8. Frequently asked questions: cracking the code
Make a decision
- find a job that interests you
- spend time researching the job—don’t dismiss it on face value if you are interested in that field of work
- read the job description and information pack to make sure it’s the right job for you
- look at the agency website and annual report
- speak with the contact officer for more information if you are undecided.
Go for it
- complete your application in the way the agency requires
- use the STAR model if you are having trouble answering selection criteria, writing your pitch or stating your claims for the job
- Prepare your application by drawing on your skills, abilities and experiences—select examples that best relate to the duties and level of the job.
Back yourself at interview
- be prepared—have an understanding of what the agency does, read over your application and think about practical examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities and how you have done, or could do, this type of work
- remember the interview is a discussion, not a test, and we want to talk to you because we are interested to find out more about you.
How do I apply for an APS job?
- applying directly for jobs advertised in the Public Service Gazette at www.APSjobs.gov.au, on agency websites or websites such as www.jobsearch.gov.au, or even in newspapers.
- applying for school leaver programs, traineeships, apprenticeships, cadetships, internships or graduate programs
- registering on a temporary employment register for the opportunity to be selected for short-term jobs. These registers are available online on many APS agency websites, on APSjobs and occasionally through recruitment companies.
Take the time to check all the required information when applying for a job. With each job vacancy there may be particular requirements, such as submitting your CV, providing a written application, or completing an application form.
Do I have to be an Australian citizen?
It is generally expected that people will be Australian citizens to work in the APS, however agencies may choose to employ non-citizens who have the relevant work permits. Citizenship requirements are often included in the job advertisement or information pack.
If you see a job advertised which you are interested in, call the contact officer to discuss your options for applying for the job.
Why does the recruitment process sometimes take longer for APS jobs than other jobs?
APS agencies are working to reduce recruitment timeframes. People are selected for APS jobs on the basis of merit, which means we look carefully for evidence of your skills, abilities and experience and how well you fit the job requirements, compared with other applicants. This ensures the best applicant is selected for the job. This comparison may be based on your CV, a written application, an interview and/or other assessment methods. Because of this, the recruitment process may take longer for APS jobs than other jobs. When applying for an APS job, you can ask the contact officer about the expected timeframe for completing assessments and advising on the outcome of your application.
What sort of terms and conditions will I be employed under?
Employment conditions—such as remuneration and entitlements including personal/sick and annual leave—for APS employees are generally covered by the recruiting agency’s Enterprise Agreement. Enterprise Agreements are commonly available on the agency’s website.
What does a security clearance involve?
A security clearance involves pre-employment and background checks. Some jobs require a security clearance because of the type of issues or information dealt with in the job. The timeframe for starting a job may be longer, depending on the level of security clearance required. Don’t let your current level of clearance, or the fact that you don’t have one, deter you from applying. This will not form the basis of the recruitment decision.
What is a suitable entry level for a graduate?
If you have graduated, or are about to graduate, from university, you can apply for APS jobs by:
- applying to graduate programs which are run by individual agencies. Graduates are commonly employed at the graduate APS classification or at levels equivalent to the APS 3-4 classifications.
- applying directly for jobs advertised in the Public Service Gazette at www.APSjobs.gov.au, on agency websites, or on websites such as www.jobsearch.gov.au.
The APS 3-4 classification level may be suitable for people with a degree and no work experience. For people with work experience and a degree, the APS 5-6 classification level may be more appropriate. There is nothing to deter you from applying for any job at any level that you may be interested in and suitable for.
What happens after I am told that I got the job?
If you are successful in being offered an APS job—this may be done in a phone call or email then confirmed in writing—you may be subject to some engagement conditions. This means you may need to meet particular requirements to be employed in the job. These requirements may include some or all of the following:
- being an Australian citizen
- a health clearance
- security and character clearances (may include police check)
- a period of probation
- meeting all of the requirements of the employing agency’s entry level training program.
Probation will involve a period of time where your performance and suitability for the job, the agency and the APS are assessed. If you successfully complete the requirements of probation and the period concludes, your performance will continue to be assessed in accordance with the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2022 and your agency policy.
Why can’t I get an interview or be considered for further assessment?
If you are having difficulty progressing to the next stage of a recruitment process, ask yourself:
- am I applying for the right jobs for my skills and abilities?
- am I providing all the required information in my application?
- am I preparing a good application which demonstrates my skills, abilities and
- experience and how they relate to the requirements of the job?