Australian Federal Police (AFP) Graduate Program, OCAT Test and Interview Preparation

Are you interested in joining the Australian Federal Police in an office based job? The AFP offer a range of office based jobs from counter terrorism to policy and governance. The recruitment process is long and competitive, and is made even longer by the security requirements of the organisation. In this article, we will go through the recruitment process stage by stage.
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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) holds a number of strategic roles in Australian law enforcement. The AFP carries out several key roles in policing Australia. ACT Policing carry out police services in the ACT, and uphold federal law in all states and territories. The AFP also act as Australia’s international law enforcement and policing agency, advise government on policing issues, enforce Commonwealth law and more. In this article we will look at the recruitment process for office based staff, not sworn officers, and particularly the application process for the AFP graduate program.

The AFP graduate program recruitment process includes:

The AFP graduate program offers 19 areas you can work in from policing to security and high tech crime operations. You have to identify which business area you are applying to at the start of your application. Applications for the 2015 graduate program open in March 2014.

There are five AFP core capabilities that form the selection criteria at every stage. Every role in the organisation requires these criteria to be met. The AFP are looking for candidates with high levels of motivation, integrity, cultural awareness, and a commitment to working with the community.

AFP Online Application

The application form is the first step towards joining the Australian Federal Police. The application form asks for the usual information about you, your education, and employment history.

Once you have submitted your application form, you are sent a AFP employment suitability questionnaire to complete. This questionnaire is assessed against the AFP’s employment character guidelines. This questionnaire asks about your history with all things police related, for examples speeding tickets. The final part of the application is a full traffic history for everywhere you have ever lived.

Your application form will be considered alongside the results of your online cognitive ability test (OCAT), and it is important that you take advantage of the opportunity to tell the AFP why you are a suitable candidate to join them.

AFP Online Cognitive Assessment Test

The AFP OCAT is designed to test your ability to gather, retain, process and apply information. The AFP OCAT is provided by Onetest, and it contains 50 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. The questions are a mix of numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning contained in one test.

  • Numerical reasoning questions examine your ability to analyse information in a number format to draw conclusions. This information can be provided in a table or a graph.
  • Verbal reasoning questions look at how you use written information to infer another conclusion. In many verbal reasoning tests, you are given a written paragraph with several statements based on the information in the paragraph. Your job is to state whether the information is true, false, or cannot say based on the information available to you.
  • Abstract reasoning questions measure your ability to draw assumptions from information in a symbol or matrix. These tests are traditionally seen to be IQ tests. In these questions you are given a sequence of shapes or patterns from which to identify the logic and pick the next shape.

The OCAT is an important element of the application process as without a good score you will not move to the next level. Preparation for the test is key. You cannot prepare for the exact questions you will sit on the day, but with JobTestPrep’s specially created Onetest style practice packs, you can prepare your techniques for answering these very different types of questions. See our pages for more information.

AFP Assessment Centre

The AFP assessment centre is a whole day session in Canberra. During the day you will be assessed on four different activities, and there will be a panel of two or three AFP representatives with you the whole time. It is therefore vital that you use the opportunity of coming face to face with AFP staff for the first time to create a really good impression.

The activities in the AFP assessment centre are:

AFP Interview

The AFP interview is a mix of generic questions, getting to know more about you, plus some scenarios questions aims at finding out more about how you respond to different situations. Interviews can be a nerve wracking experience, but there are some things you can do to prepare ahead of time and improve your confidence on the day. Some time will have passed since you completed your application form, so review your form and refresh your memory of what was written on it. JobTestPrep’s website contains advice on answering competency based questions, which can help you tackle the scenario questions, but even more important is improving the overall impression you create at the interview, how you respond to unexpected questions and more. There is no substitute for a mock interview taken in real time conditions. JobTestPrep offer Skype based interviews which can offer you just the practice you need.

AFP Group Discussion

In this exercise, you are part of a team given a brief to discuss and come to a joint solution. The discussion will be watched by the AFP panel, who will assess your team working skills, including the quality of your contributions, how you listen to others, and how you draw in people who are not contributing to the conversation. This balance is a difficult one to achieve, but JobTestPrep can help you plan your strategy with our group exercise guidance pack. Find out more here.

Supervised OCAT

You are required to take a paper version of the OCAT in order to verify the results you obtained on the online test. Some time may have passed since the last time you sat the test, so don’t forget to sit some practice tests again.

AFP Written Test

In this exercise, you are given a scenario and some documents on it, and asked to answer some questions based on what you have read. Written tests like this one aim to examine your ability to analyse a scenario and write a report on it. You can practice in advance for this type of test with JobTestPrep’s written exercise practice packs.

In Summary

The AFP graduate program takes a maximum of 30 applicants a year, so the application process for the AFP graduate program is very competitive. Only once you have passed through all of the stages above will you receive an offer from AFP. This offer is conditional on you obtaining security clearance, medical clearance and passing the drugs tests. The stages you go through require you to be at the top of your game every time. In this article we have listed the requirements of each stage, and highlighted the resources we offer to help you prepare. We hope you have found this useful. Good luck!

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