Prepare for the APS Graduate Program and Assessment Centre

Are you applying for a graduate position with the Australian Public Service? Find out what departments fall under the APS’s umbrella and what you can do to give yourself a good chance of making it through this challenging recruitment process.
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The Australian Public Service, or AFP, encompasses many of the civil services available in Australia. Many of the the major departments that come under the auspices of the AFP have graduate programs and included in this list are the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Department of Agriculture (DAFF), and the Department of Human Services (DHS). Many of these offices employ a similar recruitment process for their graduate programs which features aptitude testing, assessment exercise and interviews. We have outlined these stages below.

The APS Recruitment Process:

APS Application Form

The APS application form is very straight forward. You are asked to submit a cover letter which includes the details of which job you are applying for, and a short summary of your skills and abilities. In addition, you need to supply a copy of your CV and contact details for references. The final component is a statement addressing the selection criteria, as each position within the APS has specific requirements. You need to submit a written response, detailing how you meet this criteria and give any relevant experience of how you have displayed this quality in the past.

Some examples of selection criteria are:

  • Demonstrated capacity to communicate effectively.
  • Good organisational and administrative skills.
  • Proven ability to work as part of a team.
  • Well developed customer service skills.
  • Proven ability to manage projects..

APS Tests

Some of the agencies with the APS require applicants to go through a stage of aptitude testing. The test commonly used by APS agencies in the Revelian's Cognitive Ability Test (or OCAT). This test covers numerical, verbal and logical reasoning questions within one test and the questions are adaptive, meaning, the level of difficulty increases with more correct answers.

Once you have been notified that you have made it to the next stage, make sure to check out our Revelian-style practice pack to help you prepare.

APS Assessment Center

Some APS agencies hold an assessment centre when recruiting for their offices. These are held in cities throughout the country and you will be contacted in advance about where to go and when. During the assessment center, there are a variety of activities you can face, including a group exercise, case study and presentation exercise.

APS Interview

All graduate candidates to the APS face an interview at one stage or another. Some candidates may find that their recruitment process includes both face-to-face and video or telephone interviews. Others may only be interviewed after the assessment day. No matter the method, the goal is always to give APS a full sense of yourself, your capabilities and your enthusiasm for the job in question.

Interview Questions

  • What do you bring to the position?
  • Why have you applied for the position?
  • What would you do in the first 100 days in the position?
  • Tell us about a time when you failed.

Before the interview, there are a few important steps you should take. Make sure to research the agency you are applying to in order to understand exactly what the job entails. Review the selection criteria from your application and polish up the answers you previously gave to impress during the interview. Finally, come up with a few questions of your own about the job and agency to show the interviewer how interested you are.

Looking for more help preparing for your interview? Our free guide to interviews PDF can help you smooth out your interview strategy.

Why Prepare?

If you are serious about a job in the public service of Australia, you want to do everything you can to ensure you have a good chance. Preparing for the aptitude tests, assessments and interview in advance gives you many advantages- you will be calm and confident by knowing what’s to come and can improve your performance by understanding the questions and how to answer correctly. JTP has the resources you need to prepare! Our specially designed practice packs give you a feel for the real test and our sample activities can help you plan out your best method to success. Good luck!

Please feel free to contact us below with any questions.

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