Job Selection Criteria’s.

Mick 27 February 2009 61

Job Selection Criteria’s.

Lord knows they have to be the dumbest and most arbitrary method of hiring someone, but for some reason the Public Service still insists that applicants do them. I am sure it stops many good applicants, who are unfamiliar with SC’s, from applying at all.

But there is a method to writing a good one, and I was wondering if Rioters knew of anyone that provided assistance on compiling SC’s for a fee.

What’s a good rate for these sorts of things?

Thanks for any help!


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farnarkler farnarkler 1:51 pm 02 Mar 09

I’m in the process of reading the De Villiers book. After ten years in the PS and ten years in private industry in London and I’m also in the hunt for a PS position. Oh what fun!!

SheepGroper SheepGroper 1:12 pm 02 Mar 09

eyeLikeCarrots said :

Having now worked in this shitty job for 8 months, I’ve sent about 7-8 apps off and haven’t even gotten an interview. Its either I’m a shitty applcant or I was uber lucky to get the job I did and nepotism is rife.

You didn’t follow up to find out why you didn’t get short listed? It could have been something very simple and easily fixed.

Janus Janus 12:33 pm 02 Mar 09

Clown Killer said :

Keep it simple and to the point with as much detail as you can squeeze in but don’t pad it – the panels going to have to read through your application along with a bunch of others and waffle rarely gets you through to the interview round.

It’s often possible to spot applicants who have used professionals to help them write applications – particularly when they get to interview and from my point of view, I immediately worry that if the applicant needed help applying for the job how are they going to manage the actual job on their own.

Yep, agree with that one myself. I always look at it a one page essay per criteria. Say how good you are, demonstrate how good you are (use real and relevant examples), and then reinforce how good you are. Make sure you actually know what the criteria means – the apsc.gov.au site is very useful for this. Also, show that you understand why that criteria applies to the job.

And I agree with the second point about writing your own applications.

sepi sepi 12:11 pm 02 Mar 09

I’m sure there is some nepotism, but I haven’t seen a lot of it.

And some of it is not so much nepotism, but that someone has already been doing the job for 6 months or more, they are good at it, and everyone is happy with their performance. You need to be a stellar applicant to win a job over someone like that, altho I have seen it happen.

I’ve got more than half the jobs I’ve applied for, and I’ve never known anyone at the Dept’s I’ve applied to.

Right now I think it is a hard time to get a job – and it will get harder as more people lose their jobs, and less jobs are advertised. If they get 90 applicants, it is much harder to get an interview than if they get 3.

It is crucial to ask ‘is someone acting in this job’ when you ring the contact person. If so, I usually don’t apply. If you really want that job, ask a few more questions, like how long they’ve been acting, and will they be applying.

It is also important to actually ring the contact person. And if you can’t get hold of them, ask whoever you do talk to a few questions about the job.

You might find out that ‘publishing experience required’ means you have to deal with a commercial printer who does all the work (really they want liaison skills). Or it might mean you have to actually write and edit a newsletter (more hands on skills). Your application would need to say different things, depending on the circumstances.

Once I found out that Team Leader was a one-man-band position, just called a Team leader due to the level of the job. so no point going on about staff management in that application.

My big tip would be apply for less jobs, but do a really good application, put time into it, and find out as much as you can about the job. Rather than just shooting off dozens of half-hearted applications all the time.

eyeLikeCarrots eyeLikeCarrots 11:43 am 02 Mar 09

Speaking as someone only recent to the APS, with only the 1 experience at the recruitment process, I got my job via the order of merit and moved up from Tasmania.

Having now worked in this shitty job for 8 months, I’ve sent about 7-8 apps off and haven’t even gotten an interview. Its either I’m a shitty applcant or I was uber lucky to get the job I did and nepotism is rife.

My thinking is the latter… most (not all) jobs are just advertised just because they have to be.

deye deye 11:11 am 01 Mar 09

bigred said :

For a Canberra Public Service job,just say you attended/your kids attend Marist. The mafia will then kick into gear and all will be looked after.

I don’t think I have ever even looked at the primary/high school/college of any applicant to a job I have been on a panel for because it simply isn’t relevant.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 10:27 am 01 Mar 09

…that’s a generic ‘you’ by the way.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 10:26 am 01 Mar 09

So to recap, the APS recruitment process would be better if they did away with stuff like selection criteria and instead adopted a process that allowed them to identify the best person for a job and then just appoint that person … unless of course if the identify the wrong person (ie. not you), in which case it’s nepotism.

I-filed I-filed 10:07 am 01 Mar 09

Mick, sorry to have to tell you, but nepotism is RIFE in the APS and your application will only succeed if the selection committee already wants you, regardless of the quality of your application. The process is very tweakable. Managers in the APS are more and more brazen about this. It’s the main reason they emphasise “teamwork” in their considerations. Only the bravest of scribes (and one who doesn’t need further work in the particular agency) will stick to the record on a corrupt recruitment process. I’ve never seen a bigger gap between the rhetoric and the reality than in the public service. A recent manager even used to openly boast about her nepotism.
Don’t expect Public Service Commission guidelines (such as considering transferrable skills from another field or environment) to be considered unless you are already the favoured canddate and it suits the committee to do so.
The only way to ensure merit selection would be recruitment at arm’s length.

Blues1 Blues1 9:12 am 01 Mar 09

Check out Cameron & Associates in Forrest. More career coaching, but they will certainly help with a specific SC. Usually they do SES level and run applying for EL workshops. But I certainly wish I knew of them when my girlfriend was applying for graduate positions last year.

bigred bigred 7:25 am 01 Mar 09

For a Canberra Public Service job,just say you attended/your kids attend Marist. The mafia will then kick into gear and all will be looked after.

SheepGroper SheepGroper 10:39 pm 28 Feb 09

Felix the Cat said :

See example in my previous post where a job was being advertised with the same SC as a previous job but somehow it was a totally different job.

It could have been for a different position, but doing the same sort of work as for the previous position.

If you don’t get the job, you can ask the contact person why you didn’t get it and how you could improve your next application. When I was on PS interview panels we rated the applicant’s answers against the criteria immediately after they finished their interview, then after they were all done we made the big list of everyone in order, so the top X could be offered the X positions we were interviewing for. We kept rough notes so we could justify our decisions in case a protest was lodged.

sepi sepi 9:21 pm 28 Feb 09

On the other side of the coin there are people who can sell themself really well in an interview, but in reality they can’t or won’t do anything much.

A decent application full of examples gives you a lot to ask their referees about. And gaps in their experience stand out more than during a chat, where they can gloss over their weak points.

I prefer to sell myself in the written applications, and find them easier than the interview.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 9:11 pm 28 Feb 09

54-11 said :

The old public service often became a closed shop – one good example was Customs, where for a generation or two, unless you were a practicing Catholic, you were simply excluded from the selection process.

The ANU used to be like that except it was Masons not Catholics.

54-11 said :

The current systems are supposed to be based on merit, and largely they are. However, it is still a very imperfect system. The problem is that there is no better alternative.

Yes there is. Just need from the applicant a brief one page covering letter with resume outlining what skills and experience they have and if relevant/suitable then invite them along to an oral interview to elaborate. Not that much different to how it’s done now except you skip the BS SC process. As has been said already, lots of people get help to write replies to SC (either professional or their friend/collegue) so it’s irrelevant anyway because the person wanting the job hasn’t written to the SC. It’s sort of like cheating in a test, like getting your mate or paying a professional to sit it for you. So you might as well save everyone time and money (except of course the businesses who write replies to SC for applicants)and get rid of SC as it effectively adds nothing except headaches to the job application process.

See example in my previous post where a job was being advertised with the same SC as a previous job but somehow it was a totally different job. If the people advertising positions haven’t got the brains to come up with original and relevant SC (instead of just copying and pasting generic statements/questions) then what chance is there of attracting suitable applicants?

You can generally find out what a person is all about after a 10 min discussion rather than read through pages of waffle that probably wasn’t even prepared by the applicant! The mob that jerked me around writing to the SC reckon they did it for ELs and even Ministers! They could of been BSing me just to talk themselves up but somehow I don’t doubt what they were telling me was the truth (but then other stiff they said was BS so maybe this was too).

JC JC 7:57 pm 28 Feb 09

p1 said :

Yeah, fair call about fairness and accountability. As always, there is a balance between what has to be done, and what would probably be best.

That is the problem though. As soon as you introduce a balance then it is open to either abuse or criticism from the public, government or media.

In one of my previous jobs I had to sit on APS panels and employ contractors. For APS you must go through the procedures and more or less justify all your decisions. For the contractors we could employ more or less who ever we liked, even without interview if need be. Over a two year period I employed 2 APS and 4 contractors, guess which turned out to be the best choices? Yep the contractors. All 4 are now APS.

astrojax astrojax 4:56 pm 28 Feb 09

‘a criteria’?

a criterion… ; ) (sorry vg, couldn’t help it after all the other grammar nazism above… you make, however, a most excellent point. is why all applicants should do it themselves, albeit maybe looking at others’ [successful] examples for inspiration)

one of the other major flaws in the PS recruitment processes as they stand is they tend to generate clones. the only people deemed fit for a job that, in my experience, rarely needs you to write to a set of criteria, is based on whether the applicant can write to criteria. few panels seem to ‘see through’ the text presented to them by an applicant and so dismiss non-PS applicants because that applicant hasn’t presented them with what they had expected to see…

vg vg 3:57 pm 28 Feb 09

If you can’t write your own job application how do you address a criteria that discusses levels of written and oral communication?

Surely if your written communication is of a standard sufficient for a job you can express that yourself on paper rather than have someone else write it.

trevar trevar 3:55 pm 28 Feb 09

utah said :

You mean “its singular form”; you don’t use an apostrophe with “it” to indicate possession, just contraction.

Now, I’m off for a shower to wash the stench of pedantry off myself.

Damn! Can’t believe I did that! Well, actually, yes I can… it’s like someone said on here recently: “I ever make typographical errors”.

I guess I should go take a shower for that purpose myself!

gomer gomer 1:25 pm 28 Feb 09

Job selection criteria & interviews have been studied thoroughly by organizational psychologists since the 1950’s and most conclude they don’t work very well (compared with picking an applicant at random) unless the job is very simple.
Work conducted in the APS is 60% arse covering so they need to use some method that makes it look like there isn’t nepotism going on. plus they can’t get rid of people easily even if they cant do the job they were hired for.
In private industry you can just hire someone and they are crap at the job you can let them go easily. in that case the applicant needs to ensure they can do the job.

deye deye 12:30 pm 28 Feb 09

trevar said :

I’ve certainly applied for positions where I’ve identified a cut-and-paste in the selection criteria. It gets obvious when an unrelated job title is included!

I suspect that this mostly occurs in those circumstances where a position is being advertised just to follow procedure, but where the person who is going to be offered the job has already been chosen, which seems to be a very common practice in the APS.

I actually meant cut and paste reply 😉 but yes for the OH&S, participative management thing it is usually a cut and paste answer. They tend not to refer to anything specific job wise though.

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