Graduate application and selection process

The selection process for our annual graduate intake involves a number of stages and runs over several months.

Stage 1: Application

Graduate programs will be advertised on the department's current vacancies webpage from around February/March each year. Interested people should monitor this site and our Graduate Facebook Page closely around this time as late applications will not be accepted.

Submission of written applications using our online recruitment system is the first stage in the application process. Candidates should put every effort into the preparation of their application and provide as much detail as possible about their studies, work and voluntary experiences, and any other activities they have been involved in.

If you only hold a qualification from an institution based overseas, your application will only be accepted if Australian documentation recognising your qualification is submitted with your initial application.

Stage 2: Online test

Candidates who progress to this next stage of the process will be invited to complete online testing. The test is designed to assess critical thinking and decision making abilities, and is not something that we expect you to study for.

Stage 3: Online written exercise and one way video interview

Candidates who progress to Stage 3 of the process will be required to complete a written exercise and a one way video interview.

The written exercise is designed to help us assess analytical, writing and problem-solving skills, as well as candidates' general understanding of major foreign, trade and aid policy issues.

The one way video interview provides the committee with a more rounded view of candidates, including how they think on their feet and how they present themselves.

Stage 4: Interviews

Interviews, group exercises, a further written exercise and cognitive retest take place in Canberra. We cover domestic (but not international) travel expenses incurred in attending the interview.

Before attending the interview, candidates must also complete an on-line behavioural profile (psychometric) test. The test is not determinative, but contributes to the selection committee's assessment of a candidate's 'fit' for the job.

Short-listed candidates are invited to Canberra a day before their interview schedule usually in groups of five. Interviewees will be asked to complete the department's security clearance forms to bring with them on their interview day.

The interview day begins with an informal morning tea with the selection committee. This is followed by a group exercise where candidates are given a scenario and asked to work together to make a presentation to the committee. Candidates are then asked to complete a further written test within a designated timeframe. Individual interviews are scheduled over the remainder of the day. Candidates may also be asked to sit a cognitive test.

During the lunch break, candidates are offered a tour of the building by recent graduates. This is a valuable opportunity for candidates to hear the personal experiences of a recent graduate as well as ask questions about the work environment and culture.

Stage 5: Offers

Offers will usually be made by telephone. Graduates must be available to commence the program in February the following year. It is not possible to defer an offer of employment, nor start at an alternative date later in the year.

Offers of employment are subject to medical and security clearances. The department will withdraw offers of employment for graduates who do not obtain their security clearances within a set timeframe.


Last Updated: 1 October 2014