Selection process

Information to assist potential applicants in understanding the selection process when applying for an advertised position within the Department of Human Services.


To be eligible for employment with the Department of Human Services, there are a number of requirements that you must meet:

  • Australian citizenship—generally, to be eligible for employment with the Department of Human Services, you must be an Australian citizen at time of commencement. In some instances positions may be open to permanent residents or non-citizens who hold appropriate work entitlements. If this is the case it will be notified in the job advertisement.
  • Redundancy benefits—candidates who have received a redundancy benefit (or incentive to retire payment) from an Australian Public Service (APS) Agency, or the Australian Parliamentary Service cannot be engaged as an employee unless they have served the applicable redundancy benefit restriction period. The actual period of restriction to be served is dependent on the redundancy benefit paid to the candidate.
  • Character check—the department must verify you are of good character through an integrity check. The integrity clearance involves undertaking a:
    • National Criminal History Record Check (NCHRC)
    • security clearance and/or working with vulnerable people/children check (where applicable)
    • satisfactory referee reports (which may include checks on misconduct or code of conduct proceedings).
  • Health clearance—if you are offered employment with the department, and are not currently an ongoing employee of the APS, you will be required to undergo a medical examination. The examination is conducted to ensure your fitness for duty as an Australian Public Service employee to identify any adjustments that may need to be made in the workplace.
  • Probation—if you are offered employment with the department, and are not currently an ongoing employee of the APS, your employment is subject to a probationary period of six months, during which time your conduct and work performance will be assessed to determine whether you meet the required standard for employment.
  • Security clearance—some positions in the department require you to hold or be able to obtain and maintain a security clearance. If a security clearance is required it will be identified in the job advertisement. The Australian Government Security Vetting Agency vets security clearances prior to the commencement of employment.

All offers of employment with the department are made subject to candidates meeting the above pre-employment checks. If the department receives an unsatisfactory report on any of the above pre-employment checks, your offer of employment may be withdrawn.

Selection committee

Selection committees will consider all applications. The department uses a streamlined selection process and applications are rigorously short listed. Selection committees may then choose between a number of different assessment methods. These include, but are not limited to, contacting referees prior to assessment, making an assessment based on application and referee input alone, conducting interviews, examining work samples and conducting performance tests which could be both written or practical. All recruitment selections and employment decisions for the department are based on merit.

The department has a preferred candidate register. The register lists candidates that were ranked highly for vacancies advertised in APSjobs in the previous 12 months. Recruiting managers are able to access the register, to fill the same or similar ongoing and non-ongoing vacancies, for up to 12 months from the date of the original advertisement.

Your application

Applications usually form the basis for short listing applicants for further assessment. This is the first step in the selection process.

Although an application will not solely determine whether you are successful, an application does convey important information about you and your suitability for the role. It is important that your written application is an organised information paper that addresses the knowledge skills and attributes required for the job.

As an applicant, it is your responsibility to demonstrate that you are able to satisfy the requirements of the role. Therefore your application should provide succinct, accurate and relevant information about your work history, experience, education, and skills to allow the selection panel to decide whether you are suitable for further assessment if required.

Addressing the selection criteria is an important part of your application and it is suggested that you use specific examples of work that you have done, describing how you have contributed to a process or an outcome, and how this relates to the criteria and the duties of the advertised position.

Referee comments

Referees are a crucial element in the selection process. Referee reports validate applicant data and specific skill areas. For the selection committee, referee comments will often confirm or refute impressions obtained from other forms of assessment, for example, at interview.

The selection committee can request a written report or seek verbal comments at any stage in the selection process. Notes on these discussions and any written reports will be made available to applicants on request. Applicants should advise the selection panel if there are sensitivities around seeking references from current employers that may impact on their current employment.

You will be required to provide the contact details for two referees who are in a position to comment on your capabilities relating to the job.


As an applicant, you will be regarded as being available for interview from the date applications close. If you are going to be absent for any length of time, you should advise the contact officer.

Applicants should be aware that short listing is rigorous and that interviews are not automatically granted. Only applicants included on the shortlist will be contacted regarding the next phase of the selection process.

The selection committee may decide that interviews are not necessary and make the decision to fill the vacancy based on written applications and referee reports only. If interviews are conducted, the selection panel will assess the applicant’s capabilities against the selection criteria.

Selection results

You will be advised of the outcome of the process by email. You may also check the Australian Public Service Gazette notices on the APSjobs website for further details of the outcome of completed selection processes. Individual feedback is available from the chair of the relevant selection committee once the process is finalised.

In some instances, the selection process may be used to create a preferred candidate list for potential or similar positions that may become available within the department. The list is valid for 12 months, from the date that the original vacancy was advertised.

Merit is about getting the best available person for the job. It is a fundamental element of (APS) employment and is underpinned by legislation. The APS value requiring all employment decisions to be based on merit is complemented by the value requiring that all eligible members of the Australian community have a reasonable opportunity to apply for APS employment.

For successful applicants, pre-employment checks are conducted prior to commencement with the department. It is not recommended to cease your current employment prior to the completion of these checks as the failure to meet all pre-employment checks may result in the withdrawal of the offer of employment.

Page last updated: 5 July 2018