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Mistakes to avoid when completing selection criteria

Answering a selection criteria can be tricky especially with a number of common traps jobseekers can fall into when doing them. Here are 5 common mistakes and ways to avoid them when you go to answer a selection criteria.

Using old and irrelevant examples

When answering a selection criteria you should use recent and relevant examples to illustrate your point. Recent examples should have taken place in the last 12 months and they should be relevant to the position you are applying for. If you don’t have relevant examples then use ones that will show your transferable skills and ensure you link it to the position.

Being too broad in your responses

The selection criteria is a chance for you to show how your knowledge, skills and experience makes you a perfect candidate for the position available, therefore you must ensure your response focuses strongly on you. Use strong, direct language that shows your specific role in your examples. For instance, if you achieved a goal working in a group and you use that as an example, you must make sure you clearly address your role in the group and how your contribution helped to achieve the results. You should always be clear and specific when answering a selection criteria.

Using material that is not relevant

When answering a selection criteria you may feel the desire to include as much information as you can in an attempt to give the employer more information about you. This is not a benefit as it shows you are unable to stick to the topic provided and can result in you not addressing key pieces of information, especially if your response has a word limit. Stick to the subject matter provided by the criterion and avoid going off topic and including information that does not have direct bearing on your examples.

Use past tense rather than present tense

When answering selection criteria it is better to write in past tense as it conveys, more clearly, that you have demonstrated the addressed skill. By writing in past tense you are giving a feeling of a consistent behaviour you perform over time rather than a behaviour or skill that you think might be expected from you in the future. Employers will be more reassured if they have a past example of the required skills.

Sounding like you need close supervision

No one will purposely make their responses sound like they need close supervision however certain words and phrases can create an impression that you rely on others to tell you what to do. Employers want candidates who they can see has the ability to work autonomously and that is the impression you want to make when answering the selection criteria. For example phrases such as ‘for my job I was required to’ and ‘I had to’ create that impression. Whereas if you change the sentence to ‘a key role of my job was’ you are changing the whole tone of the response to one where you give the employer the impression you are able to take innovative and work autonomously.

By keeping these 5 tips in mind when answering a selection criteria you are ensuring you do not fall into the common traps when answering a selection criteria.

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