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APS Careers

Information for Applicants

Information for Applicants

Defence has a diverse workforce in terms of cultural backgrounds, demographics and work experience. Building the capability of our people and the Department is a top priority - we value our people and the specialist skills they have.

The information links below will assist you in applying for an Australian Public Service (APS) job in Defence. Details on what conditions you need to meet to become a Defence employee, how to submit an online application and how the selection process works are provided for your reference.

Please read it carefully before submitting your application.

How to find a job

Defence has a range of Australian Public Service (APS) career opportunities that offer the scope for a career change at any time.

Our workforce includes administrative support, accountants, intelligence analysts, engineers, customer service officers, policy advisors, graphic designers, lawyers, social workers, IT specialists and contract managers to name a few.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to work with a leading Government Agency, follow the links below to current job opportunities in the Department.

Submitting your application

Making the decision to proceed

Before a Defence Australian Public Service (APS) job is advertised the requirements of the role are analysed and a job description is prepared.

Take time to research and plan your application highlighting your skills, experience, training and abilities required to successfully undertake the job. Applying for the sake of it means spending time and energy applying for jobs that you may not be really suited for. Understanding the job, what is required and whether you have the right skills and experience are important in deciding whether to apply or not.

Still unsure

If you need more information about the role or the process, call the contact officer and ask them.  For example, you may want to know about upcoming work priorities, the work environment or the timeframe for announcing the decision. The contact officer details should be outlined in the jobs information pack.

Writing the application

It is vital that you provide sufficient detail to enable the selection panel to assess your suitability and how you compare to other applicants.  When writing your responses include transferable knowledge, skills or abilities in areas relevant to the job.  Try to provide evidence of your work achievements and support your claims with actual, specific examples of what you have done and how well you did it.

Remember to check spelling, punctuation and grammar, and be succinct. The written application itself shows how well you can communicate, and if written well, can make a positive impression.

There are some very valuable online references which may assist you in your preparations:

  • Integrated Leadership system  - This information provides guidance on what you would be expected to do for all APS classification levels and roles.  It can be particularly useful if you are entering the APS for the first time and unsure of the roles and responsibilities across the APS.
  • Cracking the Code - This guide takes you through the steps on how to apply for jobs in the APS. 
  • Fact sheet 5: Addressing selection criteria - Where responses to selection criteria are required this reference is worth a look.  This fact sheet covers handy tips and hints and as well as an example of how to address selection criteria.
  • The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Indigenous Liaison Officer - is available to provide advice to Indigenous people on how to apply for APS jobs. The APSC Indigenous Liaison Officer can be contacted at

Confirmation of Heritage

As per the eligibility requirements outlined in the information packs, for special measures positions; proof of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Heritage is required from all applicants.

Applicants are required to complete and return the Recognising Organisation Resolution section and Applicant Declaration outlined in the Confirmation of Heritage Form.

Note:  If you already had your heritage formally recognised and can provide a similar form to the Recognising Organisation Resolution section, you are not required to complete this form.  Please provide your original recognition of heritage document.


Your application must include an up to date copy of your resume.  The resume should provide all the relevant information about your education, employment history, achievements and abilities.

Important Note: Resumes should not include any attachments or images that will take the combined size of the file to over 1MB. Files over this size will not get through the Defence firewall and therefore will not reach the recruitment area.

Submitting your application

Do not leave applying for a position until the closing day of the recruitment process. Start your application early!

Once your application is successfully submitted through our eRecruit system you will receive a confirmation email.

APS Careers@Defence is for job seekers only

Unsolicited resumes or applications from recruitment agencies and/or search firms will not be accepted and Defence will not pay fees to any such organisation unless arranged with the provider prior to advertising the vacancy.

Withdrawing an Application

If you have submitted an application, but no longer wish to be considered for the position, you can withdraw it through the eRecruit system.

Once you withdraw your application you will not be able to re-submit it or submit another application for the same job vacancy.

For more information on withdrawing your application via the eRecruit system, please refer to our eRecruit Applicant User Guide.

If you withdraw your application after the closing date, please ensure you also inform the contact officer. The contact officers phone and/or email address can be found on the front page of the Information Pack.

The Selection Process

Merit Selection

All appointments within Defence are based on merit. Merit selection ensures the selection of the best available person for the position through open competition. Selection is based on the abilities, qualifications, experience, standard of work, performance and personal qualities of a person, as is relevant to the requirements of the job.

The Selection and Assessment process

Selection panels are structured to ensure equity, independence and diversity of backgrounds and opinions.  Equal Employment Opportunity principles will be followed.  Confidentiality will be maintained and the privacy of all applicants respected.

Your application will be read and assessed.  The selection panel will assess how well your experience, qualifications, skills and abilities meet the requirements of the job.  The selection panel will determine which applicants are shortlisted for further assessment, perhaps an interview.

However, not all selection processes involve an interview. Other assessment methods - such as referee reports, work simulations, assessment centres, technical tests and aptitude tests may be used in place of, or as well as, an interview. The combination of assessment methods used will be specific to the job.

Availability for Interview

If interviews are to be conducted, the selection panel will assume that you are available for interview from the date applications close. Where possible, shortlisted applicants will be given two working days notice of interview details. You are expected to be available for interview, if required, even if you are on leave. Should you be unavailable in the period following the lodgement of your application, please advise the contact officer of a telephone number on which you can be contacted. The selection panel will make every attempt to schedule your interview at the least disruptive time.

Special Arrangements at Interview

If you have any additional needs when attending an interview (e.g.: wheelchair access, sign language interpreter, reliance on public transport due to a disability that requires the interview to align with public transport timetables etc.) please state your requirements in the relevant section of the online application, or discuss them with the contact officer.

Referee Comments

Referee comments may be sought before or after an interview. They are an integral part of the selection and assessment process sought to provide information relevant to the requirements of the job. You should choose work related referees who can comment effectively on your skills and abilities, experience and performance within the workplace.

Should a referee provide negative feedback relating to your work performance or suitability, you will have the opportunity to provide comment under procedural fairness principles.

Progress of your Application

Applicants are asked to speak to the contact officer regarding progress of their application.

What are the next steps

After interview, the selection panel will assess your claims and suitability for the position in relation to the assessment process and make a recommendation regarding the most suitable applicant for the position.

Offer of Employment

If you are selected as the most suitable applicant and offered the position, you will usually be advised by phone. We would like to know your decision as quickly as possible. If you accept the position, a formal ‘Letter of Offer’ will be sent to you explaining what commencement pack documents are required from you.

As the successful applicant you will be asked to accept the offer of employment within seven days of receiving the ‘Letter of Offer’.

You should not resign or leave your current employment until Defence APS Recruitment have advised you that all checks / clearances have been completed.

Once all the paperwork has been processed by Defence APS Recruitment they will send a ‘Confirmation Letter’ to you and advise you of your date of Commencement.

Merit Pool

If you are not offered the job, but the selection panel believe that you are suitable, your name may be placed in a merit pool. Applicants placed on this list, may be accessed if:

  • The preferred applicant declines the offer, or
  • Should the same or a similar position become vacant during the 12 months after the original job was advertised, the order of merit may be used.

Unsuccessful Applicants

Once the successful applicant has been notified, unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing as soon as possible. Unsuccessful applicants may contact the chairperson of the selection panel for post-assessment feedback.

Commencing work


Ongoing or non-ongoing employment for longer than 6 months with Defence will be conditional on the successful applicant satisfactorily completing a probation period which is generally six months unless otherwise advised. During this time conduct and work performance is assessed to determine whether they meet Defence standards.

Download: Probation Fact Sheet 

The New Starters Program

The New Starters Program is a corporate induction program applicable to all new APS Defence employees. The program has been developed to accelerate the integration of new starters into the Department and assist them to become productive in the shortest possible time.  The New Starters Program focuses on bringing to life parts of the APS Career & Talent Management System by equipping new starters with relevant information, resources and training.

APS Relocation Assistance

Defence provides relocation assistance to eligible Australian Public Service (APS) employees required to relocate. The level of assistance will vary depending on the reason for relocating and your personal circumstances.

Download: Relocation Assistance Handbook 

Security Clearance

All Australian Public Service (APS) employees and Australian Defence Force (ADF) members who work within Defence must have a security clearance.

Download: Security Clearance Fact Sheet 



How often are new jobs posted on your website?

We post jobs regularly, often daily, so we recommend you visit our site often and search our current vacancies.

You can also subscribe to our Job Alert service and you will be notified of future jobs that match your preferences.

Do I need qualifications to apply?

This will depend on the particular job. Most positions in Defence do not require specific qualifications. However, those that do will state them clearly in the job Information Pack.

Does age matter?

All APS jobs at Defence are filled according to a merit based selection process. Apart from the minimum age requirement for employment in each Australian state and territory, age is not a consideration when assessing applicants for employment opportunities.

What is merit?

We recruit staff based on merit, which means that from a field of applicants, we need to select the best person for the job. To do this we compare and weigh-up the skills, experience and abilities of each candidate. We use different tools and techniques, such as written applications, interviews and/or work-sample tests, to collect the evidence we need to make a merit-based decision.

I have a disability - will I be excluded from the recruitment process?

You can not be excluded if your application shows you are able to undertake the inherent requirements of the job if reasonable adjustments are put in place.

However, you can be excluded from the recruitment process based on merit and comparative assessment of applicants.

I have a disability - how do I opt into the RecruitAbility scheme?

When you are completing the application form there is a question under the diversity section asking for you to indicate if you wish to opt into the RecruitAbility scheme. You must tick the 'opt in' box to participate in the scheme. Simply declaring that you have a disability will not automatically include you in the scheme.

More information on the scheme is outlined in the jobs information pack.

I am applying for a special measures position. What proof of heritage do I need to submit with my application?

As per the eligibility requirements outlined in the information packs, for special measures positions; proof of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Heritage is required from all applicants.

Applicants are required to complete and return the Recognising Organisation Resolution section and Applicant Declaration outlined in the Confirmation of Heritage Form.

Note: If you already had your heritage formally recognised and can provide a similar form to the Recognising Organisation Resolution, you are not required to complete this form. Please provide your original recognition of heritage document.

Writing an application

Do I need to structure my application in a certain way?

Yes - you will need to demonstrate you meet the selection criteria and are the most suitable person for the job. The STAR model is one way of presenting information against selection criteria. For each criterion think about the following and use these points to form sentences:

  • Situation - Set the context by describing the circumstance where you used the skills or qualities and gained the experience.
  • Task - What was your role?
  • Actions - What did you do and how did you do it?
  • Results - What did you achieve? What was the end result and how does it relate to the job you are applying for?

More information is available on this site on the Submitting your application page.

How long should my answer to each selection criteria be?

Focus on quality not quantity. When completing your online application you will be provided guidance on selection criteria word limits.

How do I find out more information about the job?

After reading the selection documentation in the job specific Information Pack, you may phone the contact officer listed on the front page.

How do I know what level to apply for?

The levels of APS jobs at Defence are based on the duties that are required to be performed. Jobs are classified and paid at different levels according to the complexity, responsibility and skills involved. The most common classifications used are as follows:

  • APS 1 and 2 - general administrative and service positions, cadetships and trainees
  • APS 3 and 4 - general entry level positions and general administrative, technical, project and service positions and graduate positions
  • APS 5 and 6 - senior administrative, technical, project and service positions
  • Executive Level 1 and 2 - middle management positions
  • Senior Executive Service Band 1, 2 and 3 - senior leadership and management positions.

With this in mind, the best thing to do is read through the information provided for a particular job. The selection criteria and duty statement provide a good indication of the skills and abilities required for the job.

Can I request an extension if I can't make the closing date?

Only in exceptional circumstances is a vacancy able to be extended. Applicants who require an extension must contact the contact officer 24 hours prior to the vacancy closing date.

I don't have access to a computer. What can I do?

There are a number of internet cafes and libraries where you can access the APS Careers @ Defence website.

Can an employment agency submit my application/CV on my behalf?

The Department of Defence does not accept unsolicited applications forwarded by employment agencies on behalf of individuals.

APS Careers @ Defence is for job seekers only. We do not accept unsolicited applications or CVs from recruitment agencies and/or search firms and we will not pay fees to any such organisation unless arranged with the provider prior to advertising a vacancy.

Applying online

How often are new jobs posted on your website?

We post jobs regularly, often daily, so we recommend you visit our site often and search our current vacancies.

You can also subscribe to our Job Alert service and you will be notified of future jobs that match your preferences.

What is the length of time a job remains posted?

Some job postings only give candidates a window of one to two weeks to apply. Others remain open until the position has been filled. Again, we urge you to visit the site often to search current vacancies.

Can I apply for more than one job at a time?

Absolutely. You are welcome to apply for any of our job postings that you believe match your skill-set and career aspirations.

I have a disability and when I was reading a Defence job information pack I found out that there is a new scheme called RecruitAbility.. How can I participate?

The RecruitAbility scheme supports people with disability applying for jobs in the Australian Public Service (APS).

When you are completing the application form there is a question under the diversity section asking for you to indicate if you wish to opt into the RecruitAbility scheme. You must tick the 'opt in' box to participate in the scheme. Simply declaring that you have a disability will not automatically include you in the scheme.

Who can submit an application?

Our job postings are designed to attract people who are interested in joining Defence. They are not intended for recruitment suppliers. In fact, we will not accept responsibility for any fees related to unsolicited applications from recruitment suppliers.

What is a Job Alert

Job Alert is an automatic job hunter. You can use Job Alert to tell us your preferences and then relevant jobs will be emailed to you for consideration.

What if I have applied for a job and forgotten my username and password?

The first time you apply for a position on the APS Careers @ Defence site you will be asked to enter your email address (Username), and create a password. When you return to APS Careers @ Defence you are required to login using your email address and enter your password. Should you forget your password you will have to click on the "Forgotten your Password?" link. You will then be required to enter your email address. A reset password will be sent to your email address.

If you are unable to answer your secret question then please contact us via and a new password will be generated and sent to your email address.

I am encountering a problem accessing and using this site. What should I do?

First, determine whether you are able to access any other internet sites. If you are certain that the issue is specifically related to the Defence Jobs site, please contact us via

Preparing for an interview

How can I prepare for an interview?

There are several ways that you can prepare for an interview:

  • Review your responses to the selection criteria and pick several other examples that you could use for each
  • Do a mock interview using the criteria and questions centered around them
  • Do some research on the Defence web-page to gain an understanding of the Department
  • Think of your top three skills or qualities and what you could offer in the role.

What sort of questions will be asked at interview?

The questions at interview will be centered around the selection criteria and duties. The questions could be behavioural or hypothetical and are designed to demonstrate your skills and abilities.

How long will it take to hear back?

This will depend on the number of applicants being interviewed. In most instances the panel will attempt to advise applicants within several weeks of the interview. You can ask the chairperson what the expected time-frame is.

Can I get post-interview feedback?

Yes you can contact the chairperson for feed-back. This is a good way to improve for future interviews.

Why can’t I get an interview?

If you are having difficulty getting an interview, ask yourself:

  • Am I going for the right job for my skills and abilities?
  • Am I providing all the required information in my application?
  • Am I preparing a good application which demonstrates my skills, abilities and experience and how they relate to the requirements of the job?

To improve your application in the future, you can contact the chairperson for post-assessment feedback.

The recruitment process

What is the standard time-frame for the recruitment process?

This will vary for each job, depending on how many applications are received and how many interviews are held. You can ask the contact officer what the expected time-frame is for filling the position. In most instances the panel aim to complete short-listing (determining which applicants go through to interview) within a couple of weeks. If you are successful through to interview you will be called by a member of the panel to arrange an interview. If you are unsuccessful you will receive an email to advise.

What does the process involve?

Applications will be individually read and assessed against the selection criteria. Other assessment methods - such as referee reports (testing relevant or specific skills), a structured interview, work simulations, assessment centers, technical tests and aptitude test - may also be conducted. The combination of assessment methods used will be specific to the particular job.

Why does the process take so long?

People are selected for APS jobs at Defence on the basis of merit, which means we look for evidence of your skills, experience, abilities and how well they fit the requirements of the job, compared with other applicants. This comparison may be based on your CV, your application addressing the selection criteria, and/or an interview. Because of this, the recruitment process may take longer for APS jobs at Defence than other jobs.

When applying for an APS job at Defence, you can ask the contact officer about the anticipated recruitment process timeframe for that particular job.

What is an assessment center?

An assessment center is a process that evaluates applicant suitability using a variety of assessment techniques. Activities conducted at an assessment center may include group exercises, aptitude tests, written exercises and interviews.

The outcome of the exercises will provide the assessment panel with additional information on your skills, knowledge and personal qualities relevant to the requirements of the job. The assessment panel will rate each applicant against the selection criteria.

What does a security clearance involve?

A security clearance involves pre-employment and background checks. Most Defence jobs require a security clearance because of the type of issues/information dealt with in the job. The timeframe for starting a job may be longer, depending on the level of security clearance that is required for the job.

What is a character check?

Defence will seek to verify you are of good character and that you are capable of adhering to the Defence and APS Values through a character clearance. The clearance involves checking police records for unspent criminal convictions and findings, confirming details given in your employment application (including employment history, employment references & educational qualifications).

What does a health check involve?

A health assessment may be required as part of the condition of engagement to the Australian Public Service (APS) in Defence.

A health assessment may also be required for existing APS employees who are commencing employment in certain positions within Defence. The health assessment is designed to ensure you are fit to perform the particular duties you will be engaged to perform and to seek medical advice where reasonable adjustment needs to be made for some employees.

What happens after I’m advised I am the successful applicant?

If you are the preferred applicant for an APS job at Defence, you will be subject to some engagement/employment conditions, which means you must meet particular requirements to be appointed to the job. These requirements may include some or all of the following:

  • Being an Australian citizen
  • Security clearance
  • Health clearance
  • Character clearance (including a previous employer check)
  • Providing appropriate identification documents
  • A period of probation (generally 6 months)

What if I win the job and I have a disability?

If you are found suitable for the job and you have a disability, reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace or job to allow you to carry out the inherent requirements of that job.

Inherent Requirements refer to the core aspects of a job and include:

  • Outcomes to be achieved (but not how they are conducted). e.g. preparing briefs may be inherent requirement, however using a keyboard and computer to prepare briefs is not an inherent requirement.
  • Safety requirements; and
  • Adherence to the APS Code of Conduct.

Reasonable Adjustments refer to assistance, adjustment or modification to undertake the inherent requirements of the job. Adjustments may include:

  • Modifying the role / duties e.g. rearranging duties within a team;
  • Implementing flexible work arrangements;
  • Undertaking building modifications; or
  • Providing specialist equipment.

What is the review process if I am unsuccessful?

If you are a current APS employee and find that you are unsuccessful for a position within Defence you may request a review of the selection process and outcome. For more information on the APS review process, please refer to the APSC site.

If you are not a current APS employee we recommend you contact the chairperson for post assessment feedback.