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Selection criteria writers in Canberra?

davjp 19 March 2013 44

Hi rioters, I am looking at applying for a promotion and have to do a selection criteria up. I’m awesome 🙂 but I’m not good at selling myself.

Has anyone used one of the many companies that write the criteria for you? If so any good ones to speak of?

Cheers


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Selection criteria writers in Canberra?
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poetix 12:34 pm 20 Mar 13

There is a book called How to Write and Speak to Selection Criteria by Dr Ann Villiers (sp?) that might be worth chasing up. I think it’s the fourth or fifth edition, which says a lot about Canberra!

BimboGeek 12:24 pm 20 Mar 13

mezza76 said :

I can spot a ‘generic app’ a mile away versus an application where someone has put a heap of work into it.

But it can take HOURS to respond to selection criteria. I understand that some jobs are very specialised and you want someone who has the exact skills, experience and interest. But why weed out a generic application for a generic job?

I barely even bother reading application letters for junior positions … I can gather a lot about a person’s communication skills just by reading their resume and a short chat generally gives me an idea what they would be like to work with.

kakosi 12:09 pm 20 Mar 13

Shop around, there are people who specialise in writing selection criteria for government jobs in Canberra. If you’ve never applied for a government job before you won’t know the language and format that they insist upon and you’re unlikely to get an interview.

I used a professional resume and criteria writer the first time I applied for a government job and it got me to interview. Once you get to the interview stage it’s up to you to sell yourself as people don’t get jobs because of well-written answers to selection criteria – they get interviews.

devils_advocate 12:08 pm 20 Mar 13

mezza76 said :

As someone who has chaired a lot of panels, a well written response to a selection criteria is just one of a range of things I’ll look at to judge you 😉 – don’t forget to have a very good CV – I often find it more useful than a selection criteria to work out the skills of a applicant. I usually go to a detailed read of the selection criteria after i’ve already made my ‘cut’ of hopelessly unqualified applicants. In your case, make sure you have both short, concise and with relevant examples. I can spot a ‘generic app’ a mile away versus an application where someone has put a heap of work into it.

One manifestation of Optimism Bias is that individuals tend to over-estimate their ability to detect dishonesty or lack of candour in others. Even when faced with evidence about base probabilities, individuals will tend to place more faith (statistically speaking, ill-founded faith) in their own subjective assessment.

devils_advocate 11:39 am 20 Mar 13

Pitchka said :

Lookout Smithers said :

As I understand it to get a promotion in the APS you only need to brown nose the boss. How hard can it be to otherwise? Gov Depts are run by some of the simplest folk around.

And this is why you are not employed in the APS, clearly, you are stupid.

Being stupid is not a barrier to employment in the APS or anywhere else. Nor is descending into personal insults when lacking a substantive argument, it appears.

Pitchka 11:30 am 20 Mar 13

Lookout Smithers said :

As I understand it to get a promotion in the APS you only need to brown nose the boss. How hard can it be to otherwise? Gov Depts are run by some of the simplest folk around.

And this is why you are not employed in the APS, clearly, you are stupid.

zorro29 11:22 am 20 Mar 13

Lookout Smithers said :

As I understand it to get a promotion in the APS you only need to brown nose the boss. How hard can it be to otherwise? Gov Depts are run by some of the simplest folk around.

trolling much??

devils_advocate 11:21 am 20 Mar 13

Mysteryman said :

Of course you are going to have trouble with addressing selection criteria.

I have no trouble whatsoever drafting selection statements. I have drafted statements that have contributed to selection at levels from GAPS-EL2. However, I have a healthy skepticism about the usefulness of these criteria and recognise that many people have difficulty with them.

Lookout Smithers 10:57 am 20 Mar 13

As I understand it to get a promotion in the APS you only need to brown nose the boss. How hard can it be to otherwise? Gov Depts are run by some of the simplest folk around.

Mysteryman 10:26 am 20 Mar 13

miz said :

‘Selection criteria’ is basically a ridiculous game public servants have to play. No wonder people strategise about how to do it. Having to use all those BS meaningless weasel words can drive a normal person crazy (eg strategic, resilience, innovative, leveraging).

Davjp, I would take the advice given in post #2, and don’t feel bad at all. Any obvious discrepancies between the SC and interview (eg difference in written literacy v English language skills) will be evident at interview. These days agencies place far more weight on the interview than SC (because many people get help writing them due to their daft and incomprehensible nature), which makes one wonder why SC required at all.

“Strategic” and “innovative” are weasel words, are they? But “strategise” is ok?

There is a very simple and effective way to address selection criteria that shows that the applicant has relevant experience and sound reading comprehension and writing skills. Which, despite the insistence of unsuccessful applicant in this thread, are actually quite important in an environment requiring routine reporting/accountability/paper trails. If you’re finding it that difficult you’re probably applying for the wrong job.

Mysteryman 10:17 am 20 Mar 13

devils_advocate said :

Mysteryman said :

Responding to selection criteria is not difficult. A few minutes googling will provide you with links to useful advice. If you lack the ability to write an appropriate, consise written response, you probably shouldn’t be applying for the job.

My sincere apologies, but – based on my frankly extensive experience – that is laughable.

Firstly, most jobs that require lengthy, repetetitive and vague selection criteria do NOT require high-level or even adequate writing skills. Look at what is required for an EA job if you don’t believe me. Yet, unless you can wax lyrical about APS values and code of conduct, you won’t get a look in. Up until EL1 everything gets re-written multiple times as it works it way up through the bureaucracy, to the extent that actual writing skills are nearly irrellevant.

Secondly, in terms of relevance – most criteria are the same. Something on written communication, something on oral communication, something on teamwork, maybe ‘conceptual and analytical skills’ or some equally vague variation therefore, and maybe – just maybe, if they are particularly wank-worthy – something about leadership (not just for EL2s and above – I’ve seen it for APS 5s). The ‘generic’ ones massively outnumber the crazy one-offs like DIAC etc, so the optimal strategy is to draft the ‘one size fits all’ statement, and scatterbomb them around.

Finally – and I’m not sure I’m reading this right, so happy to be corrected – there seems to be some fear that if you get someone to write your statement, this could somehow be found out later on and used to your detriment. Please. Unless you go advertising the fact, there’s no way this could happen, and in any case the APS is so incapable of managing even gross incompetence there is no concievable way they could devote the resources required to first prove it, and secondly prove it was some kind of breach actionable by any sanctions.

/rant.

I’m yet to apply for a job that had “lengthy, repetetitive and vague selection criteria”. It sounds like you don’t possess the ability to understand why communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills would be relevant to the public service. Of course you are going to have trouble with addressing selection criteria.

zorro29 9:48 am 20 Mar 13

JC said :

zorro29 said :

how about writing it yourself so you’re not giving yourself an undeserved advantage over other honest applicants

I am curious as to how getting someone to write an application for you is being dishonest and giving an advantage?

In my case I am bloody good at what I do, but s*** at writting. The application (unless the job calls for a writer) shoulod be written to prove you meet the criteria not that you are good at writting. So really what is the issue getting someone else to do it?

PS my last one was written by my wife, does that make me dishonest?

short answer: yes

long answer: yes

i am excellent at my job but not great in interviews…maybe i should outsource that too. is your wife available?

miz 7:45 am 20 Mar 13

‘Selection criteria’ is basically a ridiculous game public servants have to play. No wonder people strategise about how to do it. Having to use all those BS meaningless weasel words can drive a normal person crazy (eg strategic, resilience, innovative, leveraging).

Davjp, I would take the advice given in post #2, and don’t feel bad at all. Any obvious discrepancies between the SC and interview (eg difference in written literacy v English language skills) will be evident at interview. These days agencies place far more weight on the interview than SC (because many people get help writing them due to their daft and incomprehensible nature), which makes one wonder why SC required at all.

mezza76 10:28 pm 19 Mar 13

JC said :

zorro29 said :

how about writing it yourself so you’re not giving yourself an undeserved advantage over other honest applicants

I am curious as to how getting someone to write an application for you is being dishonest and giving an advantage?

In my case I am bloody good at what I do, but s*** at writting. The application (unless the job calls for a writer) shoulod be written to prove you meet the criteria not that you are good at writting. So really what is the issue getting someone else to do it?

PS my last one was written by my wife, does that make me dishonest?

As someone who has chaired a lot of panels, a well written response to a selection criteria is just one of a range of things I’ll look at to judge you 😉 – don’t forget to have a very good CV – I often find it more useful than a selection criteria to work out the skills of a applicant. I usually go to a detailed read of the selection criteria after i’ve already made my ‘cut’ of hopelessly unqualified applicants. In your case, make sure you have both short, concise and with relevant examples. I can spot a ‘generic app’ a mile away versus an application where someone has put a heap of work into it.

Personally, it won’t matter who writes your response to a selection criteria (I help my wife with hers and always get someone to read over mine – just to keep the quality assurance up). With a CV and a in-depth interview, most of the time you can work out who is good and who isn’t.

LSWCHP 9:30 pm 19 Mar 13

devils_advocate said :

Don’t use a company. Outsiders don’t know the APS language.

Find someone that is at least one level, preferably two levels above the level you want to apply for, and ask them for their help.

And contrary to post #1, don’t feel bad about getting someone else to write it for you. At the risk of sounding like Lance, everyone else is doing it and you need to do it to in order to keep up. The selection statement just gets you through the culling process, you need to shine in the interview to get the job.

Final advice – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Once you’ve drafted up a good set of general-purpose criteria, use them for as many jobs as you can and take a flexible approach to what jobs you want. I would suggest applying for a bare minimum of 4 jobs per fortnight, depending on what level you’re at (at EL2 or above the jobs become a bit thin on the ground).

No wonder the APS is rooted due to lack of expertise, among many other reasons. Nobody sits still long enough to be able to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing.

I see this all the time at The Department Of Obfuscated, where everybody changes seats and hats every year or so. We’re constantly dealing with blundering bloody amateurs who’ve just rolled in to replace the previous amateur. It makes it unnecessarily hard for everybody.

I’ve worked for the same crew for over 20 years, and in the same role for the last 8 years. This doesn’t mean I’m a bumbling old fart with no ability, it means I’m the best in the country, and among the best in the world, at what I do because I’ve done it long enough to develop expertise.

Sigh. Screaming into the void, I suspect.

LSWCHP 9:22 pm 19 Mar 13

JC said :

zorro29 said :

how about writing it yourself so you’re not giving yourself an undeserved advantage over other honest applicants

I am curious as to how getting someone to write an application for you is being dishonest and giving an advantage?

In my case I am bloody good at what I do, but s*** at writting.

Nailed that one.

Masquara 8:46 pm 19 Mar 13

fabforty said :

c_c™ said :

Part of the process of writing the selection criteria is your ability to respond relevantly and with concision.

If you can’t do that yourself, I’m sorry, but you’ve already failed one of the tests for the job. Don’t cheat others by outsourcing it. Focus instead on gaining advice and skills that will enable you to do it yourself better.

Totally agree. Having someone else writing your application is a kind of fraud. Is that same person going to come to work with you and write your briefs for you ?

If the public service had a problem with people getting other people to help with their applications, they would ask them to sign off that it is all their own work. No, it isn’t fraud.

FXST01 8:42 pm 19 Mar 13

Pitchka said :

FXST01 said :

Isn’t the APS selection criteria, where they hold a mirror under your nose and see if it fogs up?

WTF does that even mean?

I really hope that is not a serious comment.

JC 7:07 pm 19 Mar 13

zorro29 said :

how about writing it yourself so you’re not giving yourself an undeserved advantage over other honest applicants

I am curious as to how getting someone to write an application for you is being dishonest and giving an advantage?

In my case I am bloody good at what I do, but s*** at writting. The application (unless the job calls for a writer) shoulod be written to prove you meet the criteria not that you are good at writting. So really what is the issue getting someone else to do it?

PS my last one was written by my wife, does that make me dishonest?

fabforty 6:49 pm 19 Mar 13

c_c™ said :

Part of the process of writing the selection criteria is your ability to respond relevantly and with concision.

If you can’t do that yourself, I’m sorry, but you’ve already failed one of the tests for the job. Don’t cheat others by outsourcing it. Focus instead on gaining advice and skills that will enable you to do it yourself better.

Totally agree. Having someone else writing your application is a kind of fraud. Is that same person going to come to work with you and write your briefs for you ?

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