Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...

some more on selection criteria

Before we get onto that stuff, did you notice that unkymoods is back? I'm so happy....

And I now have a little weatherpixie down the bottom of my sidebar - the picture changes according to the weather and daylight/darkness... and she even changes clothes depending on the temperature. I love it! Actually, she even dresses a bit like me (except my docs are only the 8-hole ones).

So, selection criteria for government positions.

I've been in meetings all day for that panel I'm on for a job in my old area. In addition to my previous notes (from my preliminary run through the applications), I've come across so many that didn't address all of the selection criteria on a careful reading. It's really a shame, because our scoring system means that partially addressing the selection criteria, no matter how good your answer may be, means that you can only score a maximum of 4/10. And if you don't address them at all, you get zero, which can really bugger up your total. Even if you just barely answer them, but you address everything, I would usually give you a 5!

Many people we were rating had given brilliant answers to part of the selection criteria, but not even mentioned the other part. So they got a 4, even though they were often better qualified than the person who gave a perfuntory answer to each element, so got a 5.

So I thought I'd look at the selection criteria for a job that's up online now and give my views on how I would score it if I was on the panel. I don't know anything about the job, so obviously my comments come with the disclaimer that the actual panel may have a different view of the world. Chances are, you can't go too far wrong though.

The job is with Treasury as a PO3 Legal Officer which is pretty much an entry level position, but above a graduate position. You'd probably be expected to have some practical experience, but not a huge amount. It would probably be a 1st year PAE* solicitor who did articles or maybe a 2nd year PAE* solicitor if they did the legal practice course.

PAE - post-admission experience, i.e. experience after being admitted as a solicitor or a barrister, which is a little like passing the bar exam in the USA

The key duties for the position are:

- Provide legal advice on gaming issues and where requested provide legal advice on other legal matters.
- Undertake research and reviews of policy, legislative and operational issues regarding the gaming industry.
- Provide policy advice relevant to operational, social and economic issues affecting the gaming industry with regard to the Acts, regulations, legislation, agreements and characteristics associated with the industry.
- Assist members of the Legal Services Unit and QOGR in the preparation and development of legislation including aspects of the drafting of that legislation.
- Liaise with and instruct outside solicitors and Crown Law as necessary.
- Prepare complex and substantive reports, briefings, ministerial correspondence, presentations, publications and correspondence on a wide range of gambling related issues for the Office, Treasury, and the Government.
- Liaise with relevant statutory bodies, departments, professional bodies and community groups on legal policy matters.

The selection criteria are:

SC1 - Demonstrated skills in researching and providing oral and written legal advice, principally in respect of commercial law issues.

SC2 - Demonstrated skills, or the ability to acquire skills, in critically analysing and preparing drafting instructions for principal and subordinate legislation to give effect to policy proposals.

SC3 - Demonstrated skills, or the ability to acquire skills, in developing legal policy options in a highly regulated commercial environment.

SC4 - Highly developed oral and written skills including the ability to prepare briefing notes and submissions on a range of legislative and policy issues.

SC5 - Knowledge of, or the ability to acquire knowledge of, legislation concerning the conduct of gaming in Queensland, and the processes of the Executive Government and Parliament.

SC6 - Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a self-directed manner and to work effectively with staff from diverse backgrounds, and to ensure a workplace that is safe and free from discrimination and harassment.

As with ours, there is a Guideline for Applicants document attached to the position description online which includes:

You should therefore address each selection criterion with a view to clearly outlining your suitability for the position. Rather than stating that you can meet each criterion, give specific examples which demonstrate how you meet each criterion or how you have undertaken similar tasks in the past.

There is also some further information given about how to address the selection criteria, which includes:

Step 2 Identify the specific factors in each criterion carefully – ensure that all factors are covered.

Now, looking at the duties in conjunction with the selection criteria, I'm guessing that they would be weighted something like the following:-

SC1 - 8
SC2 - 9
SC3 - 9
SC4 - 8
SC5 - 7
SC6 - 6

I could be off on any one or all of these, but usually they are weighted between 5 and 9, with the most important aspects of the job being weighted with a 9.

You are then given a score out of 5 or 10 for each of your answers to the selection criteria. My area scores out of 10, with a zero for not addressing the selection criteria, between 1 and 4 for partially satisfying them, 5 for satisfying them and between 6 and 10 for basically how good your answer was after that (use of good examples etc). Obviously if you can show that you've actually done the job, as opposed to just that you know how it's done, you'll score higher.

Your ranking will be calculated by weighting x score for each selection criteria, which are then totalled to give a total score. Generally, the top 2 or 3 total scores get an interview. We will look at your CV to see if you can probably back up your claims, but your score will only come from your selection criteria answers.

So a response which gives a great answer, but only partially addresses the selection criteria, vs one which addresses each one, but only adequately, will vary greatly on the final score as follows (assuming my maths is right, which it may not be):

SC1 - 8 x 4 = 32; 8 x 5 = 40
SC2 - 9 x 4 = 36; 9 x 5 = 45
SC3 - 9 x 4 = 36; 9 x 5 = 45
SC4 - 8 x 4 = 32; 8 x 5 = 40
SC5 - 7 x 4 = 28; 7 x 5 = 35
SC6 - 6 x 4 = 24; 6 x 5 = 30

Total = 188; Total = 235

This could easily be the difference between getting shortlisted for interview and not making that cut.

So what about this thing I keep on harping on about with addressing each aspect of the selection criteria? Well, it's like breaking down a section of legislation to ensure that each part is met. So for the above selection criteria, I would be looking for:-

- researching skills (principles + examples)
- using the research to provide oral legal advice (examples)
- using the research to provide written legal advice (examples)
- an emphasis in the examples on commercial law issues if you have that experience (those that do would get a higher score)

- skills in critically analysing principal and subordinate legislation to give effect to policy proposals (principles and examples)
- skills in preparing drafting instructions for principal and subordinate legislation to give effect to policy proposals (examples)
- if not able to demonstrate skills, need to show the ability to acquire skills by reference to examples where you have rapidly acquired similar skills

- skills in developing legal policy options in a highly regulated commercial environment (this one is fairly specific - not knowing about the job, I would possibly accept examples of developing legal policy options, combined with knowledge of working in a highly regulated commercial environment) (principles and examples)
- if not able to demonstrate skills, need to show the ability to acquire skills by reference to examples where you have rapidly acquired similar skills

- highly developed oral skills (principles and examples)
- highly developed written skills (principles and examples)
- ability to prepare briefing notes on a range of legislative issues (examples)
- ability to prepare briefing notes on a range of policy issues (examples)
- ability to prepare submissions on a range of legislative issues (examples)
- ability to prepare submissions on a range of policy issues (examples)

- knowledge of legislation concerning the conduct of gaming in Qld (make sure you include ALL legislation - do some research on the area) (list the legislation and examples of where you've used it)
- knowledge of the processes of the Executive Government and Parliament (again, do some research - it's all available online if you spend a bit of time on it) (list the processes and examples of where you've used them)
- if can't show actual knowledge, show your ability to rapidly aquire knowledge of legislation in a similar area
- same for Exec Govt and Parl - show what you know and where you've previously picked up processes in a similar area very quickly

- ability to successfully work in a self-directed manner (principles and examples)
- ability to work effectively with staff from diverse backgrounds (principles and examples)
- ability to ensure a workplace that is safe and free from discrimination (principles and examples)
- ability to ensure a workplace that is safe and free from harassment (principles and examples)

Demonstrated - means you must be able to give examples
Proven - means you must be able to back it up with a specific example in the exact area specified
Highly developed - means more than what you learnt at uni - pull in examples from other non-legal employment if necessary
Knowledge - is actual knowledge - show what you know by citing how you would do it and an example of where you've done it
Sound knowledge - is something greater than knowledge - you should be able to show that you do it all the time

For those of you who are reading "do it" and thinking the way my mother does, all I can say is get your minds out of the gutter!

And if you want to be the panel-member's friend, use headings so we can see that you've addressed each element of the selection criteria, and put a footer on each page with your name, the position number and the page number. These things tend to get mixed up a fair bit and staples come out - it's always best to ensure that you've been rated on your own complete answers!

Oh, we like it when you give us the 3 copies of everything as well - means we don't have to photocopy them. Unfortunately, HR doesn't do anything except receive and stamp them with the date of receipt.

There endeth the lesson.

Listening to: Custard - Goodbye Cruel World


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where were you when I needed to know all this stuff to get my first job in government. My theory on scaling the government ladder is to then be on as many panels as you can to gain further experience from that perspective - much as your doing now. Also to only apply for those jobs that they ask you to. I know they rang me after the job had closed and asked me to submit a late application for my first ever permanent position. Again for this acting role (though at level)I was asked to apply. Funnily enough my last post had to do with a Treasury lawyer - I am quite sure it wasn't you!


4:58 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

I know - there is surprisingly very little information out there about applying for entry-level positions. I was very lucky that I had a friend in government when I applied for my first government position who talked me through the process and bullied me into putting more info into my SC. I'm very glad she did as barely scraped into the shortlist for interview, but managed to impress enough there to get the position.

Unlike most people, I actually like being on selection panels. And will volunteer for as many as I can. I enjoy going through their applications and then meeting people at interview. But then, I actually enjoy being an interviewee as well - I'm strange like that.

I've actually never been asked to apply for a position, but I've been made aware of the ones that people think I should apply for, if you know what I mean. But I gather that you are much higher up the ladder than I am - maybe that will come?

And no - I don't work for Treasury - it was just a position that was currently being advertised which I decided to use as an example. That's why I said I didn't know anything about the job as my disclaimer. I love disclaimers. *g*

So do you think I made any obvious errors/omissions in your experience from being on selection panels?


5:07 pm  
Blogger Diana Gallagher said...


8:06 pm  
Blogger Lushlife said...

From your post I think your quite obviously an experienced panel member - have you ever been the chairperson and had to give feedback now that is interesting! My guess is that I am only one level up from you I am a 7 on the AO scale and 5 on the PO scale. Having a child last year and taking 7 months off sidetracked me a little plus there has not been a 8/6 I would like that doesn't have a lot of management responsibilities. I have acted in an 8 and had further opportunities to act in that one in particular but its not worth the extra $100 a fortnight. As my friend and current Director said to me after moving into the SO scale "Its a payrise with a deduction in your hourly rate." It is also a bit easier to move sideways on the 7's and get experience in different departments so I am quite happy at the moment being where I am.

8:20 pm  
Blogger Lushlife said...

P.S My husband and I are big Custard fans - we had a drink with them in 97 after a gig in Byron Bay at the hotel they were staying at and my husband went to the same small town school with Paul Midew. And how about this for local band trivia I spent my first year in the Commonwealth Public Service with Bernard Fanning (Powderfinger - I know you know)- he was our office boy and he used to drive me around (I didn't have a licence) and we used to drink Bourbons and coke at the R.E. and discuss his love life. Course I haven't spoken to him since!

8:26 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

This is a copy of the comments I left on Lushlife's blog when I had trouble accessing my own yesterday:

It's funny how nearly everyone I come across in Brisbane has some sort of connection to either Powderfinger, Custard or both. I used to be friendly with the guys from Webster who shared rehearsal rooms and a cricket team with Powderfinger. So I met Bernie Fanning and Darren Middleton a couple of times at their gigs. My experience of Mr Fanning was quite different to yours - Powderfinger were just starting to get big and he was a bit stand-offish. On the other hand, Darren was just lovely.

Re the whole selection panel thing - I've only been on a couple of them, but have also discussed them with a couple of mates who've been on them. I've only been in the public service for a couple of years. I'm currently on a PO5, but it's a temp position that I'm in for this year and I don't know if it will continue. Or even if I want it to. I'll figure that out next year I guess.


10:04 am  

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