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Job Selection Criteria’s.

By 27 February 2009 61

Job Selection Criteria’s.

Lord knows they have to be the dumbest and most arbitrary method of hiring someone, but for some reason the Public Service still insists that applicants do them. I am sure it stops many good applicants, who are unfamiliar with SC’s, from applying at all.

But there is a method to writing a good one, and I was wondering if Rioters knew of anyone that provided assistance on compiling SC’s for a fee.

What’s a good rate for these sorts of things?

Thanks for any help!

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61 Responses to Job Selection Criteria’s.
#1
mistertim7:02 pm, 27 Feb 09

Check out the book “How to Address Selection Criteria” by Ann D. Villiers.

Google that phrase and you’ll find some good info as well.

#2
Gungahlin Al7:19 pm, 27 Feb 09

And pay attention to errant apostrophes?? Three in the one post…

Most departmental websites have information on how to do it via the STAR method (try DAFF for instance).

Also APSC has a very good course called Marketing Yourself into an Executive Level Position. Great facilitator and he takes a quite different approach to STAR. It is on my ‘best of’ courses attended list.

#3
Clown Killer7:24 pm, 27 Feb 09

Agreed mistertim. There’s a bunch of resources available on-line and from the ‘business’ or ‘professional development’ sections of most good book shops – try Daltons Bookshop in town.

From my own experience assessing job applicants the most common error you come across is a failure to properly address criteria. For example, a criterion that asks you to demonstrate your proficiency is not an invitation to list all the jobs or projects you’ve been involved in – the panel will be looking for an insight into your skill-set and how you might apply that in situations relevant to their needs – if they want to know what jobs you’ve held they’ll look in your CV.

Sure selection criteria suck but in a tightening market where they might now be getting 50-100 or more applications per vacant position, they need some way to sort out the contenders from the pretenders. Keep it simple and to the point with as much detail as you can squeeze in but don’t pad it – the panels going to have to read through your application along with a bunch of others and waffle rarely gets you through to the interview round.

It’s often possible to spot applicants who have used professionals to help them write applications – particularly when they get to interview and from my point of view, I immediately worry that if the applicant needed help applying for the job how are they going to manage the actual job on their own.

#4
Pommy bastard7:34 pm, 27 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :

And pay attention to errant apostrophes?? Three in the one post…

Ouch!!The grocer’s apostophe rides again.

#5
LaLa7:37 pm, 27 Feb 09

Gungahlin Al said :

And pay attention to errant apostrophes?? Three in the one post…

I don’t think he was asking you to critique his post, merely provide advice.

What a way to encourage people to feel comfortable about posting on here.

#6
realityskin7:40 pm, 27 Feb 09

S T A R

#7
kevn7:41 pm, 27 Feb 09

Yep, Villiers is all over the public service…

#8
cranky7:56 pm, 27 Feb 09

When errant apostophes are apparently more notable than the content of the post, you may well begin to understand the private sectors jaundiced view of the public service mentality.

#9
housebound8:10 pm, 27 Feb 09

cranky said :

When errant apostophes are apparently more notable than the content of the post, you may well begin to understand the private sectors jaundiced view of the public service mentality.

heh, heh … no apostrophic mistakes there.

I have quite a few very technical friends who can write but think they can’t, so they get a professional to do their applications for them – even for the technical jobs. A good quality professional will only ever write what is really there, and it takes a lot of effort from the applicant. Someone has to come up with the facts.

People who can write, or for whom writing is easy, should never be so arrogant as to mock those who have trouble stringing words together on paper.

#10
trevar8:19 pm, 27 Feb 09

cranky said :

When errant apostophes are apparently more notable than the content of the post, you may well begin to understand the private sectors jaundiced view of the public service mentality.

The use of apostrophes is relevant to the content of the post. I even work in the private sector and still judge people’s capacity to perform at work by how they communicate. Seems wise to advise someone who is wanting to apply for public service positions but doesn’t know what to do with an apostrophe to learn what to do with an apostrophe.

Granted, it could be done more politely, such as my addition:

Also, ‘criteria’ is plural, and it’s singular form is ‘criterion’, so the first apostrophic (!) problem is a moot point.

#11
Piratemonkey8:22 pm, 27 Feb 09

Selection criteria arn’t fun but once you get the knack for them its not too bad. After that the hardest part is grammer and speeling and keeping it short and sweet.

Basically look at the question as: As an opportunity to say why you think your background would make you good at the proposed job. It might ask some obvious question about dealing with people that everyone should know without even thinking. Alas many dont :-(

You could answer this by saying while at uni you worked at a resturant part time. In this role you learnt valuable lessons about interaction about different types of people and how to calmly take control of difficult situations with customers and steer them towards the most positive outcome. (Id throw a quick example in here) You then mention you feel these universally useful skills will greatly aid your smooth transition into your new feild and help throughout your daily duties.

Thats how i look at them anyways. Feel free to offer advice. As I scored a new job not long ago i guess im on the right track :-) I woulda argue SC’s are good to help find those who can articulate themselves better which is a handy skill. Sucks for introverted bean counters and IT nerds tho :-P

#12
sepi8:22 pm, 27 Feb 09

There are people in the back of the jobs pages of the Canberra Times who advertise that they write selection criteria and CVs. I don’t know anyone who has used them tho.

A good start is to have a look at some other people’s successful job applications for similar jobs.

And always get someone else to read your application thru before you submit it. They will see parts that are confusing, and may find typos and apostrophes that you have missed.

I’ve actually thought about writing selection criteria for people as a work from home thing. I’ve almost always got interviewed for anything I’ve applied for. I’d like to know what the going rate is too.

#13
Piratemonkey8:26 pm, 27 Feb 09

“about interaction WITH different types of people” Oops.
*Piratemonkey run’s due to the nearby nammar grazi’s*

#14
54-118:35 pm, 27 Feb 09

sepi, I sit on APS selection panels (as scribe and convenot) and there is plenty of scope for assistance for many applicants. If you did this, yout charge-out rate would be $30-40 per hour.

#15
LaLa8:40 pm, 27 Feb 09

A quote I heard was around $400 which included addressing the criteria and revamping a resume.

As someone that works in the private sector dealing with public sector hiring managers it astounds me a high percentage of them place more value on someone addressing the criteria correctly than their performance in an interview. Even if they have enlisted the assistance, paid or unpaid, or someone else.

#16
Clown Killer8:51 pm, 27 Feb 09

I’ve come across that too LaLa, it’s weird. Personally, my decisions about hiring are always made on the basis of references and an interview.

Moving just a little off topic – increasingly, I find talking to the people the applicant didn’t put down as their referees to be helpful: other managers, people they supervise even their clients. But then I’m not in the PS.

#17
barking toad8:52 pm, 27 Feb 09

This coffee searching at a new level!

How can I apply for a job?

#18
Felix the Cat8:55 pm, 27 Feb 09

sepi said :

There are people in the back of the jobs pages of the Canberra Times who advertise that they write selection criteria and CVs. I don’t know anyone who has used them tho.

I attempted to use one of these companies (am I allowed to say the name?) and to cut a long story short had very unsatisfactory dealings with them. Can’t recall the exact $ figure they charge, might of been around $150. A bit exxy but worth it I guess if it helps you to land your dream job.

sepi said :

A good start is to have a look at some other people’s successful job applications for similar jobs.

And always get someone else to read your application thru before you submit it. They will see parts that are confusing, and may find typos and apostrophes that you have missed.

I’ve actually thought about writing selection criteria for people as a work from home thing. I’ve almost always got interviewed for anything I’ve applied for. I’d like to know what the going rate is too.

I agree. I ended up getting a mate’s wife do up a response to the SC for me. I got the interview but unfortunately didn’t get the job.

I also keep the applications for previous jobs and copy and paste relevant parts into new applications.

Interestingly, about 6 months later the identical sounding job at the same place was advertised with with identical SC (except for a few words in one criterion) so I emailed them asking why they were re-advertising and if previous applicants would be considered. I received a reply that it was a “totally different” job. So I submitted my “totally different” SC but must of upset them because I didn’t get an interview. I don’t want to work in a place that’s full of BS anyway.

I find SC to be so BS. Every job I’ve ever had I just send in an application letter with resume attached, go for an interview, and then they contact me within a few days regarding start date. If SC is such a good way to recruit people how come the PS is so full of dead wood?

#19
Kramer9:34 pm, 27 Feb 09

Felix the Cat said :

If SC is such a good way to recruit people how come the PS is so full of dead wood?

Addressing a SC proves that you can string a few words together, and you can state how your skills/experience align with their corporate objectives.

The PS has lots of dead wood because it’s so bloody hard to actually fire someone. The only way we have ever got rid of staff is failing them during probation; and winding up the pressure until they leave or transfer.

#20
p19:57 pm, 27 Feb 09

Selection Criteria sh!t me to tears, but for jobs where certain skills are important, like written communication and ability to research, they do make sense.

What doesn’t is when a job is advertised for something like an arborist, and there is the expectation that a full departmental selection criteria will be addressed. A good friend of mine, who is great at cutting down trees, could probably scrape together a reasonable application, but would not have any idea of what was required if not told by friends. Sometimes I think that people in the PS get a little bound up in “the way it is done” and forget that people outside of the the PS think that they are wankers.

#21
p19:59 pm, 27 Feb 09

If SC is such a good way to recruit people how come the PS is so full of dead wood?

Because you pay someone else to do it for you?

I went to uni, but if I have to write a selection criteria, I defer to my wife’s advice and help, because while she didn’t finish high school, she spent some time in the job placement industry, and writes a mean CV and job app.

#22
sepi10:01 pm, 27 Feb 09

A big part of it is about being seen to be fair to everyone, and being able to prove afterwards how the decision to hire someone was arrived at. (Eg – a big stack of graded selection criteria).

A PS manager would be crucified if they just rang a friend who they knew could do the job, got them in for a quick chat/interview and gave them the job the next day.

#23
p110:10 pm, 27 Feb 09

Yeah, fair call about fairness and accountability. As always, there is a balance between what has to be done, and what would probably be best.

#24
enrique10:15 pm, 27 Feb 09

sepi said :

A PS manager would be crucified if they just rang a friend who they knew could do the job, got them in for a quick chat/interview and gave them the job the next day.

It’s that kind of mentality that holds the ps back. What’s wrong with ringing a friend? If that friend gets the job done it’s win/win. If he’s absolutely useless kick him to the curb. Works in the private sector.

#25
sepi10:24 pm, 27 Feb 09

When the manager in the APS is allowed to hire all her buddies without any proper processes questions get asked in the media and parliament. It reflects badly on the govt of the day.

#26
54-1110:35 pm, 27 Feb 09

The job application, which in almost all cases MUST address the SC, is generally no more than a process for shortlisting those to be interviewed.

The next part of the process is the interview itself, where the applicant can really show their wares.

So use the application process to get the interview. Clearly addess the criteria, provide good examples, demonstrate that you have the range of required expereince, skills and knowledge. That sounds easy, but it’s not. A good professional CV expert should be able to clearly disguise the fact that someone else has written it.

I’ve noticed a trend recenly where people write their CVs in the third person – it’s not an approach as a selection panel member, would recommend.

#27
Primal10:35 pm, 27 Feb 09

Criteriums.

I’m sure you meant criteriums.

#28
54-1110:36 pm, 27 Feb 09

sepi, I can say that I’ve never, ever been involved in a selection process where this sort of nepotism has taken place. I’ve no doubt it happens, but I’m convinced it’s not a common occurrence.

#29
miz10:43 pm, 27 Feb 09

SC are a game. An annoying game, but if you learn the rules, you will do fine.

You want a good application with your SC tailored to the job you are applying for. It is VITAL that you have good examples to back up your claims. (And keep the resume down to an uncluttered two-three pages). And ring your referees to ensure they are on board and to make sure they are definitely going to give you a positive ref. If not, get another ref.

Usually, the selection criteria cover things like strategic thinking/analytical skills/sound judgement, ability to achieve results, ability to develop productive working relationships, demonstrated personal drive and integrity, ability to communicate effectively. These are aspects of most jobs. Again, I repeat, illustrate with examples of how you do these things. Others have mentioned STAR, which is
Situation
Task
Action taken
Result

Usually the interview panel will have a set of questions everyone gets asked, such as how you would prioritise tasks that all appear to be urgent, or what you do if you make a mistake.

Good luck!

#30
LaLa10:47 pm, 27 Feb 09

I can see the benefit of well-kept records and accountability but I also think the PS could save a lot tax payers money and peoples time by reviewing their recruitment processes which are archaic and unwieldy. I believe they could do this and still retain transparency and fairness in the process.

I was referred to my current role and my previous role by a former co-worker and during my 3.5 years with this company I have since referred two other former colleagues, both of whom were successful in gaining the role.

A lot of my former private sector clients are investing in staff referral schemes and for most of them it is now their preferred way to recruit. It is cost effective and provides employees with a nice incentive (I got $1000 plus two 4 gb Video Ipods) to refer people they know that may be qualified.

Also like attracts like.

If you have a hard-working, effective worker chances are they know someone with a similar skill-set and very few people would dream of referring someone they didn’t trust to perform well as it reflects on their performance as well.

Having said all of this… does anyone actually know of anyone personally that actually provides this service for under $400?

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