Department of Human Services Aptitude Tests and Interview Preparation

Are you considering applying to the Department of Human Services National Graduate Program? The recruitment process is challenging, designed to ensure that the most fitting applicants receive a place on the program. Learn about the recruitment process and how to prepare for each stage.
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Available DHS Pathways

The Department of Human Services National Graduate Program offers two pathways to graduates depending on your skills. The Generalist pathway is designed for non specific professions, and all degrees are accepted. The Professional pathway is for applicants to a specific area of service including finance, human resources, ICT and legal. The recruitment process for the program is designed to test you on a whole range of skills, requiring you to be able to present your best performance each time.

All candidates are required to demonstrate certain skills throughout the recruitment process:

  • Specialist and technical research and analysis skills; Able to present information and findings.
  • Written and verbal communication skills.
  • Dedication to achieving work objectives and respond to demands and circumstances.
  • Ability to establish positive working relationships with team members and stakeholders.
  • Problem solving, lateral thinking and innovation, able to make sound judgements.
  • Understanding of contemporary issues and practices in your chosen area (professional track candidates).

Online Application Process and Work Style Questionnaire

The online application process is an application form with additional elements. As well as completing your personal details you are asked to provide more detail about your skills in two written questions, and complete a multiple choice work style questionnaire. You are also asked to attach your resume to your application. Your resume should compliment but not duplicate the information you have given in your application form in answers to the questions below. See our CV builder for advice on how to create a resume that stands out.

You are asked to provide written responses to two questions on your application form, with a word limit of 225 words:

  • Please outline your understanding of the services the Department of Human Services is committed to, including current initiatives and reforms.
  • Please outline the skills and attributes you possess that make you well suited to working for the Department of Human Services.

Your application form also contains a work style questionnaire. The aim of this questionnaire is to get a feeling for how you work. You are asked about how you work with others, approach problems and behave in a work environment. Ahead of completing your application form, check out our personality questionnaire advice for tips on how to approach this section.


  • Use the capability framework to identify the key skills to include in your answers.
  • Use the Department of Human Services website to inform your answers about the organisation.
  • Use examples from your past experience (academic, work or volunteering) to illustrate answers about yourself and your skills.
  • Organise your answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
  • Plan your answers in advance and review them carefully to ensure that you have answered the question within the word limit.

DHS Video Interview

Following on from the application form you will be invited to participate in a video interview. This interview is a one way interview where you are asked to record yourself giving answers to a series of questions. You are given a limited amount of time to answer each question, and you cannot re-record your answers. You will also not see the questions before they come up on your computer screen. Prepare for this interview in the same way as any other interview, by reviewing your application form for the information you have put there, preparing examples that can illustrate your answers using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Brush up your interview skills and get inspiration from our free guide to interviews. You may also want to consider our Skype based interviews to rehearse talking into a screen during your interview. These interviews have the added bonus of an interviewer who gives you feedback at the end of the session, pointing out how you could improve in the real thing.

Online Aptitude Tests

The next stage of the Department of Human Services Graduate Development Program recruitment process is the psychometric assessment. This is an online OCAT test. This test is the Onetest Cognitive Ability Test and contains 51 verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning questions, to answer in just 20 minutes. The test handed out is different for each applicant, and the three styles of question are all mixed together. Questions get harder as the test progresses. This test requires you to be strong in all forms of reasoning, as it is felt that your results will give a good indication of your cognitive ability overall. Preparation is key to ensuring that you get a good result in the test. Prepare for the Onetest CAT with JobTestPrep’s specially designed Onetest style test preparation.

Critical Analysis Testing

The next stage is the critical analysis test. This is a new stage in the application process for DHS. Learn more about critical analysis tests with JobTestPrep.

Written Exercise

The final stage before the assessment centre is a written exercise. You will be told exactly what this exercise will involve when you are invited to carry the test out. Prepare for your written exercise with JobTestPrep. 

DHS Assessment Centre

If you are successful in the assessments above, the next stage is an assessment centre. The assessment centres take place in the capital cities around Australia. The day involves a panel interview and a group exercise. Preparation for each exercise is key, as you are being assessed against your fellow candidates at each point of the day.


The Interview at the assessment centre is a panel interview lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. This is your first face to face interview, so the impression you present is important. Most of the questions you can expect are behavioural questions. You are expected to provide information about your experience against the key selection criteria, using examples from your past experience to illustrate your answers. Prepare your examples ahead of the assessment centre, thinking about the key skills the example demonstrates, and how you would answer a range of questions with that example. Organise your answers using the STAR method to ensure that you cover all information on the day.

You may also want to think about the impression you give over in the interview, and about some questions to ask the interviewers that will help you understand more about what you are applying to. You can pull all your interview preparation together into one final stage, a mock interview. JobTestPrep’s Skype based interviews allow you to practice in interview conditions, and our trained assessors offer feedback, allowing you to learn from that interview into the real thing.

Group Exercise

The second activity you can expect at the assessment centre is a group exercise. This exercise is expected to last between 30 and 45 minutes. The purpose of a group exercise is to assess how you interact with other members of a team, and how you present yourself and your ideas to a group. Whilst you may not know what the group exercise will entail in advance, there are some ways to prepare ahead of the assessment centre. Consider what your work persona is, and how that person will react in a range of situations, from a difficult colleague, to a group that seems to lack direction. Think about how you want to contribute to the group, and what your skills are for doing so. Get more tips on group exercises from the JobTestPrep website.

In Summary

The Department of Human Services Graduate Development Program is a popular scheme, and there is strong competition at each stage. The recruitment process moves quickly, so it is beneficial to be organised to ensure you have time to prepare for each stage. Preparation is key to ensuring you perform at your best on the day of the test. 

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