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Selection Criteria

Well-developed selection criteria can assist in attracting candidates with the appropriate qualifications and provide employees involved in the selection process with a uniform and consistent method for assessing applicants. Experience has shown that the most common mistakes occur when:

  • The criteria does not relate to the essential tasks required of the job. This creates the potential for subjective decision-making and thereby, the opportunity for discrimination to occur.
  • The metrics used to measure an applicant’s qualifications are too low.  In this scenario, most candidates will satisfy the requirements, which makes it difficult to discern who is truly qualified.
  • The metrics used to measure an applicant’s qualifications are too high. This can discourage qualified candidates from applying, and encourage candidates with inappropriate qualifications to apply.
  • Inappropriate metrics are used to assess applicants.  For example, selection criteria may include a requirement for a minimum of five years of supervisory experience when a more accurate measurement would be a candidate’s demonstrated ability to supervise.  Having served in supervisory role for five years at one company does not guarantee they can perform successfully at another company.  The reason for this is there may be a disparity in the essential duties required by one company as compared to another.

Your selection criteria should be developed, prior to initiating the recruiting process, by:

  • Reviewing the specific requirements contained in the job description.
  • Determining the level of skills necessary to perform essential and desired tasks.
  • Selecting metrics that measure whether or not a candidate meets the requirements for the job.
  • Testing whether the selection criteria are capable of measurement.
  • Avoiding the use of discriminatory language or statements concerning gender, race, etc.


The rule of thumb in developing selection criteria is that it needs to be fair, objective, measurable, and directly related to the inherent requirements of the position. 

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