Applying for some positions can sometimes require submitting more than a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. There’s every chance a company might ask you to respond to selection criteria. A selection criteria means you need to demonstrate your qualifications, skills, experience and knowledge. 

By showcasing your abilities and making it clear that you meet the requirements, it makes you more eligible for a job. The interview or hiring manager will evaluate your answers and determine how competent you are for the position, helping them reach a decision easier.

As the selection criteria can decide the fate of your application, it’s essential to know how to answer these interview questions effectively with great detail and relevancy. To help you prepare for a selection criteria conversation in your next interview, here are six response examples to inspire you.

1. Selection criteria: Experience

Simply listing your experience on your resume might not be enough. There might be something interesting there the interviewer wants to explore and may wish to ask about the experience you’ve gained. Your answer needs to be confident and support the experience you added to the resume.

Example response

“I have over eight years of experience in software development, which is more than average nowadays. I spent the first two years freelancing, building my portfolio and creating great relationships with my clients. But since then, I was headhunted to work for a software development company in Toronto and have been there since, showcasing my loyalty.

“In this position, I’ve completed several courses and amended the services we offer. I ran educational courses for the internal team and our clients, while also managing a team of six to manage their progression. I’m also big on self-development and have taken around 12 courses to work on different programming languages.”

2. Selection criteria: Skills

Before the interview, make sure you re-read the job description several times. In fact, do this before you even submit your resume. Don’t fall into the trap of listing every skill you can think of. Only mention the skills most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Like everything else, the interview or hiring manager won’t just take your word for it — they’ll want to hear times you’ve used the relevant skills.

Example response

“I understand this role is two-fold. On the one hand, I’m calm, patient, observant and organized. I possess these skills as I’ve worked in a managerial role for the past four years managing my own time. I’m also a big motivator and a keen learner, something I encourage my team to do.

“An example of this is encouraging my team to undertake Python courses, especially since the organization had a lot of requests to work on Python projects, but as a team, we didn’t have the skills as we did with other programming languages. I spent my time finding the relevant courses and teaching our internal team.

“Within six months, we had enough skills and new recruits to undertake four new projects, which increased the company revenue by over 15% as initially planned.

“Another big skill of mine is that I’m process-driven. I don’t just follow processes but I helped amend 90% of processes within the development team in my current company, changing the way the department is run. One of them is reducing the number of swimming lanes, resulting in projects being completed 40% quicker.”

3. Selection criteria: Collaboration

Almost every position in every company will require you to work well within a team. It’s a valuable quality as the interviewer and hiring managers know they need a team player that will fit in well. Collaboration is a selection criteria that will come up often. If the response isn’t impressive, it can be a dealbreaker as the team needs a valuable addition.

Example response

“I have the skills to work alone and within a team. As I mentioned, I was freelancing in the early days of my career, which shows I can be trusted to work autonomously and complete work on time, to a high standard. However, I enjoy working in a team more as I’m surrounded by like-minded people that want to improve — that’s what motivates me.

“I don’t see it as competition or a threat. I’m never in it for myself as I know we’re all working towards a common goal. An example of this is in my previous workplace. I finished my project ahead of time. Rather than making a head start on the next project, I noticed a colleague of mine was behind. To stop them from getting burnout by working overtime, I offered a helping hand, which they were grateful for.

“I also think of my colleagues like friends and family. For me, they aren’t just people I talk to between office working hours. I enjoy spending time outside of work, which is I was responsible for arranging regular team get-togethers so we can build strong relationships.”

4. Selection criteria: Workplace ethic

This selection criteria is an interviewer or hiring manager will ask to understand your values, work ethic and personality. They want to see what you bring to the table, how you work and whether you’re worth investing in. Even if the salary is most important to you, they want someone motivated by more than just money.

Example response

“The best way I’d describe myself and the workplace values I hold close to my heart are reliability, accountability and patience. I’m used to working in fast-paced environments where I do my best work, but these three values keep me grounded and allow me to bring the best version of myself to work.

“I’m always reliable. As mentioned, I’m not just in it for myself, but I put the company and team goals before myself. The example of putting my hand up first to help others is one instance, but I’ve yet to miss a deadline of my own and everything I do is of a high quality as I received great feedback from clients.

“Accountability is another immense workplace value to me. Not only holding myself to account, which I do repeatedly by completing work when I said I will, but also holding others to account

“Patience is another where I feel most fall short. An example of this was when a junior colleague received bad feedback from our client. I allowed the client to vent, but I didn’t react negatively. I took it on the chin and promised a solution, which we delivered within two days.”

5. Selection criteria: Knowledge and development

This selection criteria revolves around how you continue to stay on top of the developments in your industry and ensure you’re the best person for the job. Interviewers and hiring managers want to see you’re motivated to grow your skills and soak up more knowledge, whether via research or education.

Example response

“As it states on my resume, my degree is in computer science. I know working in web development doesn’t always require a degree or formal education. Still, it highlights the passion I’ve had for this role and industry, which suggests I’m laser-focused and passionate.

“However, I also know how quickly things change and the rate at which new developments are released. I know I need to be at the top of my game constantly. I have plenty of free apps on my phone to code in my free time to keep everything fresh. I complete certifications every quarter to keep my skills and resume updated.

“In my current company, I also ran monthly bootcamps where we get together to learn one new skill for the day. It’s a chance to get away from the usual work and pick up new skills we and our clients will eventually benefit from.”

6. Selection criteria: Learning from mistakes

The interviewer and hiring manager are likely to dive into certain specifics that might not always be on your resume. For example, it could be as generic as wanting to know how you learned from mistakes. This selection criteria would help them work out your decision-making skills and thought process to reach certain conclusions.

Example response

“I’m never one to shy away from when errors are made. As I said earlier, accountability is one of my biggest values and I share my losses just as quickly as I share my wins. Perhaps the most significant learning I have from a mistake I made was taking a risk and hiring someone that didn’t have the relevant programming language experience, assuming that we could train them in time.

“Unfortunately, this backfired. My biggest learning here was trusting your gut. Since then, I’ve refused to hire somebody just because a body is needed. I take my time, evaluate all options and I’m big enough to ask others for advice.”

Final thoughts

When responding to selection criteria questions, approach it with the STAR method. Understand the criteria, have a strong opening statement and always provide relevant examples. By supporting your examples with real-life situations, interviewers and hiring managers are more likely to understand your point of view.

For more career tips and advice, make sure to check out our blog.

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