitment managers believe that cultural and organisational fit is the most important factor to consider when hiring new staff. It is therefore important, when addressing selection criteria, to demonstrate the alignment between your professional attitudes and values and the strategic direction, core business and mission statement of the organisation you want to work for. When describing your attitudes and values, you might explain: • why you believe these values are important for this type of work; • how your attitudes might benefit the organisation; and • how you have previously demonstrated these values or attitudes, perhaps by using the SAO or STAR models (see page 10-11). selection criteria Examples When you sit down to write your responses to the selection criteria it is helpful to analyse each one separately, as you would when answering essay or exam questions. This will assist you to identify the main components and stucture your statements accordingly. Refer back to the criteria frequently to ensure that you have adequately addressed each one. The following examples of selection criteria are available on the Career FAQs website. The keywords are highlighted to illustrate the core components of each one. ‘Sound oral and written communication skills. Ability to apply academic knowledge and concepts to practical situations. Proven experience using information and technology. Able to operate effectively in a team, contributing positively to team operations and working relationships. Ability to contribute ideas and demonstrate initiative and flexibility. Demonstrated analytical and research skills. Demonstrated literacy, numeracy, accuracy and attention to detail. Ability to file, retrieve, shelve, and physically organise materials in a high volume environment. Demonstrated client service focus and experience in a client service environment.’ (Career FAQs 2011a) SELECTION CRITERIA 07 hidden selection criteria The selection criteria are the skills, knowledge and experience considered necessary to successfully perform the duties of a position. As mentioned previously, the document detailing your responses to these criteria is the most important part of your job application. Selection criteria are often listed as part of a duty statement, especially for government positions. Applicants will usually also be given a checklist list showing exactly what material they are required to submit. Selection criteria may also be ‘hidden’ within a job advertisement rather than overtly listed. In these cases it is necessary to analyse the advertisement for key words relating to the requirements of the position and to note the skills and attributes that the employer is seeking. This information can then be incorporated into a targeted resume and a detailed cover letter. Alternatively, you could prepare a separate document to accompany the resume and letter as a more formal way of demonstrating how you meet the requirements of the position. Here is an example of an advertisement demonstrating hidden selection criteria: Graduate Accountant We are a progressive firm of Chartered Accountants offering the opportunity to become a key member of our expanding Taxation / Business Services Division. Our firm provides: • Career Development • Interesting and diverse client base • Excellent CA program support The successful applicant will have between 0 – 12 months experience in a professional office. We are seeking an individual who is interested in starting the CA program and who possesses excellent communication skills, strong computer literacy including knowledge of MYOB, and can demonstrate initiative. Written applications with CV listing referees to: HR Director AAA Accountancy Email: [email protected] The key requirements necessary to successfully fulfil this position are underlined. By learning to analyse job advertisements and then target your resume to include the desired skills and attributes, and respond to each of the requirements in a cover letter, you will increase you chances of getting an interview and being identified as a competitive applicant. 08 SELECTION CRITERIA Undertaking a Skills analysis The Curtin Careers Centre recommends that you prepare answers for some common selection criteria before you even start applying for jobs. One way to do this is to undertake a personal skills analysis. A skills analysis activity can assist you to reflect on your current skill bank and to document real life examples that demonstrate these skills. You could start this process by reflecting on real life examples from your work history, education and extracurricular activities that demonstrate some of the eight employability skills listed below: • • • • • • • • Communication skills; Team work; Problem solving; Self-management; Planning and organising; Learning; Initiative and enterprise; and Technology skills. These were idenitfied as the eight key skills that Australian employers seek in recent graduates following an analysis of current business requirements funded by The Department of Education, Science and Training and the Australian National Training Authority. You can access the Employability Skills Framework at www. dest.gov.au. The Curtin University Graduate Attributes also provide a good starting point for a skills analysis. These are listed in all your Curtin University unit outlines the and linked to your unit of study, so you should always be able to provide examples from your course of study if not from other activities. You might find it helpful to create an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document to record the details of your skills analysis. Alternatively, you could use Curtin University’s iPortfolio where you can: • Collect evidence of your learning and professional development; • Seek feedback and collaborate with others; • Showcase skills and accomplishments; and • Highlight your job readiness to prospective employers. The Curtin Careers Centre highly recommends the use of the Curtin iPortfolio system to document the skills, abilitites and knowledge you have developed over your years of study at Curtin. Go to iportfolio.curtin.edu.au to create your profile. SELECTION CRITERIA 09 addressing selection criteria It is a good idea to put yourself in the employer’s shoes when addressing selection criteria. What do you think they are looking for in your responses to the selection criteria? How can you make your document as clear and easy to read and understand as possible? The aim of addressing selection criteria is to: • provide real life evidence demonstrating your capability to do the job; • provide specific details that you can not document in a resume; and • highlight your successes. Before you start writing your responses to the selection criteria it is important to refer to the duty statement and to research the company you are applying to. This can help you to develop a picture of the skills, abilities, knowledge and personal attributes the employer is looking for. This process makes it easier to identify which aspects of your experience to highlight in your job application. It is also very important to demonstrate to the employer that you can follow instructions when addressing selection criteria. Keep within the word limit if one is set. If no word limit is provided it is usually acceptable to write approximately half a page per selection criterion. You can include dot points in your responses to selection criteria, but these should only be used be used in combination with formal prose. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your written communication skills to the employer. Opening sentence When addressing each selection criterion, you should begin with an opening sentence that clearly states how you meet the criterion. For example, “I have acquired and refined strong written communication skills over the course of my career”. A strong opening statement will convince the employer to read further. It then needs to be supported by detailed examples demonstrating how you have applied these skills in the workplace (or in other contexts if workplace examples are not available). The STAR or SAO models described on the following pages provide useful frameworks for presenting evidence when addressing selection criterion. It is important to understand how to apply these models because recruiting employers often use them as a guide to score responses to each criterion when shortlisting applicants. 10 SELECTION CRITERIA tHE star mODEL Good responses to selection criteria address all parts of each criterion. They incorporate the keywords (e.g. from the duty statement) and include specific examples. Many wellwritten statements follow the STAR model or the SAO model. STAR is an acronym for the folllowing: content and language). Situation: briefly outlines the circumstances surrounding the example. Here is the response as it would appear in an applicant’s job application. Task: describes what you were required to do. Action: outlines the steps you took to complete the task. Result: describes the outcomes of your actions. STAR Example An advertisment for a senior project officer (APS6) role included the following selection criterion: ‘well developed written communication skills’ (Bureau of Meteorology 2011). Here is an example of an applicant’s response broken down into its STAR components. S: Role as Research Support Officer at Department of XYZ. T: Needed to ensure that managers were kept informed of policies and procedures. A: Initiated a monthly newsletter which was emailed to each manager. Took responsibility for writing the main articles. This involved obtaining ideas and input from other stakeholders to ensure that the articles reflected managers’ needs (in terms of R: Feedback was consistently excellent. Received divisional achievement award for newsletter quality. Led to improved lines of communication between managers and the Research Support Unit. ‘As Research Support Officer at the Department of XYZ, I needed to ensure that managers were kept informed of policies and procedures. To do this, I initiated a monthly newsletter, which was emailed to each manager. I took responsibility for writing the main articles in each publication. This involved obtaining ideas and input from other stakeholders to ensure that the articles reflected the needs of managers, both in terms of content and language. I received consistently excellent feedback in relation to this newsletter from these internal clients and my own manager. I also received a divisional achievement award from management for the quality of this newsletter. Importantly, this initiative resulted in improved lines of communication between managers and the Research Support Unit’ (Bureau of Meteorology 2011). SELECTION CRITERIA 11 the SAO model The SAO model is very similiar to STAR. In this instance ‘task’ and ‘action’ are combined. SAO is an acronym for: Situation: briefly outlines the circumstances surrounding the example. Action: describes what you were required to do and outlines the steps you took to complete the task. Outcome: Describes the results of your action. SAO Example The Career FAQs website provides the following example of a selection criterion: Demonstrate your ‘proven experience using information and technology’ (Career FAQS 2011b). Here their corresponding sample response broken down into its SAO components. S: Smithtown Medical Research Institute. A: Source information, verify its origins and analyse its implications. Data management system.Used Internet, library website and databases, microfiche. MS Office applications and Creative Suite. Developed database, streamlined and managed it. O: No double handling of records, database will be used in the future. Here is the response as it would appear in an applicant’s job application. ‘As part of my degree program I was required to source information, verify its origins and analyse its implications. I utilised various technologies to undertake these tasks including the Internet, online library databases, and even microfiche. I am adept with all Microsoft Office software and have had some graphics experience with the Creative Suite. When I started working at the Smithtown Medical Research Institute there was no appropriate data management system that I could use to manage the fundraising project with local high schools. I developed a database to manage the contact information for all sponsors, which also included records of when and why they were contacted, what the sponsorship agreement comprised and how it would be delivered. I managed this system throughout the project and ensured that it streamlined communication and information sharing amongst the project team members. My initiative resulted in a streamlining of effort with no double handling, a clear record of activities undertaken and a database for future use for fundraising efforts’ (Career FAQs 2011b). 12 SELECTION CRITERIA tIPS FOR addressing Selection criteria Content • • • • • • • • Be specific. It is important that you use real life examples and describe exactly what you did, including the outcome/ result. Address all the elements of every criterion. Choose professional examples relevant to the role you are applying for. Be logical and consistent. Your responses to the selection criteria should be clearly linked to the information provided in your resume and cover letter. Use positive language. ‘Words and phrases that could reduce credibility should be avoided (e.g. some, a little, limited, somewhat) ‘(Bureau of Meteorology. 2011). Avoid the temptation to understate or overstate your capabilities. ‘Use action words and avoid using passive language when describing your experience. For example, “I received consistently excellent feedback in relation to this newsletter from these internal clients and my own manager’, is better than simply stating ‘feedback in relation to this newsletter was consistently excellent”’(Bureau of Meteorology. 2011). Avoid unsupported claims. ‘Don’t just feed their words back to them - make every sentence count by focusing on what you have to offer’ (Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training. 2004). • • ‘When each criterion is given a weighting of importance you should dedicate a proportionate amount of detail to each part’ (Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training. 2004). ‘When a statement asks for qualifications or some or some other information that is finite, the length can be shorter’ (Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training. 2004). Presentation • • • • • • • • Present your responses to selection criteria in a separate document to your resume, unless otherwise instructed by the employer. Address each criterion individually. Make sure your document is easy to read. Use dot points incorporated into paragraphs if necessary, use neat formatting, clear headings (lots of white space) and 10-12 size font. Allow approximately 250 words or ½ page per criterion unless there is a specific word limit. Avoid abbreviations. Use correct, formal grammar and concise sentences. Proofread. Ask someone else to check your application for typos before you submit it. Always follow specific instructions provided by the employer. SELECTION CRITERIA 13 rEFERENCES Bureau of Meteorology. 2011. Guide on addresing selection criteria for applicants. Australian Government. http://www.bom.gov.au (acessed January 21, 2011). Career FAQS. 2011a. Sample selection criteria responses. http://www.careerfaqs.com.au/ selection-criteria-tips/1345/Sample-selection-criteria-responses (accessed January 21, 2011). — 2011b. Selection criteria sample: Proven experience using information and technology. http://www.careerfaqs.com.au/resourcecentre/careeradvice/selec tioncriteriatips/sampleselectioncriteria/1223/Selection-criteria-sample-technology (accessed January 25, 2011). Hudson Highland Group. 2005. HR insights: Getting smart about talent managment. The Hudson Report: Employment and HR Trends Part 2 (Oct-Dec). Schmidt, F., & J. Hunter. 1998. The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psy chology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin 124 (2): 262-274. Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training. 2004. Addressing job application selection criteria. Fact Sheet. RDLO & DCO Initiatives. 14 SELECTION CRITERIA .. . . . s e N ot SELECTION CRITERIA 15 .. . . . s e N ot Explore • Connect • Grow CURTIN CAREERS CENTRE http://careers.curtin.edu.au JOBS & EVENTS CONNECT http://www.careers.curtin.edu.au/jobsandeventsconnect/index.html Curtin Careers Centre Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Disclaimer and Copyright Information. Copyright Curtin University of Technology 2011. Information in this publication is correct at the time of printing and valid for 2011, but may change from time to time. Curtin will not be liable to you or to any other person for any loss or damage (including direct, consequential or economic loss or damage) however caused and whether by negligence or otherwise that may result directly or indirectly from the use of this publication. This publication is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be directed to the Curtin Careers Centre on +61 8 9266 7802.