Articles and Case Studies

Be a Star When Addressing Job Selection Criteria

21 Oct 2015


Applying for medical positions can be daunting and the written application can be particularly challenging. How can you convince prospective employers that you are a great fit for the role?

MDA National’s Education Services team highlights a useful model to help you get over the dreaded “blank page” and structure your responses to selection criteria.

Why have selection criteria?

Most job applications require selection criteria to be addressed. Candidates will be assessed in relation to these measures. Responding to selection criteria gives applicants the opportunity to demonstrate important competencies using real life examples. Well-addressed selection criteria often make the difference between securing an interview or not.


The STAR model:

  • is one of the most common methods of addressing selection criteria
  • is a reminder of the four elements that should be included when describing a personal example in response to a criterion
  • can also be useful for formulating answers to many interview questions.

STAR stands for:

Situation – establish the setting in which you used the relevant skills, knowledge or attribute or learnt from an event.
Task – describe your responsibility.
Actions – explain what you did and how.
Results – describe the outcome and how it’s relevant.

Example of the STAR Model

Demonstrated organisational and time management skills

Example response
My internship and medical studies have required strong organisational and time management skills to manage various, often competing, demands. Regular schedules need to be developed and adhered to and unexpected events must be effectively accommodated too. The regard that my supervisors and peers have for me testifies to my ability to prioritise tasks and achieve them in allocated times.

(Situation) An example of my organisational skills in relation to a challenging deadline is a problem based learning (PBL) tutorial group I was a part of. There were originally five group members but one person missed several sessions and we ended up having only four people. This was very problematic as the task (a presentation with associated written materials) had been divided up into five equal parts and now one of those parts was substantially behind where it needed to be.

(Task) The group nominated me to take the lead to devise a solution. I needed to quickly assess what tasks needed to be done and the order in which they were best done. I also needed to ensure that the tasks were allocated to the people most suited to them whilst fairly distributing the workload.

(Actions) I analysed the outstanding project requirements, quantifying their intellectual difficulty and time requirement and considered how they linked with other aspects of the project already underway by the team members. I then consulted the group as a whole and distributed a table allocating new tasks to people and documenting the times when they should complete each task. I also suggested a brief additional meeting time each week to talk about our progress and support each other. The group readily agreed and was comfortable with the tasks they had been allocated. I thanked them for their support and their willingness to take on additional work.

(Results) We ended up having our project completed earlier than other groups who had previously been ahead of us and had not encountered any unexpected challenges. We received one of the best marks and we were praised for coherency, detail and presentation style. The professor in charge of the project said it was remarkable how well we had done given the challenge of losing one team member at a crucial point. My ability to respond to challenging situations and quickly make effective logistical decisions that enable required tasks to be achieved within required times will continue to be of vital use in responding to complex or sudden clinical and administrative scenarios that arise as a Resident Medical Officer at Prized Hospital and Health Services.

Would you like additional information on similar topics? 
Just log on to Member Online Services and select “Education Resources” from the “Education” tab.

MDA National Education Services

Acknowledgement: We thank Dr Paul Eleftheriou for his work on the STAR model example response.

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