Recruitment and movement in the APS

Last updated: 21 Aug 2015

This page is: current

Looking for a job in the Australian Public Service (APS)? Go to Applying for jobs in the APS.

The following information is for APS managers and HR professionals on the recruitment and movement of APS employees.

Information for APS employees looking to change jobs in the APS is at Changing Jobs in the APS.


Under the Public Service Act 1999 (the Act), APS agency heads have responsibility for employment decisions, including recruitment and selection decisions, in their agency.

These decisions must comply with the Act, the Public Service Regulations 1999 (the Regulations) and the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2013 (the Commissioner's Directions). For more information on the relevant legislation, go to The legislative framework for the APS.


Merit is fundamental to APS recruitment decisions and is supported in legislation.

The APS Employment Principles in section 10A of the Act include that the APS must make decisions relating to engagement and promotions based on merit.

Essentially, a decision is based on merit if all eligible members of the community are given a reasonable opportunity to apply and candidates are assessed through a competitive selection process against the requirements of the position.  

The Regulations and the Commissioner's Directions set out procedural rules in support of merit, including circumstances where the principle may be modified.

Merit is about getting the best available person for the job. Agency heads must support merit by developing selection processes that comply with legislation and are fair and transparent. Processes do not, however, need to be complex and lengthy. They should be appropriate to the circumstances, taking account of the nature of the work; the best way to attract suitable candidates; and the best way to assess applicants against one another and against the requirements of the job.

Additional information

The following resources relate to recruitment and selection in the APS, and movement of staff: