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					        Australian Government
Department of Immigration and Citizenship




 Guide for Candidates




  Recruitment in DIAC




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Thank you for considering a career with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
This guide provides information about selection processes in DIAC (Part A) and helpful hints for
candidates (Part B) who wish to apply for a position advertised in the APS Gazette and the
department’s Careers Page.




Part A: About the selection process
The Merit Principle
Selection processes in DIAC and the Australian Public Service (APS) are based on merit. This
means that competitive selection processes will be used to assess candidates’ suitability for
positions, and that assessment processes will focus upon the work-related qualities needed for
positions.

DIAC is also committed to providing good candidate care, for example, by ensuring that
candidates understand what is happening throughout the selection process.

Selection committees
The selection process will be conducted by a selection committee that will consist of at least two
members:

• the Chair, and
• an independent committee member from outside the business unit which has the vacancy.

Candidates with special needs
In all selection processes the department aims to ensure that all candidates are treated in a fair
and non-discriminatory manner. Candidates may wish to specify any special requirements they
have in relation to the selection process, for example, mobility assistance, visual aids, or signing
for hearing impaired candidates.

How to apply for a position in DIAC
To apply for a position in DIAC you must submit your personal details via the department’s online
recruitment system. For most positions you will also be asked to submit a written application
through the online system. This will require you to answer questions in relation to the selection
criteria.
See: Written Applications

In some cases, instead of a written application the next step will be for the selection committee to
invite you to undertake a test or to attend an Assessment Centre.
See:
Proprietary Tests
Assessment Centres

If you are not able to submit an application online, please discuss this with the Contact Officer
noted in the Position Description before the closing date for applications.




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Selection criteria
The following six selection criteria will be used for all vacancies in DIAC. They are weighted
equally:

   •   Contributes to (“Shapes” for Executive Level vacancies) strategic thinking.
   •   Achieves results.
   •   Supports (“Cultivates” for Executive Level vacancies) productive working relationships.
   •   Displays (“Exemplifies” for Executive Level vacancies) personal drive and integrity.
   •   Communicates with influence.
   •   Demonstrates professional or technical proficiency.

These selection criteria represent the department’s capabilities. The Capability Development
Framework, which is based upon the Australian Public Service Integrated Leadership System,
sets out the core capabilities for all staff and the skills and behaviours required at each
classification level. More information about the Capability Development Framework is available
on the department’s website.
See: How to Apply > Addressing selection criteria

The selection process
A selection process will involve at least two of the following selection methods:

   •   written application
   •   work sample test
   •   proprietary test, such as verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning tests
   •   interview
   •   assessment centre.

Referee checks are conducted after the assessment process.

Shortlisting
The selection committee will initially assess all candidates against the selection criteria for the
position, using one of the approved selection methods. Candidates will be advised verbally or
via email as to whether they have been shortlisted; that is, whether they will proceed to the next
stage of assessment.

Rating scale
The department’s rating scale (1-5) is used when assessing candidates against the selection
criteria:

Rating            Description                                                                Points
Highly            The candidate has demonstrated the capability/ies above the                5
suitable          advertised classification level.
Very              The candidate has demonstrated the capability/ies to a high degree         4
suitable          as described for the advertised classification level.
Suitable          The candidate has demonstrated the capability/ies as described for         3
                  the advertised classification level.
Requires          The candidate has demonstrated some aspects of the                         2
development       capability/ies for the advertised classification level.
Unsuitable        The candidate has failed to demonstrate the capability/ies as              1
                  described for the advertised classification level.


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At the end of the selection process, candidates who were shortlisted will receive an Individual
Assessment Report which shows their scores against the selection criteria.

Closing date for applications
The closing date for a vacancy is specified in the advertisement, but is generally two weeks after
the date on which the advertisement appeared in the APS Gazette. Applications must be
lodged online by the date specified in the Position Description.

Selection committees are not obliged to accept late applications. Computer problems will not be
accepted as a reason for extensions, as the System Administrator is available to assist with
such concerns before the deadline.
Telephone: 02 6264 4224
Email: systemadministrator@immi.gov.au

If you are not able to lodge your full application by the closing date because of unforeseen
circumstances (for example, serious illness, bereavement) you may discuss your circumstances
with the Contact Officer. The Contact Officer will advise you whether a late application will be
accepted.

Progress of your application
Candidates may speak to the Contact Officer if they have queries regarding the progress of the
selection process.

Orders of Merit/Merit Lists
An Order of Merit is a list of candidates whom the selection committee considers are Highly
Suitable, Very Suitable or Suitable for placement in the vacant position/s. Candidates may be
ranked numerically from highest to lowest, or placed into groups related to their ratings.

Being on the Order of Merit indicates that you have performed well in the selection process, but
it does not guarantee that you will be made an offer of a position. Orders of Merit for all
vacancies remain current for 12 months from the date when the vacancy was advertised in
APSjobs. It is possible that you could be made an offer of another position requiring similar
skills and experience at some stage during this twelve months period, but this is not guaranteed.

Referee comments
Referee comments are used to confirm the results of assessments of candidates and to validate
their claims. The selection committee will only seek referee comments for those candidates likely
to be placed on the Order of Merit. Referee reports will be provided verbally. The committee may
ask referees a number of questions about the candidates’ skills and experience in relation to the
selection criteria, and ask referees to verify candidates’ claims.

When submitting your application on the department’s online recruitment system, you should
provide the name, location and daytime contact details of at least two referees who can provide
comments on your work performance against the selection criteria. Please notify any intended
referees that you have nominated them.

You should nominate your current supervisor as referee, as well as another person with whom you
have recently worked directly. If you are unable to provide your current supervisor as a referee
because this may prejudice your continuing employment, you should discuss this with the Contact
Officer or the Chair of the selection committee when called for interview. It is important to
remember that a good referee is someone who:

   •   is familiar with your abilities
   •   is able to comment on your claims against the selection criteria, and

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   •   is able to give examples of your work performance from their own observations.

Appointing successful candidates
After the referee reports are completed, the selection decision will be finalised. The following
steps will then take place:

   •   The Chair will contact the successful candidate/s to verbally offer them a position.
   •   The Chair will discuss the conditions of employment.
   •   The successful candidates will be sent a Letter of Offer. This will be accompanied by a
       pack of materials and forms which must be completed and returned to Recruitment
       Section for National Office positions or to the relevant State/Territory Human Resources
       (HR) team.
   •   After the forms have been checked (and, where relevant, security checking satisfactorily
       completed), the start date will be negotiated.
   •   Medical checks may also be conducted at this stage.

Some of these checks may take some weeks to finalise. The Chair will also contact the
unsuccessful candidates to advise them of the outcome. The Chair will offer successful and
unsuccessful candidates the opportunity for verbal feedback on their application.

Privacy
The department is bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988. Section 14 of the Privacy
Act 1988 contains the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs), which stipulate the rules for
handling personal information. The personal information is collected by the department to
manage recruitment processes as required by the Public Service Act 1999. The department will
not disclose the information without your consent except where authorised or required by law.
Non-identifying information may be used for statistical purposes. While the department provides
a secure environment, you should be aware that there are inherent risks associated with the
transmission of information via the Internet.




Part B: Tips for candidates
Things to consider before preparing your application
Before you start work on your application it is important to read the Position Description for the
advertised position and decide if your skills, abilities and interests match the requirements of the
job. The Position Description will state if there are mandatory or desirable qualifications. It is
always a good idea to phone the nominated Contact Officer to find out more about the position.

You may also wish to conduct other research about the department and/or vacancy. Documents
such as the department’s Annual Report and corporate and business plans may be helpful. These
are available in the department's libraries, other Australian Public Service (APS) departmental
libraries, and also on the department's website.

Selection processes in the department are very competitive and selection committees are often
dealing with a large number of candidates, You should therefore undertake appropriate
background research when preparing your application.

You may also wish to read the Australian Public Service Commission's publication 'Cracking the
Code: How to apply for jobs in the Australian Public Service'.
See: http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications07/crackingthecode.htm



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Written applications
The selection criteria will be expressed as behaviourally based questions; that is, questions which
require you to describe tasks you have undertaken in the past.
You will usually be asked to submit your written application online.
When addressing the selection criteria please ensure:

   •   you restrict your responses to the word limit specified in the application form
   •   your grammar and spelling are correct and you have used correct punctuation
   •   you use active and not passive language which specifies your role.
       Examples:
       Active language: ‘I managed the project'
       Passive language:’The job required that the project be managed…’

You may wish to draft your responses in Microsoft Word or another application, then cut and
paste the answers into your online application when completed. This approach will enable you
to check your spelling and grammar, do a word count, and edit more easily.

Your resume should be attached to the online application form as either a Microsoft Word
document (*.doc), a text document (*.txt) or Adobe PDF (*.pdf) file.
See: Resumes

Responding to behaviourally based questions
Behaviourally based questions are past-oriented and phrased as “Describe a situation where…”,
“Please give an example of …”, “Describe a time when…”. They place emphasis on
‘behaviours’ rather than ‘opinions’ or theory, giving a better insight into candidates’ capabilities.

DIAC’s behaviourally based questions have prompts which ask the respondent to use the STAR
approach: that is, describe a Situation, your Task, the Action that you took, and the Result you
achieved.

In responding to behaviourally based questions you should provide a relevant example and
answer the questions directly. Do not provide additional information of a more abstract nature
(for example on what you know about strategic thinking). Focus instead upon what you have
done and achieved, and how. If you have not had extensive work experience it is equally valid
to use non-work examples, for example study, volunteering or community activities. It is
important to specify your own role in the examples you give, rather than referring to your team’s
achievements. The selection committee needs to know what you have done.

Bullet points may be used judiciously but you usually need to demonstrate that you can write in
well constructed paragraphs.

Please note that the selection committee may seek validation of your claims from your referee.

Interviews
If you are invited to attend an interview you should advise the selection committee if you have
any special needs. Clarify the location of the interview and whether there is public transport or
parking nearby.

Where possible, the committee will give shortlisted candidates two working days’ notice of
interview details. You are expected to be available for an interview, if required, even if on leave.
If you are on leave or absent in the period following the lodgement of your application, please
provide your contact details. The selection committee will make every attempt to schedule your
interview at the least disruptive time. If you are not able to attend in person, a telephone
interview may be arranged.

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Most interview questions will be behaviourally based, that is, asking for specific examples of
your past behaviour in situations similar to those in the advertised position.
See: Written Applications

The committee may or may not give you the questions to read before the interview. It is a good
idea to have a mental or written list of possible examples to use in your responses. (These may,
if you wish, be the same examples as you used in your written application, but if so, you should
elaborate upon that information and provide further insights into what you did.)

Structure your responses so that you work through all aspects of the STAR method. The
selection committee will usually ask you prompting questions if you do not. The committee may
also ask you to elaborate upon aspects of your response.

If you have not heard all of the question, or do not understand what is required, don’t hesitate to
ask the committee to repeat the question. You may also take a few seconds to think about your
response if necessary – don’t feel rushed. At the end of the interview you may wish to briefly
add any points you omitted during the formal questions.

If you are known to the selection committee, do not assume that they know about your work.
The selection committee can only assess candidates upon the information presented during the
selection process.

You may be asked to undertake a work sample test before or after the interview.

Work sample tests
If you are invited to undertake a work sample test you should advise the selection committee if
you have any special needs.

A work sample test requires you to undertake a task which simulates aspects of the job for
which you are applying. Work sample tests have high predictive validity (in other words, are
very good at predicting the best candidate for the role) and will enable you to demonstrate your
abilities.

Work sample tests may be written tests, verbal tests or practical tests, or a combination of
these. Work sample tests could include:

   •   writing a letter
   •   drafting a briefing
   •   summarising an article
   •   giving an oral presentation
   •   discussing an issue which you have analysed
   •   undertaking calculations
   •   participating in a group discussion
   •   participating in a role play
   •   demonstrating computer skills
   •   interpreting tables, spreadsheets and charts
   •   designing IT systems
   •   providing information about a process such as project management.

The committee will select a work sample test which focuses upon key tasks for the role. They
will advise you which selection criteria will be assessed by the test.

Proprietary tests
If you are invited to undertake a proprietary test you should advise the selection committee if
you have any special needs.

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Proprietary tests (often known as psychometric tests or assessment instruments) include verbal
reasoning, numerical reasoning, abstract reasoning and personality tests. They also include
skills tests (such as client service skills), leadership skills and resilience tests. They have high
predictive validity. Proprietary tests may be used as the initial shortlisting test or later in the
selection process.

You may be asked to complete a proprietary test online or on paper, in a location of your choice
or at a supervised location. Some tests are very short while others may take one or more hours.
Find a comfortable seat in a quiet location if an online test is used. Try to undertake the test
when you are feeling fresh and will not be disturbed. Be sure to read the instructions carefully
and be aware of how much time you have.

Complete a proprietary test on your own. Many tests have verification processes to detect
whether candidates have completed the test themselves.

Assessment centres
If you are invited to attend an assessment centre you should advise the selection committee if
you have any special needs.

The activities which may be undertaken at an assessment centre could include:

   •   role plays
   •   team exercises
   •   group discussions
   •   proprietary tests
   •   written exercises
   •   oral presentations.

Assessment centre activities may require a few hours’ attendance or a day or more.

Resume
Resumes are not directly assessed as part of the assessment process. They do, however,
provide the selection committee with a valuable picture of candidates’ past experiences, skills
and qualifications.

Your resume should include the following:

   •   your full name and address
   •   your contact telephone numbers
   •   your educational qualifications including membership of professional organisations
   •   your employment history (include dates, name of employer, position occupied, work
       area) and a brief outline of the duties undertaken. The details should be in reverse
       chronological order, starting with your present or most recent position and working
       backwards
   •   names and contact details of two referees (one of whom is your current or most recent
       supervisor).

Please do not send any attachments such as examples of work, publications or graphics with
your application. If you are selected for interview you may wish to bring them to the interview.




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