Updating Results

Tackling selection criteria

Michelle Ash

Careers and Employment Advisor at Lincoln University
Selection criteria form a key part of the application process. We've brought in careers and employment advisors Michelle Ash and Jane Hall from Lincoln University to nut out the details.

What made you want to become career advisors?

We both have a passion for helping people identify their passions and realise their goals. We love working in the tertiary sector as it is such a privilege to be alongside students and graduates as they make decisions about their future and go on to achieve great things.

How did you get to your current position and how long have you occupied it?

Between us, we have over 20 years’ experience in our roles at Lincoln University. We are both from career education and recruitment backgrounds.

What does your work involve day-to-day?

It’s split between working with students and employers such as meeting with students one on one, running workshops, organising career and employer events, advertising vacancies, creating resources and helping employers connect with students on campus and virtually.

Advice for students and graduates

Why is it important to understand selection criteria?

It helps you to evidence your approach, skills and passions, and helps employers determine if you are the right fit for the role and their organisation, based on how you have behaved previously. You need to be prepared for these questions because they are common in most interviews and require specific examples, so you need to prepare in advance. 

Jane Hall and Michelle Ash as careers and employment advisors at Lincoln University

How can students and graduates get a deeper understanding of the selection criteria for the job they’re applying for?

  1. Is there a good way to tell when you’ve met one or more of the criteria? Read the advertisement and position description to identify the competencies required.
  2. Is there a good way to tell when you haven’t met one or more of the criteria? Be honest if you don’t meet some of the criteria, but make sure to focus on your capacity to learn or develop this competence by referring to previous situations.
  3. What’s the best thing to do if you recognise you’re not confident you meet all the criteria? First of all, most people under-rate themselves. With some coaching, you can learn to value and promote previous experiences and to be comfortable talking about yourself ‘positively’. Be honest if you don’t meet a criteria, but balance this by referring to examples where you demonstrated your capacity to learn, develop and pick up new things quickly.

What should you do if you don’t have the prerequisite work experience as a fresh graduate or student?

Value and promote all of your experiences as you will have developed skills that you can transfer to most positions you apply to. Employers value all of your experiences including employment, voluntary work, community and campus contributions, and your hobbies and interests.

What should you do if you don’t have the prerequisite GPA?

If it is a prerequisite then you need to meet this criteria, however, the majority of employers do not ask for your GPA. Remember that there are lots of entry points to an organisation, so don’t be discouraged. Use your connections and network to find another way to impress them.

What are some selection criteria myths students should be aware of?

When we first see students they often tell us ‘they’re really hard’ and ‘I don’t have any examples’. Preparation and practice will ensure you are prepared, have examples ready to go and know how to deliver a structured and detailed response. A range of examples from employment, study, voluntary work and your personal experiences are all valid.

Is it possible to land the job if you miss one or more of the selection criteria?

Yes because you can show your willingness, capacity and confidence to learn, adapt to situations and develop new skills. 

How can students sure-up their CVs and make sure they tick all the boxes before they graduate?

Make sure you see Michelle and Jane!. A CV check and some career coaching will help you develop the skills and confidence you need to effectively promote yourself in your CV and interviews.

A word to the wise...

  1. Don’t rush to make decisions, don’t panic, prepare early in your time at university, and have a plan.
  2. Get involved in a range of paid and unpaid experiences to develop employability skills and confidence.
  3. Visit Michelle and Jane for help with anything career-related – all questions are ok, we’re here to help you.