Matching skills to criteria


The role of the selection panel is to assess the information provided at all stages of the selection process including:

The selection criteria for an advertised position are where you demonstrate specifically how your knowledge, skills and experience make you a candidate that the selection panel wishes to invite to interview. Your written application is your first opportunity to demonstrate your capacity to meet the criteria to the selection panel.

Applicants for advertised executive and principal positions are required to address both the general selection criteria and the specific selection criteria for the position in their application.

The selection criteria are used to identify the person who best meets the criteria for the position. They are used by the selection panel to prepare questions to be asked of the applicants at the interview, of referees, for panel deliberations and to provide feedback to applicants. As all applicants are different, questions whilst based on the selection criteria, in many cases will be different for applicants to clarify different aspects of the selection criteria.

The selection criteria are used to:

Applicants for positions of assistant principal, head teacher or deputy principal must demonstrate the capacity to provide successful educational leadership by addressing general selection criteria.

Applicants for principal positions need to demonstrate evidence of successful educational leadership by addressing general selection criteria.

You should read the document Information to Support Applicants Addressing the General Selection Criteria for Executive and Principal Positions which provides suggestions for responding to each of the general selection criteria.

You need to effectively demonstrate your level of competence against each general and specific selection criterion in your application. Your responses to the criteria will need to reflect the level and role for which you are applying.

First steps

Before you begin
Read the advertisement carefully to determine the general and specific selection criteria, the details of the advertisement and the position information. It is vital you read and understand what each criterion means and identify the key words and phrases of each criterion.

“Demonstrated” or “proven ability” means that you should have successfully performed the duty or used the skill in the past. Actual experience rather than potential to perform the duty is required.

Contact the enquiry officer to obtain an information package and read the contents carefully. Read any additional information on the NSW Public Schools website. Discuss the criteria with colleagues and your supervisor. If your supervisor is the panel convener, or a member of the merit selection panel you will need to seek advice from other colleagues.

Create a new document in support of your application. Include a header or title that includes your name, the job title and the date. Use the general and specific selection criteria as headings.
Brainstorm the selection criteria

Before brainstorming, ask yourself the following:
  • What high level skills are critical to do this job?
  • What do they want me to have the capacity to do?
  • What do they want me to have the ability to do?
  • What do they want me to know?
  • What do they want me to demonstrate?
By asking these questions you may find it easy to locate the key words, skills and abilities that you will need to address in your written response. This step is an integral part of the process.

Brainstorm ideas from your recent work life.

Where you do not have relevant work examples, experiences from different aspects of your life (e.g. university, professional associations, community organisations) may also be used to demonstrate relevant strengths. You might also like to discuss this with colleagues and your supervisor. If your supervisor is the panel convener or a member of the selection panel, discuss who they recommend you seek advice from. You should select and include evidence from your ideas to support your assertions of competence. Do not make unsubstantiated claims.

You might like to use a mind map. Your mind map should address each selection criterion separately:

Another tool that may assist you to address the selection criteria is the STAR model. Placing examples of how you have demonstrated your skills, knowledge and experiences into the STAR model may be useful for developing an effective statement.

The STAR acronym stands for:
S ituation (briefly describe the context)
T ask (what were your responsibilities or initiatives?)
A ction (what did you do?)
R esult (what were the outcomes?)
Expand on your brainstorming ideas
In addressing the selection criteria, summarise the way in which your skills, knowledge, qualifications, experience and personal attributes are relevant. Make sure that you have evidence that can support your claims.

In addition to past achievements, you should relate your accomplishments to things you believe would be part of the position you are aspiring to, that is project yourself into the advertised position. 

Use direct, active verbs and indicate exactly what your contribution was.
This needs to be supported by concrete, specific workplace examples and descriptions of how your skills, knowledge and experience contributed to the outcome. 

When using examples for the specific selection criteria, try to provide a different slant in the examples that you use to avoid repetition.

You should begin with an opening sentence that clearly states your claim to a criterion. For example: I have designed and implemented a whole school literacy program whereby students improved their reading skills as evident in their National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test results.’


Consider policy documents relating to selection criteria 

It is important to explain that you have read and understood Departmental policies and procedures that may apply to an advertised position. You will need to demonstrate in your application how you have implemented the policy or project or how you would apply it if your current position has not provided you with this opportunity.

For example, what policies would be important for some of the following criteria:

Visible and collaborative leadership with a focus on continuous improvement and quality systems
Capacity to facilitate and build upon the innovative use of technology and connected learning to enhance teaching and learning across the school
An understanding of the educational implications of schools meeting the needs of students from low socio-economic status communities, and a demonstrated evidence of successful processes to ensure continuous improvement in student learning outcomes
Capacity to lead staff in implementing the Department's Aboriginal education policies and to ensure quality outcomes for Aboriginal people

You may like to practise addressing these criteria.