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Creating & Establishing Selection Criteria

Frequenty Asked Questions

Creating & Establishing Selection Criteria

The purpose of selection criteria is to assist in making objective decisions about the most suitable candidates for a position. Well thought out and constructed selection criteria can make selection decisions transparent and justifiable.

Selection criteria assists with identifying the factors considered to be essential or desirable to successfully perform the role you are recruiting for. The development of the selection criteria should be closely linked to the job analysis and design process and the position description used in the recruitment process.

In order to develop selection criteria, you will need to ask the following questions:

  • What does the successful candidate need? Establish what specific evidence of knowledge, skills, behaviour, education, qualifications candidates require to be successful in the role.
  • What level is required? Set the criteria and capabilities standards required drawing from the job requirements, position description and person specifications.
  • How important is it to the role? Determine which of the criteria are essential for the person to competently perform the job role and which are desired but not essential. This distinction is important in instances where no one candidate meets all the criteria or when all candidates meet the essential criteria and the desirable criteria can be used to assess.

Tip: When determining if knowledge or skills are essential or desirable, consideration should also be given as to whether the knowledge or skill can be easily learnt on the job. Those skills that can be easily picked up in on the job training or other development activities while still important to the role may be less critical to the selection process as it may not be necessary for the successful candidate to have the skill when they commence the role. This may widen the pool of appropriate candidates to include in the selection process.

The selection criteria can then inform which selection methods are used to identify the best candidate for the role.


It is important to be clear on your selection criteria when using an external recruitment provider to ensure they understand what you are looking for from the candidates they recruit for you. While a position description is useful, it can be interpreted in different ways. A good recruiter will work with you to identify your selection criteria, so they feel confident in recruiting relevant candidates for your selection process.

The following is an example of selection criteria for a receptionist role

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