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Everything You Need to Know About Writing Standout Key Selection Criteria Responses

How are Key Selection Criteria used?

Key Selection Criteria (KSC) outline the qualities, knowledge, and skills needed to do the job. This information is often found in job ads or position descriptions. While asking candidates to respond to KSC is more common within the Education and Government sector, many other organisations also include KSC in their recruitment and selection process.

KSC provide a quick and easy way for employers to engage with candidates who are genuinely motivated to work with them – after all, responding to KSC takes time and effort. But more importantly, KSC provide an objective way to assess candidate suitability to job requirements.

What’s involved?

You will write short statements selling your capabilities for each criterion. Your response can include specific examples where you have demonstrated the behaviour, knowledge, skills, and personal qualities asked for in the KSC.

It’s essential to check your KSC statement for spelling and grammar. Then, get a family, friend, or trusted recruitment partner to review what you’ve written and provide feedback.

KSC tend to focus on critical capabilities such as:

  • Application of technical knowledge
  • Communication skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Resilience
  • Stakeholder and interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time management and prioritisation skills

Examples of Key Selection Criteria

  • Good analytical, investigative, and problem-solving skills with the ability to initiate practical solutions.
  • Proven ability to manage and prioritise tasks and issues individually, and with other team members and vendors, escalating prioritisation conflicts in an appropriate and timely manner.
  • Demonstrated experience in software development languages: .NET and Javascript.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively with a range of cross-functional internal and external stakeholders.

Benefits of responding to KSC

  • Your application is assessed in a fair and consistent way. 
  • You gain an in-depth understanding of what the job requires.
    • You will better understand the areas in which you will excel and opportunities for further growth.
    • You can determine if it’s a role you really want.
  • Writing a good KSC response is invaluable for interview preparation.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Respond to KSC

1. Start by highlighting the keywords in each criterion.

2. Think about what the employer is asking for with each criterion. Do they want to know how experienced you are in a programming language, how you work as part of a team, or whether you will be able to solve your own problems?

3. List examples of how you meet the criterion.

Tip: Describe relevant skills, experience, incidents, training, personal qualities, expertise, outcomes, and achievements.

4. Review your list and summarise how you’ve demonstrated each criterion in 100-200 words. 

Tip 1: Remember to mirror the language of the KSC in your response and use those keywords you highlighted at the start!

Tip 2: The STAR technique is commonly used when responding to behavioural-based interview questions. It also provides a useful framework for KSC responses.

  • What was the Situation in which you were involved?
  • What was the Task(s) you needed to accomplish?
  • What Action(s) did you take?
  • What Results did you achieve?

Three Examples of KSC responses

Example one

KSC – Good analytical, investigative, and problem-solving skills with the ability to initiate practical solutions.

Response – “Problem-solving has been a critical part of my roles over the past three years working as Service Desk Engineer at ABC Technology. I deal with various problems daily and have resolved many IT issues related to hardware, system access, and network connectivity. 

My approach is to investigate what happened from the staff’s points of view, clarify the facts, and determine what went wrong. I then propose suitable solutions to resolve the issue. However, if further investigation is required, I ensure I provide regular updates.

As a result, our IT Service Management tool (Remedy) shows that less than 1% of localised incidents needed escalation.

An example of a more complex issue I resolved involved investigating why updated applications failed after reformatting our Product Manager’s laptop. As a practical interim solution, I provided the manager with a replacement laptop so they could perform their core tasks. At the same time, I analysed existing processes and conducted online research. As a result, I identified the issue was due to the updated applications not being compatible after the new installation. After applying the relevant fix, I suggested updating our process to check this in the future.”

Example two

KSC – Demonstrated interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work collaboratively with a range of cross-functional internal and external stakeholders.

Response “In my 15 years as an IT Manager, strong communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills have been essential. I have dealt with a wide range of people, including IT staff, vendors, and leaders from departments across the business. 

For example, I led the upgrade of the CRM system that our Sales and Marketing team use to capture leads and update customer records. I led successful collaborative efforts between the vendor consultants and our internal IT team to ensure timely delivery. I also provided regular updates to the Head of Sales & Marketing and sought their input throughout the project. In addition, I got their assistance in identifying system champions and super users within the business to assist with the transition and training. As a result, the system was implemented as scheduled with only one rollback to a minor feature that the vendor resolved within a week. The Head of Sales & Marketing sent an email afterwards to thank my team and me for our efforts.”

Example three

KSC – Demonstrated experience in software development languages: .NET and Javascript.

Response “I have 13 years of experience working with the Microsoft stack doing custom .NET development. The work I have been primarily involved in includes expanding and extending customer-facing IT systems which have been all been developed in-house using both the .NET stack and Javascript.

Over the last six years, I have worked as a Senior .NET Developer with XYZ Company. The custom builds I have worked on have helped the company gain a market-leading edge over competitors and better service its customer base. As a result, the company has doubled in size and grown its members ten-fold from when I started.

Core technologies used as part of the various applications I have developed and improved include: .NET Framework, .NET Core, ASP.NET Web Forms, Windows Forms, ASP.NET Web API, JavaScript, jQuery, Web Services, WCF Services, Windows Services, NUnit, Sitecore, PowerShell, SignalR, Entity Framework, LINQ to SQL, SQL Server, T-SQL, and Stored procedures.”

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