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Oh my soul! I need help! I started to have a peep at jobs in ACT. Most of the jobs I had a look at on line ask for a resume and than selection criteria? Can anyone please give me some clarity on what does selection criteria consists off cause I am a bit in the dark here. Any help will be appreciated!

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These are mostly for government positions (both federal and state). It is apparently something that was written into their legislation or procedures years ago for the way they go through the employment process. On the site where they advertise the position (eg this one for ACT government http://www.jobs.act.gov.au/) they have the selection criteria available to be downloaded (I would guess in some other cases it would be in the advert). You need to draw up a separate document that addresses each of the criteria individually. This would mean you need to give detail for each with examples, etc to illustrate how you meet this. They look at the STAR methodology (you can google this) as guideline. Someone on the inside sent me this and it helps:

Looking for a job in Government

This is a primer for those new to public sector employment. It does not intend to be comprehensive, and is not specific advice on getting any particular job. You should get specialist advice when it is needed. This information was provided by a senior manager in the ACT Government and the views in here are his own and are based on his experience over the last 28 years in Government service .

The job advertisement

Apart from a general blurb on the job, the advertisement will contain 2 important pieces of information:

• how to get the selection documentation (often downloadable, but sometimes you have to ring up for it); and

• the name of a contact person for the job.

The contact person is in the area that has advertised and knows about the job. Often they are the chair of the interview panel, which is a committee formed to pick the best applicant for the job.

Ring or email the contact person to find out about the duties of the job, how the job fits into the big picture, and when the job interviews are likely to be held. Treat this contact as a part of your interview for the job.

The first impressions you make with the contact person will make a difference to how you are viewed by the selection committee. Don’t waste the contact officer’s time. They are busy people and recruitment is often the last thing they want to do on top of their day job.

Do some homework on the job and the background to it. Find out about the team you will be working with and how the job fits in to the role of the agency. Has the agency, or function been in the news lately? What is the budget? Has the Minister made any announcements about the function? This research will be handy if you are called up for a job interview.

If you are from overseas, you may need to be a permanent resident, or an Australian citizen. Ask the contact person.

Your job application

Selection documentation consists of a varying amount of important information. But the 2 most important documents are statements of what the activities of the job are (called a “duty statementâ€) and the “selection criteriaâ€.

This latter document is a list of what the employer is looking for in the person to fill the job.

When writing your job application:

• keep to the point, tell the truth and don’t make assertions that are not backed by experience;

• don’t copy anyone else’s application – it must be yours alone;

• remember that you want to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the job;

• include your CV (qualifications, employment history) and personal information, eg date of birth etc. Include only information which is going to help the employer decide if you are the person for the job;

• remember that typos, spelling mistakes, bad formatting or careless errors will kill your application and therefore your chance of getting the job; and

• write something against each of the selection criteria.

You must write something about how you fit selection criteria. You have to demonstrate that you have the experience, knowledge or attitudes that the employer is after. Give examples from your training or experience, or both, which tells the interview panel that you meet each criterion.

You want the interview panel to get interested in you and call you in for an interview.

An example: Selection criterion may say: “Experience in or knowledge of organization of large events such as conferences, seminars and workshopsâ€.

To answer this criterion, your application should say: “I have experience in organizing conferences and seminars. In 2007, I organized a conference of engineers at a large venue in [locality]. Organising the conference involved doing A, B and C etc. The conference was a success and my team was highly commended.â€


Name 2 or 3 referees in your application. Referees should be:

• accessible – provide an email address, or phone number;

• current – they must know about your recent employment history; and

• as far as discretion allows, include your current employer. If you cannot include your current employer, explain why in your application.

The job interview

The selection committee has the tedious and difficult job of picking out which candidates should be interviewed. If you have had contact with the contact person, and your application is well put together and addresses the selection criteria, you are more likely to get an interview. But there are no guarantees.

At the interview you will be asked questions based on the duties of the job and the selection criteria. You may have a written exercise to complete also. It is up to the panel how they run the interview and the recruitment.

A few tips and traps on handling interviews.

• Be considerate of the interview panel. Present well, be on time and don’t waste their time.

• An interview may commence with “warm up†questions. These allow you to talk about yourself or your experience. Make the most of them.

• You may be asked at the end of the interview if you have any questions. This is an opportunity for you to use your research. Get a question or 2 based on what you have read about the job, the agency or the context. This is also good opportunity to re-iterate your major strengths and to do some self-promotion.

• Allow yourself time to think of answers to questions. If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

• Don’t try to answer a question without understanding it fully. Ask for clarification if necessary.

• Add to previous answers. Say: “In my answer to your question, about xyz, can I add…….â€.

• Ask the panel when they expect a decision on the recruitment. Most panels will be non-committal, but if the position is to be filled quickly, they will tell you.

This is from one of the sites I googled before:


An important part of your interview will involve answering questions posed by the interviewer.

Your ability to clearly and concisely respond to questions in an informed manner that relates

your background to the question posed will set you apart from others that stumble over


The STAR method simply provides a logical approach to answering any question by providing a

guided approach to using one of your past successes in responding to the question.

The four steps are:

1. S = Situation (Describe the situation: general/specific)

2. T = Technique (What approach did you use?)

3. A = Action (What action did you take?)

4. R = Result (What was the result of your action?)


Plan to develop a comprehensive list of your many successes, especially those that relate to nonclassroom

activities such as:

• Related experience

• Technical interests

• Leadership examples

• Teaming activities

• Communication skills

• Work experiences

Develop short examples that illustrate your successes in these areas.

Situation or


Describe the situation that you were in or the task that you needed

to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not

a generalized description of what you have done in the past. Be

sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. This

situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience,

or any relevant event.

Action you took Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you.

Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what

you did -- not the efforts of the team. Don't tell what you might do,

tell what you did.

Results you


What happened? How did the event end? What did you

accomplish? What did you learn?

Sample Interviewing Stories


Situation/Task (ST):

Advertising revenue was falling off for my college newspaper, the California Tech, and large

numbers of long-term advertisers were not renewing contracts.

Action (A):

I designed a new promotional packet to go with the rate sheet and compared the benefits of Tech

circulation with other ad media in the area. I also set-up a special training session for the account

executives with an economics/marketing professor who discussed competitive selling strategies.

Result ®:

We signed contracts with 15 former advertisers for daily ads and five for special supplements.

We increased our new advertisers by 20 percent [quantities are always good] over the same

period last year.



Situation/Task (ST):

Several local parents requested tutoring for disadvantaged students, but our Creative Connections

Tutoring program did not have enough Caltech volunteers.

Action (A):

I organized a brainstorming session for increasing Caltech student participation with three other

students in my house. We prioritized the ideas, looked for budget resources, and then I

eventually settled on beginning a new program called Friends and Neighbors that matched

Caltech freshmen with tutorees. We were able to get free Disneyland tickets and funding for

after school pizza.

Result ®:

We increased the tutor pool by 20 freshmen, doubled the tutoring hours available for 50 local

school kids and had a great time at Disneyland with the 12 high school tutorees. The program

has continued for the last two years and now has an organization president and vice-president

and a budget from the Alumni Association that should guarantee that the program continues.

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Good post Pine & Riana

The same process is used in South Australia as well.



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WOW! What can I say! I ask for help than I get this!! A detailed reply!! Pine and Riana, thanks very very much for the excellent post!! This is really going to help me. :magic:

Gosh, it seems like a lengthy process. Not only a matter of forwarding your cv and wallah. Kinda a pain in the bud I would say :)

Thanks again! And Dax, thanks for your response as well!

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Good post Pine & Riana

The same process is used in South Australia as well.



It was used where I worked in South Africa as well in private industry. :ilikeit:

Good post Pine and Riana, I work in a government organisation and this is exactly how it works STAR . ACT the home of all government organisations :blush:

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To give you an example, some of the selection criteria I had on a job application were:

-Well developed verbal and written communication skills

-Appropriate tertiary qualification or extensive industry experience

-Advanced budgeting and communication skills

-Well developed organisational and business management skills

-Minimum of five years experience in a managerial role

-Technical report writing experience

-Analytical and negotiation skills

-Experience with long term programming

-Local Government experience

You are expected to explain/prove how you have the experience required under each point.

For example - in my previous position at xyz, one of my key responsibilities included xyz where I did xyz for xyz amount of years etc etc.

Include any supporting documentation - for example if they want to know if you have "technical report writing experience" explain how you have this experience and attach an actual report you have written as an example.

Yes - you can end up writing practially a disertation - and they expect it.

Edited by Gizmo
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"If you are from overseas, you may need to be a permanent resident, or an Australian citizen. Ask the contact person."

Most jobs for goverment, say the you need security clearance... How hard is this to get? can you get it if you have a PR visa? ACT want you there but could be tricky with the job?

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"If you are from overseas, you may need to be a permanent resident, or an Australian citizen. Ask the contact person."

Most jobs for goverment, say the you need security clearance... How hard is this to get? can you get it if you have a PR visa? ACT want you there but could be tricky with the job?

I spoke to both people from federal and state government about this to be sure. This is for federal government and not ACT or as far as I understand for most state governments. I is also not always critical for all departments - Defence, etc is a must though.

The security clearance and citizenship thing go hand in hand in general. To be able to get security clearance you will thus generally have to be a citizen. This is not always the case though and if you have a scarce skill there are ways around this. There are indeed a few people originally from SA here that work for defence that got all this sorted within 3 months (including citizenship).

Security clearance is generally a painfull thing and takes long (especially if you are from overseas). They talk from anyone and everyone you ever knew ranging from the annoying kid in kintergarden you kicked in the chin to your uncles, cousin's sister in law. Can be done though and many SAs have done it. Heck - a guy from my work left recently and got his clearance after 2 years - he was from Colombia :unsure: though. Lets hope they dont see SA as that big an issue :lol: .

There are other ways of working indirectly for Federal though. They usually use this where there would not really be a need for security clearance. You can work through a contracting company (and there are lots of contracting houses here). Some of these are the very advertising agencies we all see on the adverts in Seek. There are also short term contracts that dont always need clearance. Then many departments have a database of "casual" employment that you can be placed on and that seems to be fairly efficient - you also dont need clearance.

Your best bet is still ACT government and private sector. The understanding is that they comprise over 50% of the employment opportunities.

I know some of the other forumites did a bit of homework on the ICT space and they may have some comments to add.

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