Government Job Interviews

Not only is the written application very different for a government job, but the interview will also be quite different.

  • Government job interviews will be in panel format, which means that you will meet with two or more interviewers at the one time.

  •  The interview will be a structured interview, which means that the selection panel will be following a set list of questions that are related to the selection criteria.  Often they will read out the selection criterion, and then ask you a question that relates to that criterion.  While it is not necessary for the panel to stick to their script or ask every applicant the same questions, this usually happens.  Even if you are advised that the interview will be informal, it will still be very structured in comparison to may private sector interviews.

  •  Given that the questions will be based on the selection criteria, it can sometimes be easy to anticipate the questions ahead of the interview, therefore making your interview preparation time a lot easier.  For example, if a selection criteria mentions the APS Values, you are almost guaranteed to be asked what the values are, what they mean, or why they are important.  So, study up!

  • The panel members will take copious notes to remember what your responses are and there may be a scribe in attendance at your interview.  The scribe is present to primarily assist the panel in their observations of the applicants, provide a rating framework for the assessments of the criteria, maintain independence and prevent favouritism of known applicants by panel members, ensure all relevant policies and legislation are adhered to and that the process remains fair and transparent, and draft the final report for the delegate.  While the scribe will help guide the selection panel in their decision making processes, they will not be participating in this decision making, so you don't have to address this person during the interview.

  • At the conclusion of the interviews applicants are rated against the selection criteria based on their whole application; written submission, interview and referee reports, and the person with the highest rating at the conclusion of the exercise is the winner.

  • Read more government interview tips

Job interview question answers

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3 Ways We Can Help You With Your Next Government Interview

1. Sign up to our free newsletter to receive information and advice for your next application and interview.  Maybe you could even submit a question about your next government interview that we can answer in our newsletter?

2. Use our quick guide "401 Interview Questions" to help you prepare and practice for your next interview.

3. Use our guide, "Get That Job! The Best Guide to Applying for a Government Job".  It contains a whole section on government interviews and explains common interview questions, how you should answer them and gives you a comprehensive set of practice interview questions for you to try yourself.